Lea Michele on Cory Monteith’s death: ‘working is no harder than being at home’

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Lea Michele was on Ellen yesterday, where she really opened up about how she dealt with grief and loss following her boyfriend, Cory Monteith’s death this year. Before we cover more about Lea’s interview, which is above, I want to get it out of the way that I disagree with rumors that Cory and Lea were a showmance. Those story were based on a blind item, and as a gossip blogger I know that many blind items are made up. Some are accurate and based on solid leads, but many are made up. So I don’t think it’s fair to Lea to trot those out, especially based on how well she seems to be coping in the wake of Cory’s death. People handle grief differently, Lea definitely has a type A personality, and on Ellen I think Lea really explained herself well.

Lea said that, for her, being home and being reminded of Cory daily was harder than going to work and being distracted, basically. She also said that she was so grateful to Kate Hudson (who guested on Glee) for letting Lea and her family stay at Kate’s home right after Cory died in July. It was easier for Lea not be surrounded by memories of Cory. The interview touched me and I got the impression that Lea was working hard to hold it together. She’s an actress, though, she’s skilled at presenting herself and that’s important to her. Here’s some of what she said:

On Kate Hudson letting her stay at her house
She was so wonderful to basically give me her home to myself and my family. It was so helpful to just basically have a safe place to process and to just have a minute to breathe before getting back to my house which has a lot of memoriesand stuff. So, being some place else to just have a moment was really nice.

On the paparazzi hunting her
It’s pretty intense and then if you smile, ‘she’s so happy!’ and then if you look sad like ‘she’s terrible.’ It’s really hard there’s so many emotions, and to have people watching every step of the way.

On going back to work on Glee
Ryan Murphy came to Kate’s house and said ‘what do you want to do?’ I said ‘I have to go back to work… they’re my family.’ What people also don’t understand is that going to work is no harder than being at home. And being in the house and opening up a closet and seeing a pair of shoes. Grief goes with you every day, whatever you’re doing… So I’d rather be at work with the people that I love that are going through the same thing… At the end of the day, I feel so safe there.

On people saying she’s strong
I really feel like I’m still trying to figure out all of this. It’s been only a few months, but my mom has experienced a lot of loss in her life and she told me ‘there is an empowerment that comes with grief. At some point you find it.’ It’s very hard, but you will find it. I think that at a certain point you can chose to either fall from this or you can chose to rise and that’s what I’m just trying to do my best for him because I know that’s what he would have wanted.

[From The Ellen show via Huffington Post]

The stuff about seeing Cory’s shoes really got me. That’s almost exactly what a friend ofmine said years ago when her husband died in a car accident. She said that she saw his giant shoes under the bed and kept expecting him to come back. She was a lot like Lea, she seemed so pulled together after a tragedy and I was struck by how practical she was.

Ellen shared a saying that “when your heart is broken the cracks let the light in.” Then they talked about how Cory revealed, for the first time on Ellen, that he was seeing Lea. Lea blushed while recalling how Cory told her the story at home that day, and how happy she was because he was usually so private. She said “I literally lived every day of my life feeling like the luckiest girl in the whole world. I just thought he was the greatest man. At that moment, that memory, means so much to me.

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