Inside the Glee Curse: A Cast Plagued by Dark Secrets

For many years, people have joked about a so-called “Glee curse.” However, as more and more things have gone wrong with the former cast members, people are starting to assume that this curse is real. The show premiered in 2009 and came to a close in 2015. Although it was comparable to High School Musical, it stands along for being its own unique show.

Mark Salling / Naya Rivera and Josey Hollis / Cory Montieth / The Cast of Glee

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The incredible cover songs, the way the characters had each other’s backs, the ambition in their eyes as they passionately performed… these things made the show so wonderful. Sadly, as the show started to decline, many negative things began happening to the cast. There might only be one actress who hasn’t experienced the curse yet. Here is a breakdown of the darkest tragedies and controversies surrounding this group.

Heather Morris Had Her Nudes Leaked

Heather Morris, who played Brittany S. Pierce, had her nude photos leaked in 2012. It took her a long time to open up about the personal event because she was ashamed. In an Instagram post from 2020, Morris finally opened up to say that when she and many other actresses had their photos leaked, it was mortifying, to say the least.

Heather Morris wearing a black dress at the premiere of War Dogs.

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Morris said it was hard to walk around her workplace without thinking that everyone had seen these photos. Also, some co-stars made rude comments, which didn’t help the uncomfortable situation. Although she went through such a significant scandal, Morris didn’t let it ruin her life. It was an unfortunate thing, but she is glad it is in the past now.

Chris Colfer Deals With Typecasting

While it is much less scandalous than what his castmates have been through, Chris Colfer has struggled with casting in Hollywood. After earning his breakout role as Kurt Hummell on Glee, Colfer has been typecast as someone who is always expected to sing and perform. He landed roles on Hot in Cleveland and Julie’s Greenroom, but he had to sing for both parts. ummel on HHi

A close up shot of Chris Colfer in a black buttoned up shirt.

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The public generally recognizes Colfer for one type of role. He feels that he is pigeonholed for being gay too. In an interview, Colfer said, “Why don’t you wait until my next project before you start telling me what my career is going to look like for the next ten years?” He added that he has never made his sexuality a big deal, but the media does, which is why everyone focuses on that.

Kevin McHale Created His Own Scandal

While many Glee stars have suffered unfortunate tragedy or scandal, Kevin McHale created his own problems. The actor, who played Artie Abrams, was set to star on Celebrity X-Factor in 2019, but right before the premiere of the primetime show, he got caught up in some very revealing social media dialogue that left fans more than confused.

Kevin McHale grinning at the camera at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.

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McHale responded to a Tweet that shared a list of X-rated acts with dollar amounts next to each one. The list was captioned, “If you’ve passed $7,000, you’re a demon.” After another pop star replied to it, McHale wrote, “14/14, I’m rich.” This suggested that he has taken part in sexual acts like sending pictures and making home movies. The show’s bosses were not happy with his response.

Mark Salling Did the Unthinkable

Out of all the scandals surrounding the Glee cast, this one shocked fans the most. Mark Salling was known for playing bad boy Noah Puckerman. Although his character was rebellious, he had some redeeming qualities. However, Salling didn’t share those positive traits in real life as he did something no one could have expected.

Mark Salling holding up an “L” sign with his fingers.

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In December 2015, Salling was arrested in connection with the possession of pictures of minors. He was taken into custody in L.A., and the LAPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children obtained a search warrant for his home, where they found hundreds of images on Salling’s computer. Months after his arrest, a jury indicted the actor in May 2016, and he was fired from the mini-series Gods and Secrets.

Salling Faces the Consequences

Salling was facing serious charges, and his trial was delayed in Jun 2016 so that he could find a new attorney. The following year, he pleaded guilty to possession of inappropriate content of minors and faced four to seven years in prison. Federal investigators found more than 25,000 images and 600 videos on thumb drives belonged to Salling.

Mark Salling in a suit arriving for a court appearance in 2016.

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No one ever imagined that he would do something like this, and all his co-stars were in utter disbelief. Salling would have had to register as a sex offender and enter a treatment program. However, he was found dead in 2017 while awaiting sentencing. Police concluded it was death by suicide. He couldn’t handle the life he would have had to live after the events.

