Naya Rivera's Ex and Sister 'Blindsided' Over Scrutiny of Their Living Arrangement, Source Says
By Paige Gawley
Naya Rivera's ex and sister are working together to support her son. Following news that the late actress' sister, Nickayla, moved in with her ex, Ryan Dorsey, a source tells ET that the pair is "blindsided" by the public's scrutiny.
Naya died in July after she went missing in Lake Piru in California for several days. Her and Ryan's son, 5-year-old Josey, was with his mom on the boat, but was not harmed.
"Ryan and Nickayla had been doing so well keeping it together and putting on a strong front for Josey, but the recent scrutiny they're facing really blindsided them and they barely have the mental capacity to deal with it," ET's source says. "They were not at all concerned with optics. They know they’re in the public eye, but never in a million years did they think people would punish them by making assumptions about how things look or make up salacious headlines."
"Anyone who knows them knows it’s completely absurd to imply that they are anything more than just family," the source adds. "They’re beyond exhausted. These rumors and the resulting hatred they’ve received is pushing them over the edge."
According to the source, Nickayla has received death threats in her DMs over the living situation. Both Nickayla and Ryan have had both everyday people and paparazzi stalking them and taking photos, the source adds.
"They’re having a difficult time grieving and trying to move on with their lives because the public assumes they need to behave a certain way," the source notes. "If they smile or appear to be happy, they get scrutinized, but people don’t know the pain they’re dealing with 99 percent of the time."
"Even if they wanted to crawl into a hole and stay there all day, they can’t!" the source adds. "They have to show up for Josey."
On her Instagram Story on Monday, Nickayla stated that she is "not concerned with the way things look." Likewise, Ryan addressed the speculation on Instagram Tuesday, revealing that it was Josey that asked if Nickayla could move in with them, a request he made because she's the "closest thing he has to a mom."
"I wasn't even going to speak on any of this, I feel like my head is full with so many things that the last thing I need running through my mind is this bullsh*t," he said. "[It's] 2020 and this is life. 2020, what a sh*tty, f**king year."
ET learned on Monday that, despite Ryan and Nickayla moving in together, they are not involved romantically.
"Since the devastating loss of Naya, Ryan’s role in parenting has of course been amped up," the source said. "He’s the primary caregiver, but has been relying very heavily on Nickayla. He would not be able to do this without her help and involvement."
"They simply share the same goal -- to give Josey the best childhood possible and to raise him the best they can without Naya," the source added. "They’ve also found comfort in one another because they understand what each other is dealing with and they know how exhausting it can be to be grieving in the public eye while trying to keep it together for Josey."