Five years ago, Cory Monteith's tragic death rocked the entertainment industry. The actor, beloved for his role as Finn Hudson on Glee, died from an apparent heroin overdose, leaving behind his family, fans, and girlfriend, Lea Michele. In the years that have passed, Michele has used her creative space to reflect on Monteith's death, sharing her memories on social media and in her 2017 album, Places. Now, Monteith's mother, Ann McGregor, is opening up about what her life's been like since losing her youngest son in a rare interview with People magazine.
"I still can't pick up the pieces," McGregor told People. "My world totally stopped. And I'm a different person than I was before."
McGregor recalled her close relationship with Monteith, from his insistence on ordering meals for her when he was just three years old, to all of the times he'd surprise her with visits as an adult. "He never missed a birthday," she told the entertainment outlet.
But just as she remembered Monteith for his best moments, she said she hasn't forgotten his personal battles with drugs and alcohol, which began when he was 13.
"He tried to keep everything from me, because he loved me and wanted to protect me," she said. "He was just always so curious. And the darker world just drew him in."
Despite at least three stays in rehab, McGregor said her son would occasionally relapse, just as he did towards the end of 2012 and again in 2013. McGregor also shared that part of the reason Monteith may have started using drugs again was because he took pain medication after having intensive dental work shortly before his death.
"He wasn't ready for the Hollywood world," she said. "Drugs were his way of checking out... He had a lot of medication in his system, which was not good for his body coming out of rehab. He didn't have enough drugs in his system to kill him, but for some reason it did because of his intolerance."
McGregor added that she now spends her time supporting non-profit organizations like Amber Academy to "give children opportunities to shine and feel good about themselves so they wouldn't turn to drugs," just as she said her son would have wanted.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.