Melissa Benoist Accuses Fellow Co-Star of Domestic Violence

While most people think of Melissa Benoist as the star of Supergirl, she got her big break on Glee. During her time on the show, Benoist started dating and eventually married her co-star, Blake Jenner. They were married for one year before announcing their shocking split. They played love interests on Glee, and no one saw this coming.

Melissa Benoist posing for the camera at the Christian Dior show in 2019.

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Their split seemed to be amicable until she revealed that she experienced domestic partner abuse. A year after she opened up about the abuse, Jenner released a public apology on Instagram, admitting the abuse. Jenner elaborated on the incident and said he was working on himself. Benoist has since moved on and remarried.

Darren Criss Made Problematic Comments About His Heritage

Darren Criss played the role of Blaine on Glee, and his singing abilities impressed every fan. His character was instantly loveable when he joined the cast in Season 2, but his comments in real life rubbed people the wrong way, especially one fan who wrote an open letter in response to his remarks.

Darren Criss wearing a beige suit at a movie premiere.

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In an interview with Vulture, Criss said he has the luxury of being half-white and looks more Caucasian, so it doesn’t weigh on his conscience as much. He is half-Filipino, and a Filipino fan was upset that he didn’t proudly represent his culture. He also doesn’t consider himself Asian-American because of the way he looks.

Cory Monteith Was Destined for Big Things

Throughout the first few seasons of Glee, Cory Monteith was a fan favorite. His character showed that you don’t have to stick to one box in high school, and people loved his on and off-screen romance with Lea Michele. However, people became concerned when he missed the final episodes of Season 4.

Cory Monteith at TV Guide Magazine's Hot List 2010 party.

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Monteith was participating in drug rehabilitation in 2013. It wasn’t a secret that he had battled addiction in his teen years. Monteith’s talent could have taken him far, and he was scheduled to return to Glee in Season 5. The compassionate side of his character was the reason fans loved the show.

Monteith Never Returned to the Show

Sadly, before Monteith could return to Glee, he was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver. The police ruled that it was an accidental suicide after he mixed heroin and alcohol. The show wanted to honor his memory, so they worked his death into the storyline while avoiding the details surrounding his death.

Lea Michele and Cory Monteith sitting at the table at the 11th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball.

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Glee paid tribute to the star in an episode titled “The Quarterback.” The episode included a heart-wrenching tribute to Finn by his fictional love interest, Rachel, played by Lea Michele – his real-life girlfriend. Michele admitted that it felt like she lost two people: Finn and Cory.

How Did Finn Die in Glee?

After Monteith died in real life, the producers of Glee wanted to honor his memory and write his death into the storyline. They chose not to use the details of his real death on the show, so in Season 5, Episode 3, “The Quarterback,” the cast returns to McKinley High School to grieve Finn’s sudden death.

A scene from “The Quarterback” episode showing the cast glancing at a photo of Cory (Finn).

Source: Wikipedia

However, they never revealed how he died on the show. The only thing viewers knew was that Finn suddenly died. In the episode, Kurt said, “Who cares? One moment in his whole life. I care more about how he lived.” This was how he addressed the fact that people wouldn’t learn how Finn died.

Dianna Agron Feuded With the Show’s Producer

If you watched the Cory Monteith tribute episode of Glee, you might have noticed one absent face, Dianna Agron. When producer Ryan Murphy cast her as Quinn Fabray, she apparently ruined the part for him. He envisioned her as this stone-cold popular girl, but Agron gave the character a conscience.

Dianna Agron in a red dress posing for the camera at the 21st annual GLAAD Media Awards.

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It seems that filming episodes of the show weren’t easy for Agron. You can see that she struggled through each episode, and Lea Michele also gave her a hard time. It didn’t surprise her fellow castmates when she decided to leave because she couldn’t work with Murphy or Michele any longer.

Lea Michele Was Called Out for Bullying

In a year filled with tragedy, Lea Michele, who played Rachel Barry, was called out by a former co-star for bullying. In 2020, after Michele posted about the murder of George Floyd, Glee star Samantha Ware accused Michele of making “traumatic microaggressions” against her. Ware wasn’t the only one with a problem.

