Actress Naya Rivera had her four-year-old son with actor Ryan Dorsey after marrying him on the day of her canceled wedding to Big Sean, and separately dated a Glee co-star who killed himself after pleading guilty to child porn charges.
Rivera is feared to have died in a tragic accident in California’s Lake Piru yesterday after vanishing from a boat she had rented with her son Josey Hollis Dorsey.
The 33-year-old former Glee star brought Josey into the world in September 2015, a year after tying the knot with Ryan Dorsey at a ceremony in Mexico.
The four-year marriage survived a canceled divorce filing in 2016 but took a turn for the worse again when Rivera was arrested on a domestic battery charge on Thanksgiving weekend in 2017.
Charges against Rivera were later dropped, but the couple eventually divorced and split custody of Josey. A day before her disappearance, Rivera had posted a poignant picture of herself and the toddler with the caption: ‘Just the two of us’.
Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey: The couple had an on-off relationship including a four-year marriage from 2014 and 2018 which led to the birth of a son, Josey Hollis Dorsey
Naya and her son Josey: The pair were on Lake Piru in California yesterday afternoon when Rivera vanished and is feared to have drowned. She shared the right-hand image just a day before her disappearance, with the caption: ‘Just the two of us’
Rivera and Dorsey had dated before their marriage, but Naya was diverted by a relationship with Big Sean and became engaged to the rapper in 2013.
Naya wore her diamond engagement ring at a party in Los Angeles to celebrate her appearance on the cover of Latina magazine’s Hollywood Hot List.
The couple had collaborated musically as well, with Big Sean featuring on Rivera’s debut single ‘Sorry’ which was released in October 2013.
However, the engagement was called off in 2014 – and Rivera would later hint that Ariana Grande had a hand in the break-up.
In her 2016 memoir Sorry Not Sorry, Rivera described an occasion where she and Big Sean ‘had been fighting for five straight days while he was travelling, and then on the one day that he was back in LA, he said he didn’t want to see me’.
She continued: ‘Well, a***ole, I’ve got a key to your house. I walk in, go downstairs, and guess what little girl is sitting cross-legged on the couch listening to music? … It rhymes with Smariana Schmande.’
Big Sean and Ariana Grande did have a relationship for several months until they broke up in the summer of 2015.
By then, Rivera was back with Ryan Dorsey and the couple married on the same day – July 19, 2014 – that had originally been scheduled for the Rivera-Big Sean wedding.
Rivera wrote about her on-and-off relationship with Dorsey in her book, saying he had given his blessing for her to discuss it in public.
She also revealed that she had had an abortion after previously splitting from Dorsey, but praised him for his sympathetic reaction when she later told him about it.
By November 2016, Rivera had filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court citing irreconcilable differences in the marriage.
Rivera was arrested on a domestic battery charge (pictured left) on Thanksgiving weekend in 2017 after being accused of striking Dorsey (pictured together right), who eventually asked for the prosecution not to go ahead
Naya Rivera and Big Sean: The Glee star became engaged to the rapper in 2013 (they are pictured that year) but they called off the marriage the following year
After being seen in public with David Spade in early 2017, she reconciled with Dorsey and withdrew her divorce petition later that year.
But on Thanksgiving weekend that year, Rivera was arrested in West Virginia on suspicion of domestic battery against Dorsey.
Dorsey had told authorities that Rivera struck him in the head and face, leaving him with minor injuries after a row over their child.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said Dorsey later asked that Rivera not be prosecuted.
Dorsey wrote on social media at the time to ask for for ‘positivity and love’ during a ‘difficult time’, while Glee co-star Matthew Morrison defended Rivera as a ‘great mom’.
However, Rivera subsequently filed for divorce a second time and this time the marriage was finally ended by a judge in June 2018.
The couple agreed to split custody of their child, and had previously signed an agreement on their assets when they married in 2014.
In an earlier relationship, Rivera had dated her Glee co-star Mark Salling, who killed himself in 2018 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
Salling was awaiting sentencing after a search warrant found more than 50,000 images of child porn on Salling’s computer and a storage drive.
He was facing between four and seven years in prison and would have been required to register as a sex offender. He died in January 2018.
In her memoir, the actress admitted that she was not ‘shocked’ by his criminal record.
She wrote: ‘I can’t say I was totally shocked. When Mark dumped me, I thought it was the worst thing ever, but can you imagine if that didn’t happen?… and I was laying there in bed when the battering ram came through the door?’.
Naya Rivera and Mark Salling: The couple dated many years before Salling pleaded guilty to child porn charges and subsequently killed himself
Glee’s cast has suffered a number of tragedies (Pictured top row L-R: Chord Overstreet, Harry Shum Jr., Naya Rivera, Dianna Agron, Iqbal Theba, Heather Morris, Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch. Bottom row L-R: Kevin McHale, Mark Salling (floor), Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz, Cory Monteith, Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison in 2011)
The Glee cast had already been hit by tragedy in 2013, when Cory Monteith was found dead in a Canadian hotel room.
A coroner’s report at the time blamed the 31-year-old’s death on a fatal dose of heroin and alcohol.
Rivera later described Monteith’s death as one of her toughest personal moments, saying in a 2016 interview that ‘the Cory chapter really choked me up’ when she was writing her memoir.
There were also rumors of friction between Naya and another Glee co-star, Lea Michele.
In her book, Rivera wrote: ‘One of the Glee writers once said that Lea and I were like two sides of the same battery and that about sums us up. We are both strong willed and competitive – not just with each other but with everyone – and that’s not a good mixture…
‘We’re all stressed, yes, but we’re all working toward the same goal, so laugh it off and keep it movin’. Lea was a lot more sensitive, though, and it seemed like she blamed me for anything and everything that went wrong.’
Rivera’s stint on Glee won her nominations for numerous accolades. She had secured the breakthrough role at the age of 22 after years playing guest roles and recurring TV parts in shows including Baywatch and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Born in 1987, Rivera began her acting career at just months old, starring as a baby in adverts for Kmart before landing a significant role as Hillary Winston on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family at the age of four.
During her time on Glee, in 2011, she signed to Columbia Records and launched a solo singing career, releasing the single that featured Big Sean.
Rivera made her first film debut as Vera in the horror film At the Devil’s Door in 2014, then returned to TV to play the reccurring role of Blanca on Devious Maids in 2015.
Some of her former Glee co-stars have taken to social media to pray for her safety after she went missing on Wednesday.
Her ‘just the two of us’ post with a picture of Josey has since attracted an outpouring of sympathy and prayers.
Naya and Josey had hired a boat on Lake Piru yesterday afternoon, but another boater later saw the toddler sleeping alone on the drifting vessel.
Four-year-old Josey later told investigators that he climbed back on the boat and his mother did not, but the circumstances are unclear and cops say it is ‘challenging’ to interrogate a toddler.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed last night that it was conducting a search for 33-year-old Rivera.
Divers and helicopters were scouring the reservoir until darkness fell but no trace of Rivera has been found and the search was halted until morning.
Rivera’s brother Mychal Rivera is a former NFL player for the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. Her sister Nickayla Rivera is a model.