Gloria Estefan Calls On-Screen Daughter Naya Rivera 'One of Our Young Acting Talents'

Gloria Estefan and Naya Rivera
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Estefan played Rivera's mother on 'Glee.'

Gloria Estefan is remembering Naya Rivera as a truly talented star. The 62-year-old performer opened up about the late Glee actress on Wednesday's episode of SiriusXM's Radio Andy

Gloria played Maribel Lopez, the mother of Naya's character, Santana Lopez, for two episodes on the hit musical comedy. 

"We met her and spent time with her not only during the shoot but after because she was trying to work on music and she'd been talking to Emilio about producing an album," Gloria explained of her music producer husband, Emilio Estefan. "We were producing music for her." 

Gloria explained that Naya's pregnancy and marriage postponed her releasing music with Gloria and Emilio. The music legend also said that she had been a longtime fan of Ryan Murphy and of Glee and was excited by the chance to be featured on the series. 

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"When I was there, they were at their peak of fame. A lot of the kids were great," Gloria recalled. "A lot of them weren't handling fame that well and didn't have the kind of rapport that Naya had. Naya was really down to earth and warm. It was a joy to play her mom. She had really amazing chops, singing." 

On July 8, Naya was found dead in Lake Piru in Ventura County, California, following a boating trip with her young son, Josey. She was 33.

"When I heard what had happened and I saw that the baby had been on board, even though I was praying beyond words that maybe she'd been caught up in a riptide and somehow ended up landing in some other part around that lake, deep down inside as a mom you know that she would never have left that baby alone on the boat. So something terrible must have happened," Gloria said of the initial news that Naya had gone missing. 

As for the actress' legacy, Gloria thinks of her on-screen daughter as one of the greats. 

"I hope she's remembered as a wonderful triple threat. She really was one of our young acting talents and dancing and singing," she said. "It's just such a shame. It broke my heart when I saw that picture of her mother on her knees by that lake. I can only imagine what that felt like. Nobody wants to be in that situation."