Lea Michele looking over her shoulder at the 20th Century Fox party.

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Following Ware’s accusations, more of Michele’s former co-stars, including Amber Riley, began speaking up about her behavior behind the scenes. Although Michele issued an apology statement right away, the damage had been done, and the internet “canceled” her. She has tried to stay out of the spotlight since the allegations.

Naya Rivera Snowballed Into a Main Character

Even if you weren’t a “Gleek” during Glee’s heyday, you probably heard about the death of Naya Rivera last summer. Rivera played Santana Lopez, a minor character who gained great popularity with fans and turned into a prominent figure through the series.

Naya Rivera is folding her hands on the set of Glee.

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Santana was the popular cheerleader who only joined the glee club as a spy for the spiteful cheerleading coach. However, Santana’s vocal talent made her one of the most unforgettable characters in the series. Fans loved her and followed her career well beyond Glee.

Rivera’s Tragic Death

In July 2020, Rivera went on a boating trip with her four-year-old son on Lake Piru in California. People started to worry when her rental boat was never returned, and a short search found her son asleep on the boat alone. The only details they had from her son was that she went for a swim and never came back.

Naya Rivera and her son Josey Hollis at the premiere of The Lego Movie 2.

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After an intensive six-day search, police found Rivera’s body floating in another area of the lake. Authorities concluded that there was an incident involving her son and the risk of drowning, so Rivera used the last of her strength to lift him onto the boat. Sadly, she couldn’t save herself in the process. Everyone was deeply saddened about the news of her death.

The Cast Held an Intervention for Monteith

Monteith’s struggle with drugs began well before he became famous on Glee. When Monteith was just 12 years old, he started his battle with addiction but found his way to recovery before landing the role of Finn Hudson on Glee. His castmates were shocked when they saw him drinking, but he told them it was OK in moderation.

Heather Morris, Naya Rivera, and Cory Montieth are sitting on chairs on the set of Glee.

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The cast didn’t know enough about addiction to see that his drinking was a problem. However, they planned an intervention when things got bad, and he willingly went into rehab, with Lea Michele supporting his decision. Everyone thought he was on the path to recovery when he returned, and they had no idea the battle was ongoing.

Rivera Keyed Salling’s Car Because He Cheated

It seems like no one was really getting along behind the scenes of Glee. During the early seasons of the show, Rivera and Salling dated in real life. The couple went through many ups and downs, and they would break up and make up continuously. However, Rivera did not take it well when she heard Salling was seeing other people.

Mark Salling and Naya Rivera in a close embrace at the celebration of Glee's Golden Globe nominations.

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Rivera was devastated when Salling broke up with her. Finding out she wasn’t the only woman in his life pushed her to her breaking point. Rivera got revenge by keying his car, but that wasn’t all. She and a friend egged the vehicle and poured dog food all over it. She didn’t realize it then, but she dodged a bullet.

Michele Threatened to Call SAG Over Working Conditions

Many people have said that Michele was quite the diva behind the scenes. However, when you think of Glee, you probably think that working there would be fun and safe. Apparently, that assumption is wrong because Michele nearly called the Screen Actors Guild regarding a specific issue affecting the entire cast.

Lea Michele staring into the camera sporting red lipstick and a white suit.

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The air conditioning system broke, but producers forced them to continue singing and dancing anyway. When Michele threatened to involve SAG, the air conditioning was fixed. Hopefully, Fox wouldn’t have let them suffer too long. It is unknown how long the A/C was actually broken.

Rivera’s Mom Wasn’t Happy About Her Kissing Scenes With Morris

Santana and Brittany might have been an unexpected couple, but they were beloved by viewers. Brittany was the first-person Santana truly loved, and fans were happy when they got together. They were one of the most popular romantic relationships throughout the series. However, one viewer wasn’t so happy.

Naya Rivera leaning on Heather Morris.

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Rivera’s mom was very unhappy about the steamy kiss between Santana and Brittany prior to their wedding. According to Rivera, her mom screamed because she was so angry. Rivera calmed her down by saying the trick is to go in with an open mouth and close it as soon as you make contact. We don’t know if her mom was entirely calm, but it helped a little.

