The life of a “Glee” star seems to be anything but.
Actress Naya Rivera, who played Santana Lopez on the musical show, disappeared Wednesday while boating with her 4-year-old son in Lake Piru in California. Though authorities are still searching for her, she is presumed dead. Efforts to find her have shifted to a recovery mission.
“This is considered to be a horrible accident,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Eric Buschow said.
It’s just the latest dark tale from the Fox show, which was co-created by Ryan Murphy (“Hollywood”), Brad Falchuk (“9-1-1”) and Ian Brennan, and aired from 2009 to 2015. While the characters were dancing and singing songs, some of the actors who portrayed them were fighting, drinking, doing drugs and committing sex crimes.
A source who worked on the show, who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, tells The Post that “Glee” is simply overshadowed by gloom. “I don’t know if I would say it was cursed, but it’s unfortunate for most of them,” says the insider. “The things that have happened with some of the cast . . . it’s very sad.”
Last month, the show made headlines once again when star Lea Michele was called out for treating her black cast members less-than-fairly. “It wasn’t the friendliest place. It just wasn’t a friendly cast,” recalls the source. “They were very spoiled and bratty kids, and they got a chance to do whatever they wanted to do.”
The cast frequently acted up behind closed doors. “They did a lot of things in hiding that nobody knew about,” says the insider. “During our lunch breaks, they’d go off and go drink while they were working and then come back.”
But naughty behavior pales in comparison to the heartbreak and loss that plagues some of those who worked on the show. In light of Rivera’s disappearance, the cast is banding together online, sending prayers and well wishes for her safe return. “We need all the prayers we can get to bring our Naya back home to us,” “Glee” actress Heather Morris wrote on Instagram about her former onscreen girlfriend. “We need your love and light.”
Rivera appears to be the latest in a growing list of tragedies and traumas associated with the hit show. The following is a rundown of those hit hardest by the rumored “Glee” curse:
Rivera, 33, went boating with her son, Josey, Wednesday at 1 p.m. Three hours later, the boy was discovered sleeping alone on the pontoon. Though he was wearing a life jacket, an adult-sized vest was found in the boat.
The actress’s purse, wallet and some food were found on the boat, along with Josey. He is now with family members.
Rivera shares the boy with her ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey. In 2017, she was arrested for allegedly hitting him in the head and lips. The domestic battery charges against her were dropped in 2018. Dorsey and Rivera then divorced.
Fans were angered Wednesday night when the search for Rivera was temporarily suspended until daytime. “WOMEN OF COLOR DESERVE TO BE SEARCHED FOR. TREAT NAYA LIKE SHES LEA MICHELE AND GO F—-G LOOK FOR HER I’M SICK,” one fan of the Puerto-Rican actress wrote.
As of press time, Rivera has yet to be discovered.
Actor Mark Salling, who portrayed Noah “Puck” Puckerman, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in 2017. According to documents, he purposefully downloaded thousands of illicit images over eight months in 2015. He was arrested in December of that year.
Rivera, who once dated Salling, wrote in her memoir that she “can’t say I was totally shocked” at the charges. “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?”
In 2016, a woman accused Salling of forcing her to have sex with him at a hotel four years prior. The LA County district attorney chose to not charge him with rape, citing a delay in reporting the attack, as well as insufficient evidence.
A month after his guilty plea in 2018, he died by suicide at age 35. His death has become a particularly awkward subject on social media — even for his ex-girlfriend, who claims she was unaware of “his dark secret.” In a clip from the show, teacher Will Schuester (played by Matthew Morrison) asked his students where they will be in the year 2030.
“Jail, or dead, or both,” Puck replied.
In 2013, Michele’s on-screen and real-life boyfriend, Cory Monteith, died at age 31 from an accidental drug and alcohol overdose. The actor, who played Finn Hudson, was open about his struggles with addiction before his death.
The British Columbia Coroners Service said investigators found a spoon with drug residue and a used hypodermic needle in the hotel room where his body was found.
“I classify this death as accidental,” coroner Claire Thompson said in her report. “Mr. Monteith was found in a collapsed position on the hotel room floor. It appeared that Mr. Monteith had been dead for several hours.”
Monteith’s death was written into the show that year in an episode called “The Quarterback,” though they never revealed how his character died.
Last month, cast member Samantha Ware blasted star Lea Michele on Twitter, claiming she made Ware’s time on the show “a living hell.”
“I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU [sic] HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD ‘S–T IN MY WIG!’ AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS [sic] THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD,” the 28-year-old wrote passionately after Michele shared support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Michele, who played character Rachel Berry, apologized for her behavior toward Ware, although she lost her sponsorship with HelloFresh because of the accusations. Morris, 33, backed Ware’s statements, calling Michele “very much unpleasant” to work with.
Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on the show, says she received many notes from actors of color who had less-than-perfect interactions on the “Glee” set, as well as other projects. “In my inbox there are a lot of black actors and actresses telling me their stories and were letting me know they have dealt with the same things being on set, being terrorized by the white girls that are the leads of the show,” she said while discussing the accusations on Instagram Live with journalist Danielle Young.
Michele wasn’t the only one misbehaving. On Wednesday, former show producer Marti Noxon tweeted that “on GLEE there were LOTS of bad actors. Who were NOT women. People in the industry know who I’m talking about.”
While Noxon did not elaborate on which cast members she meant, the insider also alluded to some misbehavior from the male actors to The Post.
“The guys were fine,” the source says. “I think they were young and bratty kids at the time, they were catered to a lot on the show.”