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Lea Michele: I Lost Two People When Cory Died

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Cory Monteith and Lea Michele (WireImage)

Lea Michele is finally ready to talk about Cory Monteith's death.

In Lea's first interview since her on and offscreen love passed away in July, the 27-year-old actress is speaking out about her loss, and the "perfect" tribute episode of "Glee" that airs on Thursday.

"I feel like, for me personally, I've lost two people: Cory and Finn," Michele tells TV Week Australia. "We had a beautiful memorial for Cory in the auditorium and some of the cast members sang and people spoke about him. It only felt right that we would do the same thing for Finn, so I felt it was very therapeutic."

Monteith was found dead in a hotel room in Vancouver due to a lethal combination of alcohol and heroin. He was 31.

[Related: Cory's Official Cause of Death Released]

"Everyone is asking: 'Is it hard to do this? Is it hard to be back at work?'" Lea says when discussing if she ever thought about quitting the show. "But the truth is, it's no harder at work than it is in life so we might as well all be together as a family supporting each other to get through this together."

While Monteith's death was ruled as an accidental overdose, Lea says she doesn't want that to be the only thing fans remember about the actor.

"I really woke up every single day feeling like I was being in some sort of spell or something, that I was lucky enough to have him in my life. I feel like what happened with Cory [regarding the cause of his death] was this big," she notes, holding her fingers out to reflect a small amount. "… in the scheme of who he was and his life. There was no greater man than Cory, so for the time we spent together I consider myself very lucky.”

Thursday's tribute episode, called "The Quarterback," takes place a few weeks after Finn’s funeral. One day before it airs, Michele reveals she has yet to see it.

[Related: Pass the Tissues! 'Glee' Previews the Cory Monteith Tribute]

"We did it because it was something we all needed to do together," she shares.
Lea's co-star Matthew Morrison also explains to TV Week how the entire "Glee" cast followed her lead on set.

"She had one of the first songs we filmed for the episode and she did it so beautifully, and after she said something like, 'It can't be harder for anyone else than it was for me,'" Morrison reveals. "So, we knew we had to show up because our leader stepped forward and kind of gave permission to all of us to do it. I don't think we could have done it without her."

Lea's character, Rachel, will emotionally cover Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love."

"The Quarterback" episode of "Glee" will air this Thursday, October 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

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