Michele Was Accused of Using Monteith’s Death to Gain Publicity

After Monteith’s death in 2013, Michele became a symbol of hope for many because she was his girlfriend when he died. She handled the awful tragedy with grace, and people who suffered a similar loss could relate. Her tearful speech at the Teen Choice Awards was heartbreaking yet heartfelt.

Cory Monteith and Lea Michele on the red carpet.

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However, some have criticized Michele in the years since Monteith’s death, claiming she still uses his name for attention. The accusations have been particularly hurtful because they come from people who don’t know what she went through. Michele still considers Monteith’s feelings even after eight years.

Ryan Murphy Made a “No Hookups on Set” Rule

When a bunch of attractive actors are working all day together, it makes sense that they might develop feelings for one another. However, producer Ryan Murphy didn’t think about how challenging working with young, hormonal stars would be. In light of everyone hooking up with each other on set, Murphy had to change something.

Ryan Murphy poses with the cast of

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Murphy made a “No hookups on set” rule, but the actors broke it many times. He was like the dad on set, and he tried to do his best. He has never revealed the names of people he caught hooking up, but everyone has their guesses.

Hardly Anyone Attended Morris’s Baby Shower

From the outside, it always seemed like the glee cast was a close-knit group, like a family. However, when Morris, who played Brittany, had her baby shower in 2013, most of her female castmates were absent from the event. Maybe they were busy, but they should have been there to support her.

Heather Morris the premiere of Most Likely To Die.

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Apparently, Amber Riley, Lea Michele, and Dianna Agron couldn’t be bothered to attend the celebration. Naya Rivera and Vanessa Lengies were in attendance as they were closest with Morris. We aren’t so surprised that people decided not to show up based on all the behind-the-scenes drama.

Salling Was Accused of Assault

Way Back before his dark secrets were revealed, Salling made headlines when his ex-girlfriend, Roxanne Gorzela, accused him of assault. She said he forced her to have unprotected sex. Then, when she confronted him about her concerns, he pushed her and gave her a head injury.

Mark Salling speaks onstage during the 2010 Teen Choice Awards.

Photo by Kevin Winter/TCA 2010/Getty Images

She filed a lawsuit, and Salling had to pay her $2.7 million. However, he was accused of assault more than once. Unfortunately, another woman came forward four years after the incident, but there wasn’t enough evidence to build a case. The law eventually caught up to him, and he couldn’t run away from his problems.

The Cast Ignored Michele at the Grammys

For years, rumors swirled that Michele was a diva around her castmates. Many people dismissed it as a rumor, until the 2011 Grammy Awards. When Michele took the stage to introduce Lady Antebellum, most of her castmates didn’t pay attention, and there were a few eye rolls. It was awkward to watch.

Lea Michele at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.

Photo by John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images

It’s not that people didn’t like Glee because Matthew Morrison (Mr. Schuster) got thunderous applause when he was on stage later in the evening. This appeared to be an issue that the cast was completely united on. Agron was the only one to show Michele support despite their feud.

Michele and Rivera Had an Ongoing Feud

Throughout Glee’s six-season run, there were rumors of a feud between Michele and Rivera that everyone denied. However, Rivera’s book revealed the truth. She said that there was some tension between the two, but it had been blown out of proportion. According to Rivera, Michele didn’t like sharing the spotlight.

Lea Michele and Naya Rivera on the set of Glee.

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Murphy opened up about the bad blood between the stars, joking that they could star in his next hit series, Feud. He agreed that the hatred between the two stars was exaggerated but acknowledged an issue existed. Murphy recognized that the guys argued just as much but you don’t hear about that in our society.

Sudden Death of Glee Production Assistant and Assistant Director

The “Glee curse” began in 2013 after Monteith’s death, and it was followed by two other crew members dying. Three months after Monteith died, assistant director Jim Fuller passed away in his sleep from heart failure. The show gave him a shoutout in Season 4.

Nancy Motes in a red dress and her hands on her hips.

