Ryan Murphy on Glee Star Cory Monteith’s Death: ‘It Was Like Losing a Child’

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Monteith and Murphy. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

As with the French peasantry, it was the best of times and the worst of times for Ryan Murphy on Glee. "There was a lot of infighting. There was a lot of people sleeping together and breaking up. It was good training for being a parent, I’ll tell you that much. But I also made a mistake: We all got too personal," Murphy tells Entertainment Weekly. "We were always together, so there was no delineation between who was the boss and who was the employee. And we were all so close that finally when something would happen, it would be so personal to me that I would literally hit the roof." (Indeed, many accounts confirm there was a lot of on-set fighting and um, making up, as evinced by Naya Rivera's memoir Sorry Not Sorry). One of the difficulties was star Cory Monteith's struggles with drugs. Murphy remembers helping to get Monteith into rehab, which perhaps made his death in the summer of 2013 more difficult.

The last time Murphy saw Monteith was when the actor and his Glee co-star and girlfriend, Lea Michele, came to visit Murphy on the set of HBO's The Normal Heart. Murphy remembers: "We hugged, and the last thing he said was ‘I love you, man, and thank you for helping me get better.’ And then the next thing I knew he was dead. It was like losing a child." 

Lea Michele remembers how Murphy took care of her after Monteith's death. "Ryan did take charge, and he helped me more than I can ever explain," she said. "He completely cared for me. He made sure I was okay every single day, whether it was coming over to his house and having dinner prepared for me, or making sure I was okay at work. He sat me down and said, ‘What do you want to do? Do you want to continue the show? Do you want it to end?’ I just said, ‘I just want to go back to work.’ His heart is bigger than I think he knows what to do with sometimes.”