All Of The Glee Cast’s Homages To Cory Monteith Over The Years

Cory Monteith

It’s hard to believe that seven years have gone by since Glee star Cory Monteith tragically passed away at only 31 years old. Largely remembered for his portrayal of the musically inclined football star Finn Hudson on the Fox hit: Glee, Cory Monteith was admired both on and off camera. His fans, costars and family still miss him very much. This year will be #7yearswithoutCory and we can’t help but wait for July 13th, 2020 to see what the cast, especially Lea, will post in honour of their eternal friend. 

The Monte Carlo and Glee actor died of an accidental mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol. The Canadian native was identified in a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, hotel in July 2013. The actor completed a stay in rehab months prior to his death. He had been open about his struggles with substance abuse as a teenager, entering drug rehabilitation at 19-years-old after sitting down for an intervention from friends and family.

The Canadian actor once held a number of odd jobs such as being Wal-Mart greeter, school bus driver, cab driver and even a drummer for some bands before finally making it as an actor. He was born in the beautiful town of Calgary, Alberta on May 11, 1982 as the youngest son of Ann McGregor, an interior decorator, and Joe Monteith, a military man who served in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Cory had an older brother named Shaun. Because Cory Monteith’s parents divorced when he was seven years old,  both him and his older brother Shaun were raised by their mother in Victoria, British Columbia. After the divorce he didn’t spend much time with his father due to military service, and was faced with social difficulties at school. Since the tender age 13, Cory abused alcohol and marijuana and started being truant from school.

Homages To Cory Monteith Over The Years

Lea Michele

Lea Michele and Cory Monteith, who played Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson, respectively, on the TV show Glee met on set in 2009. The pair dated from 2012 until his death on July 13th 2013. She makes it a point to pay tribute to her late boyfriend and Glee costar, Cory Monteith, each year on the anniversary of his death. Whether she writes a heartfelt note or shares a sweet throwback photo, she does not let the day pass without honoring the man.

We’ll let her posts take it from here: 


In the 2013 December issue of Elle, nearing the end of the year when Cory died, the actress revealed her current mental state. She wanted to share how she hoped that she could use Cory’s death to help other people in similar situations.

“I never thought I would be in this position in my whole life,” Lea said. “Now that I am in this position, you can choose to rise, and that’s what I’m going to try to do. I know that Cory would want nothing more than for me to take this situation and use it to help people.” She added, “It’s very hard. And you have to be very strong to come out of this alive, but I think by doing the best for myself, by showing that you don’t have to lose yourself, maybe someone else will feel some sort of strength or comfort.”

Did you know? When Lea was showing the world her resilience, she revealed that she got help from an unexpected soul in the days following Cory’s death. A former Glee guest star Kate Hudson opened up her LA home to Lea’s whole family so that they could avoid the media that had gathered outside of Lea Michele’s own home. 


In February 2014, Lea Michele spoke about her and Cory’s previous plans for the future: “We talked about a lot of things. We talked about children and what we would look like when we grew old, and who would be fat and how we would stay thin,” she recalled to Glamour UK. “We talked about where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. We were done. We were it.”

On the first anniversary of Monteith’s death (13th July 2014) she took to Twitter to share a message from her heart: “We hold you in our hearts today, and every day we remember your smile,” she captioned a photo of the Kyle XY alum. “We will love you and miss you always.” The New Year’s Eve star also traveled to San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California, with friends to reflect on his life. “She misses him every day,” a source told Us Weekly at the time.

In addition, she stated: “When you’re at that place in your life with someone, you talk about everything. But today I feel like I was given the best part of Cory, and I’m thankful for that.”

Later the same year, Michele gushed about her romance with Cory Monteith and defended his memory over bad media attention:

“I only have happy memories of Cory. He was not his addiction — unfortunately, it won,” she explained to Seventeen. “But that wasn’t who he was. Cory made me feel like a queen every day. From the minute he said, ‘I’m your boyfriend,’ I loved every day, and I thank him for being the best boyfriend and making me feel so beautiful.”


“Today we remember the laughter and joy you brought into our lives every day,” the Emmy nominee tweeted in 2015 alongside a photo of a smiling Monteith driving a car. “We think of you always and love you so.” 

The same year, she marked what would have been Monteith’s 33rd birthday by saying she knew he was “serenading everyone” in heaven. Is anyone else cutting onions? 


In 2016, Lea Michele shared a pic of Cory standing on rocks at the beach. “I know every day you’re watching over me, and smiling,” she wrote on Twitter. “Love and miss you Cory, every day, but today a little more..”

The Glee actress paid a moving tribute in 2016 to her late co-star and boyfriend Cory Monteith with multiple tattoos. She permanently inked his character’s jersey number on her side in April 2016, writing on Instagram at the time, “And one more.. for my Quarterback.. #5.”  Michele unveiled her ‘#5’ tattoo on Instagram, a touching homage to the football jersey worn by Monteith’s Glee character Finn Hudson.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lea Michele (@leamichele) on

Earlier the same year, Lea also shared an image on Instagram of one of her tattoo tributes to Cory, with his Glee character’s name, Finn, visible on her leg. Lea’s ‘Finn’ tattoo was actually inked while Cory was alive, as she revealed in 2016 that she had gotten it done in 2011.


The “If You Say So” singer wore Finn’s letterman jacket and held a black-and-white Polaroid of the twosome on the fourth anniversary of Monteith’s death. “Hard to believe it’s been 4 years…” she tweeted. “We miss you C… love you more.”