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Then, in 2014, the cast was devastated by the death of production assistant, Nancy Motes. She happened to be Julia Roberts’s sister, and in her suicide note, she said Roberts drove her to the deepest depression, and the abuse from her sister made her not want to wake up.

Rivera’s Love Scenes With Monteith Were Awkward

If the actors involved in romantic scenes have chemistry, things can get pretty steamy. On the other hand, there is nothing sexy about filming these moments. With take after take of someone telling you to tilt your head to get the proper lighting, things can get somewhat uncomfortable.

Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith stand beside each other near a fence.

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Rivera once revealed that her makeout scenes with Monteith were incredibly awkward. She said, “he was a little hot and bothered, nervous about the whole thing.” In her book, Rivera explained that, “Instead of a slow spin, he picked me up awkwardly, and turned around so fast that I practically got whiplash.” That doesn’t sound very romantic.

Murphy Had Major Regrets

As the father-like figure on set, Murphy felt responsible for the young stars. In light of everything that happened, especially with Monteith, Murphy still feels regret and guilt, something he shares with the rest of the cast. He feels he blurred the lines between work and family, which backfired on him.

Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison and Ryan Murphy at the

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While Murphy wanted to be a parent figure, the cast wasn’t looking for someone like that. He said he did his best to save Monteith from himself, but there was nothing he could do. In his last interactions with Monteith, they hugged, and Monteith said, “I love you, man, and thank you for helping me get better.” When he died, Murphy felt like he had lost a child.

Rivera Was Arrested and Charge With Domestic Battery

In November 2017, Rivera was arrested and charged with domestic battery following an argument with her then-husband, Ryan Dorsey. He claimed that Rivera hit him in the head, and he had a video to prove it. The two had a long history and dated before she was on Glee and again during the series.

Ryan Dorsey and Naya Rivera attend the 2nd annual UNICEF Masquerade Ball.

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The two were married in 2014, just months after she and Big Sean called off their engagement. They had a son together but ended their marriage after just a few years. He was part of the search when she went missing and comforted her family during their time of need.

The Mysterious Death of This Glee Star’s Boyfriend

Becca Tobin was one of the new cast members who joined Glee in 2012. She played cheerleader Kitty Wilde, but tragedy struck her personal life two years later. Her boyfriend had traveled to Philadelphia for a business trip in 2014, and he was found dead in his hotel room.

Becca Tobin in a cheerleader uniform on the set of Glee.

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The circumstances surrounding his death were mysterious because there wasn’t evidence of foul play, drugs, weapons, or an indication of suicide. His passing was referred to as a sudden death. Tobin addressed his death a month later to thank fans for their support, and she said that her boyfriend would live in her heart forever.

Agron Was Terrified of Her Ex-Boyfriend

Agron dealt with a lot when she was on Glee, and her life didn’t get any easier when she left the series. She was dating British actor Alex Pettyfer, her co-star from a project she worked on in 2011. However, the relationship came to a sudden end. Agron admitted that she became terrified of Pettyfer.

Dianna Agron and Alex Pettyfer attend a cast meet and greet.

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She said he flew into a rage when he thought she was hooking up with another guy at a club. Agron moved out of their home and into a hotel under a fake name. Although she never publicly addressed these reports, Pettyfer didn’t do himself any favors when he trashed Hollywood as a whole.

Rivera Had a Secret Pregnancy During Glee

In her book Sorry Not Sorry, Rivera gave readers much insight into the tumultuous life of a Glee star. The actress told People ahead of the book’s release, “I’ve done a lot of living. I’m a 79-year-old trapped in a 29-year-old’s body.” One revelation, Rivera made in her tell-all book was that she became pregnant in 2010.

Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey on the red carpet.

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She was dating Ryan Dorsey at the time and starring on Glee. The pair split so the actress could prioritize her career, and she decided to end the pregnancy. The couple later reconciled, got married, and had their son a few years later. At the time, a baby was not part of her plan because she was at the height of her career.

Jane Lynch Battled Addiction

Jane Lynch might have won an Emmy for her portrayal of Coach Sue Sylvester in 2010, but it wasn’t always a happy time in her life. In her 2011 memoir, Happy Accidents, Lynch opened up about overcoming her drinking addiction in 1991 only to develop another addiction to cough syrup.

