Lea Michele shared a touching memory of her “Glee” co-star and former boyfriend Cory Monteith while making her long-awaited return to the concert stage last week.
Michele kicked off his “An Evening With Lea Michele: Life in Music” tour with a July 20 performance at City Winery in Washington, D.C. Moments before his tender rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” actor and singer opened up about first performing the song in 2013 for “The Quarterback,” a special “Glee” episode dedicated to Monteith, who died of a drug overdose that year.
Michele said that “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy asked her to choose the song his character, Rachel, would sing to honor Finn (Monteith) in the episode.
“I don’t even remember what I was listening to at the time. Like nothing. I was just in such a hole,” Michele told the crowd, as seen in fan footage from the concert on social media. “I am grateful that [Murphy] my request. Because it had to be something real for me.
She went on to explain that she and Monteith had listened to the song during their time together. Some of the anecdotes she shared with Murphy after Monteith’s death also resulted in inspiring scenes in “The Quarterback.”
“A lot of what I say to [Matthew Morrison’s] character in that class were the exact words I said to Ryan after all,” she said.
Watch a clip from Lea Michele’s concert speech on July 20 below.
Although Michele said the “wild and tough” experience of performing “Make You Feel My Love” helped her come to terms with her loss, she never watched the episode “The Quarterback” in her entirety.
“It’s the only one I haven’t seen,” she said. “Because I think if I don’t watch it, I feel like Finn is still there. So that [song] is very special.
Earlier this month, Michele honored the ninth anniversary of Monteith’s death on Instagram with a throwback photo showing the pair together on the “Glee” set in New York City. She captioned the image simply with a heart emoji.
Although the exact timeline of their relationship is unclear, Michele and Monteith met while filming the first season of “Glee” in 2009 and confirmed they were a couple about three years later.
In 2019, Michele married her husband Zandy Reich in Napa, California. She and Reich welcomed a son, Ever Leo, about a year later.
“An Evening With Lea Michele: Life in Music” will conclude next month with a stopover in Nashville. A few weeks later, Michele would join the cast of Broadway’s “Funny Girl” as Ziegfeld Follies comedian Fanny Brice.