Lea Michele is slowly healing.
The "Glee" star appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Thursday to promote her new single, "Cannonball," and face the inevitable questions about how she's coping with the death of her boyfriend and co-star Cory Monteith.
The talk show host used a gentle touch when asking about the fallen star, who died of a heroin overdose in July. Ellen reminded Lea — who was not wearing her favorite "Cory" necklace — that it was on her show last December that Cory first confirmed he and Lea were dating.
"I know. It's one of my favorite memories," the 27-year-old actress replied with a smile. "I remember when he came home that night, he kind of puffed out his chest and was like, 'I talked about you on 'Ellen' today.' I was so happy — he was such a private person. 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. So at that moment, that memory, it means so much to me."
Lea also talked about the period immediately following Cory's death, which she spent holed up at "Glee" guest star Kate Hudson's home. Calling it her "safe place," she said it was good to be away from her own home, which was filled with memories of Cory. It was there that "Glee" executive producer Ryan Murphy visited her to discuss the future of the show.
"[He] came to Kate's house and said, 'What do you want to do? Whatever you want to do we'll do,'" recalled Lea, who we now know gave the OK to incorporating Finn's death into the storyline and filming a tribute episode. "I said, 'I have to go back to work. We have to. This is, they're my family.' What people also don't understand is that going to work is no harder than being at home … and opening a closet and seeing a pair of shoes. There's this is grief that goes with you everyday whatever you're doing."
Work actually helped her through. To be with "the people I love that are going through it obviously has its own triggers, but at the end of the day, I feel so safe there. And like I said, they're my family."
Lea's East Coast-based parents recently bought a home in Los Angeles to be closer to her — and her mother has given her sage advice about coping with loss.
"I really feel like I'm still trying to figure out all of this," she said. "It's been only a few months, but my mom has experienced a lot of loss in her life and she told me: 'There's an empowerment that comes with grief, at some point you find it. It's really hard, but you will find it. … At a certain point, you can choose to sort of fall from this or you can choose to rise. That's what I'm just trying to do my best for him because I know that's what he would have wanted. And to do my best and hopefully make something positive for where I go in the rest of my life."
Lea said Cory heard all of the songs on her upcoming album, "Louder," except for two, which she added after he died. One is "If You Say So," which she wrote about the late star, and the second is "Cannonball," which is by songwriter Sia. Lea, who performed "Cannonball," said it helped her feel better after Cory's death.
"The minute I heard the song, it lifted me up," she said. "It picked me up from everything."
"Louder" will be released on March 4.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Family & Relationships
- Cory Monteith
- Lea Michele