Jane Lynch yelling into a megaphone.

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While Lynch quit drinking, she had a habit of taking NyQuil before bed. She confessed, “Without the beer, I was still in need of something to soothe me.” She struggled with her career because she depended on NyQuil. However, she kicked her habit after a night of partying with co-stars led her to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Lynch’s Divorce Cost Her a Fortune

Also in her 2011 memoir, Lynch talked about meeting her wife, Lara Embry. When the two met, Lynch was immediately smitten. However, a few years after the book came out, Lynch and Embry’s relationship took a turn, and they decided to split in 2013. Unfortunately, Lynch took a significant financial hit.

Jane Lynch and wife Lara Embry sitting at a table at an event.

Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage/Getty Images

As the primary earner in the relationship, the divorce settlement resulted in Lynch giving her ex $1.2 million in addition to half of the money in their bank and trust accounts. Thankfully, Lynch didn’t hold a grudge about the settlement, saying it was just money and she would be fine without it.

Murphy Shared His Original Plan for the Series

At Monteith’s funeral, Murphy and the rest of the cast were devastated. The show was still airing new episodes at the time, and they obviously didn’t have a plan for Finn’s exit from the series. Murphy shared that he had a whole storyline for Finn and Rachel in his original thought until the end.

Lea Michele and Cory Montieth on the set of Glee.

Source: Moviestillsdb.com/Copyright by Fox

Murphy wanted Finn to become a teacher while Rachel would be a Broadway star. In the end, she would come home to him, and they would get back together. However, that didn’t happen, and Murphy was saddened that he had to write Finn out of the show after Monteith’s death because they were like family.

Michele Totaled Her Car Right Before Her Audition

You might have thought it would be a sign from the universe, but Michele told fans that she almost didn’t make it to her audition. On her way to Fox Studios, she totaled her car in the parking lot. As she walked into the room, she was still pulling pieces of glass out of her hair, but that didn’t stop her from getting the part.

Lea Michele posing on a balcony in Hawaii.

Photo by Marco Garcia/Getty Images

Maybe the so-called “Glee curse” started then, and the show wasn’t supposed to be made. What would have happened if Michele missed her audition and someone else played Rachel Barry? It would have been a much different series, and maybe the cast’s lives would have been different.

Jesse Luken Got a DUI

Jesse Luken first appeared on Glee in Season 4 as Bobby Surette. He is a jock at McKinley High, and he was only on the series for four episodes. In 2018, Luken crashed his car in Glendale, California. According to reports, he was drunk at the time of the accident.

Jesse Luken in a football hoodie pointing a finger on the set of Glee.

Source: Pinterest

Luken was arrested for driving under the influence and later released. While this was his fault, and he chose to get behind the wheel after drinking, it could have something to do with the curse. He was lucky that he wasn’t injured and that he didn’t hurt anyone else.

Michele and Matthew Morrison Had a Brief Romance

Although we know that the stars of Glee were much older than the characters they were playing, this tidbit of information is a bit creepy. According to Michele’s book, Brunette Ambition, she and Morrison had been friends for years before the show and dated for a hot minute.

Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison sitting on stage on the set of Glee.

Photo by FOX Image Collection/Getty Images

They are almost ten years apart in age. Therefore, when Michele’s character on Glee has a crush on Morrison’s character and everyone thinks it’s creepy, the storyline is not that far off. He must have been in his late 20s, and she was in her teens when they met, which seems inappropriate to anyone.

Is There Really a “Glee Curse?”

While some people genuinely believe the cast of Glee is cursed, others have laughed at this idea. The former Fox musical series isn’t under a supernatural curse, but they do seem to have horrible luck. Many people fueled this cursed narrative after Rivera went missing, but in reality, they are just plagued by tragedy.

The cast of Glee posing for a publicity still.

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It’s perfectly natural for the media to create narratives out of strange patterns, which is part of human nature. However, the heartbreaking losses and unfortunate events surrounding Glee’s cast are purely coincidental. It is just a way to cover up a lot of grief related to one group of people.