Glee actress Naya Rivera, who was reported missing after swimming in Lake Piru, was the mother of a 4-year-old son. She was divorced from the child’s father, her ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, also a television actor. Her brother played pro football.
Robert Kovacik, a reporter for NBC LA, reported on July 7: “#BREAKING: @Actress @NayaRivera is presumed dead, per @VENTURASHERIFF. The actress/singer and her four year old son were on a rented pontoon boat on #LakePiru and were swimming. The son got back on the boat, his mom did not. He was wearing a life-vest, she was not.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rivera Posted a Moving Photo With Her Son, Josey, the Day Before She Vanished
Rivera’s final post on Instagram is a moving picture with her son, Josey.
“Just the two of us,” Rivera wrote in the Instagram caption with the photo, which showed her cuddling with her son. You can see that post above, which was liked more than 100,000 times.
In 2018, she told People Magazine of the boy, “First and foremost, everything I do is for Josey. He’s at the best age! He’s talking so much and [he’s] so cool, kind and sweet.”
Three days before she disappeared, she posted this picture and wrote, “at this point we just vibin y’all.”
“Hapening (sic) now: Search for possible drowning victim at Lake Piru. @VCAirUnit @fillmoresheriff on scene. SAR Dive Team and PIO on the way,” the Ventura County Sheriff wrote on Twitter on the evening of July 9, 2020. Fox LA Reporter Elex Michaelson wrote on Twitter, “#BREAKING @FOXLA has learned GLEE star @NayaRivera is missing in Lake Piru. She and her 4 year old son rented a boat this afternoon. 3 hours later, someone discovered the boat with the child asleep. The boy says his mom was swimming but couldn’t make it back on board.”
2. Rivera’s Son Is Her Child With the Actor Ryan Dorsey
Rivera was married for four years to television actor Ryan Dorsey.
Rivera’s marriage to Dorsey was a troubled one; she was once accused of domestic battery against him. She was accused of hitting him, according to ABC News. However, the four-year union, which ended in divorce, did produce their son.
The couple’s son was 2 years old at the time they divorced. His name is Josey Hollis Dorsey.
According to The Blast, the couple agreed to share joint custody of Josey and “both have waived the right to support payments to each other.” However, Naya paid Dorsey $30,000 as a one-time payment, the Blast reported.
It was the second time Rivera had filed for divorce, the Blast reported.
The couple was married four years. Rivera got to keep her $100,000 wedding ring in the divorce.
Dorsey also frequently posts photos of his son on Instagram. Of the child’s 4th birthday, he wrote, “To the day my baby boy became a big boy. I love you more than love. That dont make sense, yet it makes perfect sense because that’s how much. 💙”
3. Rivera Called Her Mother the ‘Epitome of Beauty’ & ‘Pinnacle of Grace’
Rivera praised her mother, Yolanda Rivera, in a moving Mother’s Day post on Instagram.
“This one goes out to my mommy! Happy birthday!! You are the epitome of beauty, the pinnacle of grace, the apple of my eye and the most incredible woman I will ever know,” she wrote.
“You are the center of the universe, a true spartan who blesses everyone you cross paths with. I love and admire you with all my heart and with every new year around the sun, I am grateful for you. Bask in the love, joy, and world that you have created for yourself and all of us. Laugh hard today like you do everyday lol and celebrate birthday girl!”
Rivera once said in an interview, “My mom made me join choir for a couple of weeks freshman year but I didn’t like it so I quit. All I did was go out for auditions and try to get jobs.” She added, “I was around 6 years old. My mom got me into acting and I never thought of doing anything else.”
Yolanda, who is of Puerto Rican and African-American ancestry, is a former model.
Daily Mail reported that Naya’s mother and stepfather attended her wedding to Ryan Dorsey but her father, George Rivera, did not.
Naya paid tribute to her dad on Father’s Day, however.
“Happy Father’s Day to my awesome, funny, smart, talented DAD!” she wrote.
4. Rivera’s Brother, Mychal Rivera, Was Drafted by the Raiders
According to Raiders.com, the Oakland Raiders “drafted TE Mychal Rivera out of the University of Tennessee in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.”
The article says that Naya Rivera was his older sister, and he inherited some of her fans. “Naya, she’s on the FOX show Glee and she has millions and millions of fans, so some of her fans trickled down to me as the athlete in the family,” said Rivera to Raiders.com. “They follow me. Also just Tennessee fans and other football fans just love me as a tight end.”
He said his family had been very supportive.
“They’ve always supported me throughout my whole career,” said Rivera to Raiders.com. “Throughout my ups and downs, they’ve always been there. Naya has shown me a lot as far as her going on interviews and them saying, ‘No,’ and just bouncing right back up and continuing to be persistent and following your dreams.”
In 2017, he agreed to a contract with the Jaguars.
You can see his career stats here. He is currently a free agent.
5. Naya Rivera’s Sister Is a Model
Naya’s sister is named Nickayla Rivera, and she is a model. Her Instagram page says she is signed with Wilhelmina.
You can see her modeling page here. A Tumblr fan page says Nickayla “grew up in Valencia (California) with her parents Yolanda and George, her sister Naya and her brother Mychal. Her mother and sister introduced her to modelling at the age of 15. Some of her favourite things to do are: hiking, dancing, reading, shopping, listening to music & playing guitar.”