She credits 'Glee' fans for making Brittana happen.

Caroline Goldstein
August 10, 2020
FOX, Getty Images

In an August 9th Instagram video, an emotional Heather Morris recognized the importance of her Glee character Brittany Pierce’s relationship with Santana Lopez, played by the late Naya Rivera, to the LGBTQ+ community.

"I don’t need to explain what the importance of Santana and Brittany’s relationship was to all of you who are watching because most of you felt like it was your gateway into your current life. Most of you felt like it was an inspiration to become your best self," Morris said, after sharing that she felt an “aching in [her] heart” to connect with her fans. 

"I want to thank all the fans for your love and support. I want you to know that we are all here with you, that grief looks different on everybody and I want you to be gentle and kind to yourself during this time. I think maybe a lot of you feel very far away. I'm hoping that this message might help you feel a little closer," Morris later added.

The relationship between Brittany and Santana evolved from friendship into romance and eventually marriage over Glee's six seasons. In her video, Morris acknowledged how important that was to so many fans contending with their own sexuality. When Santana’s coming-out episode aired in 2011, authentic queer representation in television was thin on the ground.  

“I want you to know that that was never lost on me,” Morris said. “It was never lost on Naya. We both knew how special that was. I think she knew a little bit more than I did."

"I really felt it a lot later with all the messages and all the people reaching out. and I knew the writers also knew that as well. They were basically writing for the fans,” she added. 

“Thank you all for being such advocates and so supportive of Santana and Brittany’s relationship, because without you guys it never would have existed," she continued. "You guys helped create something for the writers and, for Naya and I, that made an impact that will last for a lifetime and beyond then. So I want to thank everyone here watching and I want to thank all the fans for your love and support." 

On July 13th, Naya Rivera’s body was recovered from Lake Piru in California, days after she was reported missing following a boat trip with her 4-year-old son, Josey. Local authorities ruled her death an accidental drowning. 

Since her tragic death, fans and celebrities have come out in droves to celebrate her life and commemorate her legacy. In particular, Santana Lopez’s coming-out storyline had a special impact on young queer women, as Demi Lovato noted in a July 13th Instagram post. 

“The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world,” wrote Lovato, who portrayed Santana’s girlfriend in Season 5.

In 2017, Rivera published a “love letter” to her LGBTQ+ fans on Billboard, writing that it was “one of the great blessings in my life” to hear firsthand from fans whose lives were affected by her portrayal of Santana Lopez. 

“I have been so incredibly fortunate to portray a character on television that has meant so much to so many within the LGBTQ community. Off screen, I am a woman who stands in support of equality, and equal rights for all,” Rivera wrote.

“We are all put on this earth to be a service to others and I am grateful that for some, my Cheerios ponytail and sassy sashays may have given a little light to someone somewhere, who may have needed it. To everyone whose heartfelt stories I have heard, or read I thank you for truly enriching my life.”