Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
The Teen Choice Awards are usually lighthearted and wacky -- but for a moment on Sunday night, the ceremony became an emotional tribute to Glee's Cory Monteith.
Lea Michele made her first public appearance since the death of her boyfriend, and their Glee co-stars stood in solidarity as she dedicated her own award to his memory. Watch the moving speech below.
"Thank you guys. I just wanted to be here today to personally thank all of you. And tell everyone out there how much all of your love and support has meant to me, over these very past difficult few weeks," said Michele, who was accepting the TCA surfboard for Choice TV Comedy Actress.
The 26-year-old actress smiled through tears as she thanked "the greatest fans in the world." Clutching her ever-present "Cory" necklace, Michele dedicated the award to Monteith, who died four weeks ago after taking a lethal mixture of heroin and alcohol. He was 31.
"For all of you out there who loved Cory as much as I did: I promise that with your love, we're gonna through this together," an emotional Michele told her fans. "He was very special to me and also to the world, and we were very lucky to witness his incredible talent, his handsome smile, and his beautiful, beautiful heart. So whether you knew him personally or just as Finn Hudson, Cory reached out and he became a part of all of our hearts. And that's where he'll stay forever."
As she stepped away from the microphone, Lea was embraced by co-stars Kevin McHale, Amber Riley and Jenna Ushowitz, who had just accepted Glee's award for Choice TV Show: Comedy. Their speech, too, was a tribute to Monteith. Watch below.
"We just want to say, although we lost someone that we really love, and that all of you guys love too, we are very fortunate to come back to a show where we feel the love of family," said Riley, who plays Mercedes. "Cory was like a brother to us, like a dad. He was always ready to sign an autograph or take a picture with a fan, and he loves you Gleeks."
"So on behalf of our brother and our castmate, we know that Cory would've wanted to dedicate this award to you guys," Ushkowitz, who plays Tina, added. "So our condolences to all of you as well, and we love you so much. Thank you guys."
Following the ceremony, Lea's Glee family paid tribute to her on Twitter.
Strong woman, very very proud.— Amber Patrice Riley (@MsAmberPRiley) August 12, 2013
So proud we won another Teen Choice Award, thanks to everyone for voting for #glee and for all your and support.— Jenna Ushkowitz (@JennaUshkowitz) August 12, 2013
Harry Shum, who plays Mike on Glee, said this weekend that the cast has been helping each other cope with Cory's death.
"We've all been leaning on each other. It's been a rough patch and a rough time," Shum told People at a charity event. "I don't know when that will ever end... But I think it's great that everyone is back at work and at least following through, and hopefully we can at least just get through this rough patch."
The cast went back to work soon after Cory's death, per Lea's request. They are currently shooting the first episode of season 5, and will soon start production on an episode dealing directly with the sudden death of Cory's character, Finn Hudson.