Big Sean calls ex-girlfriend Naya Rivera a 'hero' who broke barriers, says she made him a better person

The two were engaged to be married before calling it off in 2014, after which Sean went on to date Ariana Grande and write his infamous song, 'IDFWU' about Rivera

                            Big Sean calls ex-girlfriend Naya Rivera a 'hero' who broke barriers, says she made him a better person
Rapper Big Sean and actress Naya Rivera (Getty Images)

Rapper Big Sean has shared a heartfelt tribute to Naya Rivera after her tragic death on July 8. The two dated while Rivera was starring on the show 'Glee', and were engaged for a while before they called off the nuptials in 2014.

In a post shared to Instagram on July 17, which included a black and white image of Rivera, Sean shared, "Rest In Peace Naya, God Bless your Soul! Thank you for blessing us all with your talent and presence. You are a hero! Not just because of how you saved your son, also because of the barriers you knocked down for so many people to make them feel confident in themselves and to stand tall and be proud when they couldn’t achieve that on their own." Investigations into Rivera's death revealed that she likely drowned after being pulled under the water by the strong currents, but not before she managed to muster enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, saving his life. In the days after her passing, many celebrities and fans shared that Rivera's choice to portray a Latina and lesbian character in Glee's Santana was a major reason for them coming to terms with their own identities.

Rapper Big Sean (L) and actress Naya Rivera attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' And Legendary Pictures' '42' at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 9, 2013 in Hollywood, California (Getty Images)

Sean continued, "I appreciate and cherish everything that ever happened between us for making me wiser and a better person. I’m still grieving and in shock, I can’t believe this is real. I’m praying for you and your family and I know your watching over them and protecting them. Rest In Peace Naya." Sean and Rivera's relationship had its ups and downs before the pair eventually split in 2014, with the former writing his scathing track, 'I Don't F*ck With You (IGFWU)' about their relationship in 2015 and the latter revealing that the two were not a good fit in her 2016 memoir, 'Sorry Not Sorry'.

"I started to realize that I was dating an incredibly selfish person," she shared, reminiscing on when she heard that her Glee co-star Cory Monteith had died of an accidental overdose in 2013. "I shook Sean awake and told him that Cory had just died. He just said, ‘Oh man, babe, I’m really sorry about that,’ and rolled over and went back to sleep." She continued, "I was crying and kept coming in and out of the room as I went out into the hallway to make phone calls, and he never got out of bed or even so much as sat up and turned on the light. This still blows my mind to this day."

The two started dating in April 2013. They went on to show off their love at the MTV VMAs, The Trevor Project Live in Los Angeles, and more events. By October of that year, the two became engaged and were set to wed in July 2014. After their split in April 2014, Rivera had alleged at the time that Sean had begun dating Ariana Grande while the two were still together, though the pair only officially confirmed they were seeing each other in August 2014 after Sean and Rivera ended their engagement.

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