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Lea Michele Opens Up for First Time on Death of Monteith & GLEE Tribute

In an exclusive interview with TVWeek Australia, actress Lea Michele opens up for the first time about the devastating loss of her boyfriend and Glee co-star Cory Monteith, who passed away from an accidental drug overdose on July 13th.

On the eve of the broadcast of a special tribute episode to Monteith on the FOX musical drama, the 27-year-old shared her personal sentiments on her great loss. "I haven't seen it yet," she says of tomorrow night's episode titled 'The Quarterback'. "but we did it because it was something we all needed to do together."

Surrounded by her co-stars Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch, as well as Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy, the actress described how she dealt with the tragic loss of her 31-year-old love. "I feel like, for me personally, I've lost two people: Cory and Finn," she tells the publication. "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."

Michele revealed that while returning to the show was difficult, she never considered quitting. "Everyone is asking: 'Is it hard to do this? Is it hard to be back at work?', 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."

Among the numbers which will be featured in the tribute episode are Naya Rivera (Santana) "If I Die Young", Chord Overstreet (Sam) and Kevin McHale (Artie) "Fire And Rain" and Mark Salling (Puck) "No Surrender". At the conclusion of the show, Lea, who portrays Broadway hopeful Rachel Berry, will sing a tearful version of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love".

Morrison explained that it was Michele's "bravery" which inspired the cast to get through the difficult filming. "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,'" he tells the magazine.

He continues, "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."

Michele also shared that in a strange way, life appeared to imitate art in a scene in which Rachel gives the McKinley High Glee club a plaque of Finn. "One day I came home and Cory was there with this plaque from the set that we always had in the Glee club and I said, 'What's this doing here?' and he said, 'I took it!'"

She continued, "He said, 'This summer we are going to Take It All over everywhere we go and take pictures of us with this plaque!' and that's what we did! Then I got the script and thought it was so unbelievable that they chose to do that in the episode. So, for me, there are a lot of little things that are so special, everything means a lot to me."

Asked what she treasures most about the late actor, Lea responded, "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." She adds, "There was no greater man than Cory, so for the time we spent together I consider myself very lucky."

Photo courtesy of FOX

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