In 2018, the actress kept her tribute simple, posting a photo of a sunset on Twitter and sharing the quote, “There are some who bring a light so great to the world, that even after they have gone, the light remains.”


Married to Zandy Reich by March 2019, the former Glee actress shared a beautiful, simple photo on Twitter of the sun illuminating clouds over calm water on July 13. “The light always remains,” she captioned it along with a red heart.”

Original Song: 

As you can tell, the former girlfriend of Cory has been extremely vocal about her love for him, expressing it in the form of several powerful tattoos and even an original song. Lea Michele released a new tune off her debut album that had dropped in 2014. “You’re Mine” is a dreamy love ballad she wrote keeping Cory Monteith in mind. On Teen Vogue cover story, Lea revealed: “My favorite song is, 100 percent, ‘You’re Mine.’ I listened to it the other day—it was the one song I had the most emotional reaction to, just because that’s my relationship with Cory.” 

Check it out, keep his memory alive and you’ll love it just as much as she does.


Did you know? A few weeks after Cory died, the cast held a private memorial on the same Paramount Soundstage that stands in for McKinley High’s auditorium. The arena had 250 people in attendance – including Lea Michele, Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale, Dianna Agron, Darren Criss and Chord Overstreet – who shared stories about their late castmate and playing music in his honor.

These days his fellow co stars and the public have united under the hashtag #3YearsWithoutCory to share their stories and pay reverence to the actor. Over 5,000 Instagram posts have been documented under this hashtag so far. 

Kevin McHale

Members of the Glee cast still share photos and posts on social media to honor Cory. “The sweetest boy. Forever,” Kevin McHale, who played Artie, captioned a photo of Cory on Instagram. 

Amber Riley

The actress who played Mercedes posted an adorable candid of herself and Cory flexing their muscles with the caption “6 years without those bear hugs.”

Jenna Ushkowitz

The actress who portrayed Tina on the show also shared a picture of Cory in a tuxedo and simply captioned it “Miss you pal.”

Jane Lynch

At the 2013 Emmy Awards, former “Glee” co-star Jane Lynch had some touching words about her fallen friend, Cory Monteith, who had recently died. 

“Cory was a beautiful soul,” she said. “To a generation who loved Cory so, please know: This gifted and wonderful young man was worthy of your love. And if you were lucky enough to know Cory as we did and witness Cory’s goofy, breezy sense of humor, his natural instinct for inclusiveness and his unbridled sense of generosity, day in and day out, I promise, you’d have loved him even more.”

Heather Morris

Glee’s Tribute Episode To Cory Monteith

“I’ve never seen a crew that can’t continue shooting because they’ve left the room sobbing” – said the Executive Producer of Glee, Ryan Murphy. The tearful goodbye to Cory Monteith on Glee is called “The Quarterback” and featured heartfelt songs, such as “Seasons of Love,” “I’ll Stand By You” and Bruce Springsteen’s “No Surrender.” The song concludes when the camera pans back to reveal a massive portrait of Finn, dressed in McKinley’s football gear (see image above) as the cast looks back with love and admiration in their hearts.

The emotions on the faces of Naya Rivera, Amber Riley, Kevin McHale, Harry Shum Jr., Mark Salling and Chris Colfer’s faces spoke volumes, especially knowing that many of the scenes in the episode (directed by co-creator Brad Falchuk) were filmed on the first take because everyone broke down into tears later.

“The Quarterback” episode does not clearly explain just how Finn died. The co-creator Ryan Murphy warned that the episode would not get into why he did so, but instead, focuses on how the characters cope and move forward after the death of a loved one.

“The funeral was for everyone, but I wanted to memorialize him the only way we know how: by singing all week long,” Mr. Schue tells the reassembled team during the episode. 

And almost everything in the episode was filmed in one take, according to E! News. “Almost everything in that episode is from the first take of every performance because the actors and the crew had a really hard time shooting it,’ Jane Murphy, the actress from Glee, told E! “

She also mentioned that filming the episode was “really tough on Lea” [Michele], who lost more than a co-star when Cory Monteith died, but that she also is the “strongest 26-year-old I know.”

The episode, which sprinkled multiple PSAs here and there, ends with a black card honoring Cory Monteith, before stars Lynch, Morrison and McHale appear with a public service announcement that encourages anyone struggling with addiction to seek treatment. 

Podcasts to Reminisce about Cory

Cory Monteith’s death hit the Glee fandom seven and a half years ago, and rewatching the series continues to be a very emotional experience even for the cast members. Lea Michele shares the same sentiment. On January 16, she opened up about one particular scene that still hits her hard.

During an episode of Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz’s Glee recap podcast, Showmance, Michele was the first guest and they looked back on the hit show’s pilot episode fondly.

“We were just, like, so happy,” Michele said of their early days on the series together, before Glee ever became the pop culture phenomenon that we know it as today. “We were really having the time of our lives,” she added.

Kevin McHale then brought up a specific scene from the premiere episode that his character, Artie, shared with Monteith’s character, Finn. In it, Finn rescued Artie from a port-a-potty, and off camera, both actors knew that the moment was one they’d cherish forever.

“He and I are like: ‘This is insane, isn’t it? We are going to remember this forever. This is special.’ It was just the two of us,” McHale recalled. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is really wild.'”

Interestingly but not shockingly, that scene continues to make Michele emotional as well. 

“The moments that made me so emotional were not anything that ever has made me emotional before from the show,” she said, “and one of them was when he took you out of that port-a-potty.”

Michele says the port-a-potty scene showed off who Finn truly was. “Him taking you out of that bathroom, and you see Finn’s heart,” she said. “It’s really profound and very emotional.”

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