Did Naya Rivera and Lea Michele really have a conflict on the set of Glee?
On Wednesday (February 6), Naya appeared as a guest on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen and shed some light on the subject: “I don’t think there was any beef.”
Let’s back track a little on how the conversation arrived to this point. When a fan called in and asked if she spoke to Lea after liking the latter’s engagement post on Instagram, here’s what she had to say:
“I did not speak to her,” Naya said. “But I mean, everyone sees Instagram, right?”
“So that was kind of like a white flag, right?” host Andy Cohen asked.
“I don’t think there was any beef,” Naya replied. She also complimented Lea’s four-carat ring from fiancé Zandy Reich: “It’s a good ring.”
They starred together on the hit musical drama for over six years (2009-2015). Sometime in 2014, rumors that their characters’ onscreen “love-hate relationship” was seeping into their real-life relationship.
The rumors of the alleged feud even prompted Glee creator Ryan Murphy to speak out.
“I don’t think there is a story between Naya and Lea,” Ryan said back in May of 2014, before the show’s final season. “Naya’s coming back next year, Lea’s coming back next year — anybody ever in that cast has an open invitation to come back and finish the character they so beautifully started.”
However, back in 2016, Naya opened up about her relationship with her Glee co-star in an interview.
“Santana and Rachel hated each other, but they also had this love-hate sort of relationship, and I feel like Lea and I had that while we were on the show,” Naya told ET while promoting her book Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.
She also wrote about it in her memoir: “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,” Naya wrote. “As the show progressed, though, that friendship started to break down, especially as Santana moved from a background character to one with bigger plot lines and more screen time. I think Rachel — erm, I mean Lea — didn’t like sharing the spotlight.”
Naya described Michele as “sensitive” in her book, but noted that while they “weren’t the best of friends,” the “rumors of our ‘feud’ were blown out of proportion.”
Glee shone the spotlight on both actresses turned them into household name. After the show ended, Lea went on to star in Scream Queens as well as the comedy The Mayor. Naya currently stars in web series Step Up: High Water.