Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) are one of Glee’s most beloved couples, so it’s not too big a shock that fans hope for something romantically to develop between actors off-screen, as well.
Way before they ever started dating, fans had already dubbed the couple “Monchele” — you know, Monteith/Michele — and plenty of viewers were scouring the internet for any signs of real-life romance. Well, it may have taken the better part of three seasons, but Cory and Lea became an item!
Their love story was one of young Hollywood's best-known and though it ended with the sudden death of Cory in July 2013, fans will always treasure the romance that blossomed offscreen. Follow every moment in this detailed timeline from 2009 to today.
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Rumors fly that Lea might be dating Cory, or that she might be dating co-star Matthew Morrison (Will), who she knew previously when they both worked on Broadway. The Glee star firmly denied all accounts. "Every week I'm rumored to be dating a different Glee cast member,” she said at the time, “and it is hysterical, but none of us are dating each other, I will say that much."
Lea is spotted kissing Broadway actor Theo Stockman at the Time 100 gala in NYC. It soon comes out that she and the HAIR and American Idiot star have been dating for about a year.
That same month, Cory is linked to country music star Taylor Swift, though he tells Ellen DeGeneres that they’re just “good friends.”
On the night before Glee’s Season 3 premiere, the news breaks that Lea and Theo have officially split. “The relationship just ran its course," her rep confirms. "They are still friends and will always be friends."
The internet explodes with speculation that Cory and Lea might secretly be dating when a seemingly harmless Twitter photo is mysteriously deleted. The pic in question showed Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) and Damian McGinty (Rory) filming Glee’s Season 3 Christmas episode, but an eagle-eyed viewer could see Cory and Lea looking very close and cuddly in the background.
Cory and Lea are on! Eyewitnesses spot the two on a romantic Valentine’s date in Los Angeles. "She was very happy, flirting and touching Cory a lot. He just stared at her with puppy-dog eyes," an onlooker reports. So is the relationship official? Not so fast. Neither Cory nor Lea’s reps respond when asked for comment.
Getting serious? About a week later, a report emerges that Cory took Lea to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada, for a weekend of fun in the snow-covered mountains.
Cory jets off to NYC to host the GLAAD Media Awards, and Lea comes right along for the trip. No pictures of her at the actual event, but photographers catch the cute twosome walking through the JFK airport on their way back to Los Angeles.
Photographers snap Lea sporting a tiny black bikini on vacation in Mexico, with Cory chillin’ by the pool right alongside her. A sexy weekend trip to Cabo? That certainly doesn’t sound very platonic to us.
The next week, both Cory and Lea partied in the desert at Coachella music festival in Indio, California. Though the couple still plays coy about their relationship, Lea tweets a not-so-subtle, “I just saw a really hot 6-foot-3 Canadian with at tribal arm band hanging by the pool. So happy.”
Back in Los Angeles, more cute lunch dates ensue.
Lea’s just bought a new house, and rumors begin to fly that she’s asked Cory to move in with her. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though: Cory doesn’t actually move in. Oh and just in case you were wondering, these two aren’t planning on getting married anytime soon, either. (Lest you forget, they and Finchel aren’t actually the same people. Shocking. We know.)
PDA alert! They’ve been an item for months, but Cory and Lea don’t engage in any sort of public displays of affection until May 16. On that fateful afternoon, the cute twosome walks happily down the street in NYC with their fingers interlocked. (OMG, they’re holding hands! So cute!)
Hand holding not enough for you? That very same day, Cory and Lea attend a hockey game in Madison Square Garden — and they had no problem locking lips in full view of anyone who might be in the crowd. They’re kissing in public now? Just look at how much things have changed.
Time for another Canada trip! Eyewitnesses spotted Cory and Lea “touching each other and cuddling” during a lunch date at a Vancouver sushi restaurant. A week later, they reunited again for the Chrysalis Butterfly Ball in Los Angeles. Onlookers say the two “didn't leave each other's sides” the whole evening, and even “stole some kisses,” too.
Cory and Lea are spotted in NYC, where Lea is filming her first on-location scenes of Glee Season 4 in the city. With Finn off a boot camp, Cory doesn't technically even need to be there, but he and his girlfriend don't want to be apart! The couple holds hands as they walk through the streets together. Later that month, Lea and Cory cuddle on the red carpet at the 2012 Do Something Awards, and they both end up winning awards, too.
The lovebirds get cuddly on the Glee set during a late-night NYC shoot. But as adorable as they both are, Lea looks a little sad. We know, girl. Filming a fictional breakup scene with your real-life boyfriend must be hard! The next month, the couple is plagued with a handful of relationship rumors — that Cory's jealous of Lea's chemistry with costar Dean Geyer (Brody) and that Lea's jealous of Kate Hudson for flirting with Cory. Seemingly unfazed by all the gossip, Cory and Lea hold hands and look adorable on yet another red carpet.
Cory and Lea head up to Cory's hometown in Canada to spend Thanksgiving with his family, but then opt to spend Christmas with their families, instead of with each other. However, they're reunited once again for New Year's Eve. The lovebirds spend the holiday with Lea's family in Hawaii. This is also the first time that the low-key couple publically acknowledges their relationship. Cory confirms it on Ellen: He and Lea are officially dating! (In other news, the sky is blue. And ice cream tastes delicious.)
Remember that gold cursive "Rachel" necklace her character wears in the show? Lea gets one just like it, but hers is emblazoned with the name "Cory," instead! Way to keep him close to your heart at all times, Lea. Later that same month, Lea makes headlines when she refers to Cory as both her "celebrity crush" and her "best friend." How many girls can honestly say that they're dating their celebrity crush. Jealous.
The duo also get glammed up for the 2013 Screen Actors Guild awards, and walk the red carpet side-by-side, as always.
Cory and Lea are spotted cuddling at a concert early in the month. Then, on Valentine's Day, they celebrate the anniversary of the first time they were spotted together in public. Can you believe it's already been a year? But of course that's not all, there are sure to be plenty more cute moments to come from these two. We can’t wait to see where Cory and Lea’s love story will lead them in the future.
Cory checks into rehab for treatment of substance abuse. It's the star's second visit to rehab; his first was at just 19. Lea immediately releases a statement in support of her boyfriend.
Just months after being released from rehab, Cory is found dead in a hotel room in Vancouver, B.C. from what may be a drug overdose, tragically cutting short a relationship that many thought would lead to marriage. Glee executives release a statement responding to the heartbreaking news while celebrities voice their support for Cory's family and for Lea.
In a statement released shortly after the news of Cory's death, a rep for Lea calls this "a devastating time" and asks that "everyone kindly respect" her privacy. Our thoughts are with you, Lea.