"It's hard to even explain how personally upsetting it is."
With those words to E! News, 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy broke a week-long silence following the death last Saturday (July 13) of Cory Monteith.
In an interview published Saturday (July 20), Murphy discussed Monteith's struggles with addiction, his passing and the process of deciding the Fox show's fate.
On this last question, Murphy said he and Fox executives left the decision up to Monteith's co-star and off-screen girlfriend, Lea Michele.
"[She] felt that the best thing for the cast and crew was to be together and to get back to work and be together every day and talk about our memories of him," he explained. "So we decided to do that with Lea's blessing and we're going to go back to work and have grief counselors on the set for two weeks because people are really hurting."
On Friday, Fox released a statement announcing that the fifth season of "Glee" would return on September 26, a week later than originally planned.
The September return will only be temporary, as Murphy revealed the show would resume its hiatus after a three-episode run. The first two episodes of the new season will be a pair of Beatles tribute episodes that had been in the works for several years. The third will be a tribute not only to Monteith, but to his "Glee" character, Finn Hudson.
"You either deal with it head-on or you just disappear until January or February and I think that's not what people need right now from a position of leadership," he said. "We decided that, but to reiterate it, I don't want anything to feel rushed and I feel like that's why the third episode we're going to take a long hiatus so that people can continue to feel taken care of and just pause and get the help that they need and not feel like we have to be rushing back."
He added that after the tribute episode, the show would then take an extended leave "to figure out the future of the show."
As for Michele, Murphy said, "I've never met any 26-year-old person stronger than Lea." She he has handled Monteith's passing and the subsequent fallout with "humility and grace," he explained, noting that her decision to continue the show had partly to do with the five-hundred cast and crew member who work on the production.
Murphy also confirmed he had been involved in trying to get Monteith help for his addiction, confirming he held an intervention in his office back in March, leading to Cory's stay in rehab. "I feel like we did everything that we could and I know that Lea feels she did everything that she could," he said.
"His last words to me were, 'I want to get better,' and I always felt and continue to feel even in his death that he did, that he really wanted to fight it and he was humiliated and shamed," Murphy said.