Actor Tahj Mowry shared a heartbreaking tribute to Naya Rivera, who has been missing since her disappearance at Lake Piru in Ventura, California on Wednesday. The Smart Guy actor called Rivera his “first” love on Instagram Friday, noting how the two rose up the Hollywood ranks together. Rivera was last seen when she rented a boat to go swimming at Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son Josey and is presumed dead.
Mowry, 34, said it “would be an understatement” to say he is devastated by her disappearance. “This is a nightmare,” he wrote next to a black and white photo of Rivera. “Every day gets harder. However, I am holding onto hope that you will be found.” He shared several important firsts with the former Glee star, including love, intimacy, and heartbreak, Mowry wrote. Rivera appeared on two episodes of Smart Guy in 1997 and 1999, and dated Mowry from 2000 to 2004, reports Metro.
“We broke each other’s hearts and then mended them back together…more than once,” Mowry wrote. “I will never not think of you. No woman has ever measured up what you gave me or how you made me feel. I’ve never liked to admit it but I have never stopped loving you. A part of me always wished for the day where God would bring us back together to be what we dreamt we could have been.” He went on to write how he refuses to give up hope she will be found and asked his followers to pray for Rivera’s family while respecting the privacy of her son and ex-husband Ryan Dorsey.
“Naya, I miss you deeply. I wish I got the chance to tell you that once more but I’m believing I will get that chance,” Mowry wrote. “I know deep down you’ve always known how I felt. I look forward to the day where I can see your beautiful face once more and tell you everything I’ve wanted to say that I didn’t get the chance to say. I love you forever. I always have and I always will.”
Rivera was reported missing on Wednesday when she was late to return her rented boat at Lake Piru. Employees found Josey sleeping in the boat, but Rivera was not seen. Since then, authorities have been searching for her and have said it is now a recovery mission. They do not believe foul play is involved, as surveillance footage shows only Rivera and Josey getting on the boat. On early Saturday, her mother Yolanda and brother Mychal were seen at the lake with authorities.