GLEE actress Naya Rivera was “happy” and “excited” for her future before she tragically went missing during a boat trip with her 4-year-old son, The Sun can exclusively reveal.
Naya, 33, is feared to be dead after she rented a boat on Lake Piru in California with her son, Josey, and went missing on Wednesday afternoon.
Her son was found sleeping in the boat just before 5pm, as reports claimed he told authorities that his mother "jumped into the water but didn't come back up.”
Naya’s former public relations representative, Zack Teperman, exclusively told The Sun that he spoke with the actress in June.
Zack said: “She's seemed happy, excited. She had a lot of projects going on. She mentioned she has things in the works… She was in a good space.”
He said he was in “disbelief” and “in shock” when he heard the news.
Zack continued: “I still don't believe it. It is devastating to hear and read the news. I am very heart broken for her child. I can't imagine him being alone on that boat and seeing all of that and having to live with what happens.”
Zack praised Naya for being a “dedicated” mother to Josey.
He continued: “She was all about that kid. She was safe with everything going on. No mother would put her son in danger.
“I'm heartbroken for her mom, brother and family. Her son, her son's father. This should never have happened.”
Despite authorities presuming the actress is dead following the incident, her friend is still hopeful she could be found alive.
He told The Sun: “I still have hope she shows up. Hopefully she goes to shore. I'm hoping for the best. Let's hope later today we get better news and go from there.”
Zack is also urging authorities to “keep searching,” as “every minute counts.”
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department began searching for a presumed drowning victim after responding to a report of a boy left alone on a boat at around 4.48pm, a press release read.
The Sheriff's Department later tweeted: "The missing person at Lake Piru has been identified as Naya Rivera, 33, of Los Angeles. SAR operation will continue at first light.”
Divers searched until the evening, but were unable to locate the actress.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office said at a Thursday morning press conference that this "may well be a case of drowning.”
Sheriff's Deputy Chris Dyer said: "We’re continuing the search today for Naya Rivera today. We have a lot of assets helping with the search.
"We have Ventura County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Ventura County Fire, Los Angeles County Dive Operations, Ventura County Aviation, and drones as well.
"We’re still hoping to find her alive. It’s a search and rescue mission. We’re searching the water and the shoreline.”
The lake has been closed off as the search continued early this morning and is expected to stretch over “several days.”
Naya's life jacket was reportedly still in the boat. Her son had his life jacket strapped on.
Josey, who Naya shares with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, is now safe with family members.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Buschow told the Los Angeles Times: “The family is going through a very traumatic time right now.”
The officer said Josey is "in good health.”
In Naya’s last Instagram post, she shared a photo of herself kissing her son.
She captioned the photo on Tuesday: "Just the two of us.”
Earlier this week, she chillingly posted on Instagram: “Make the most of today and every day you are given. Tomorrow is not promised.”
She was also spotted holding her son's hand during a walk in Los Angeles earlier this week.
Naya appeared on 113 episodes of Glee from 2009 to 2015.
Her former co-stars have paid emotional tributes to the star.
Demi Lovato, who appeared in season five for six episodes, wrote on her Instagram Story: "Please pray for @nayarivera to be found safe and safe.”
Fellow Glee star Harry Shum Jr., who played Mike Chang, wrote: “Praying.”
Did Glee actress Naya Rivera drown in Lake Piru and how long has she been missing?
GLEE star Naya Rivera is presumed dead after she went missing in Lake Piru, California.
Her son was found alone on a pontoon boat the two rented together.
Divers and helicopters immediately started searching the lake but so far there has been no sign of the Glee star.
Actor Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins, wrote: "Oh God… mercy… please…”
Heather Morris, who played Brittany S. Pierce on the show, wrote on Instagram: "We need all the prayers we can get to bring our Naya back home to us. We need your love and light.”
Zack said of his longtime friend: “Back then she wanted to get into music, do more acting. Win an Oscar one day. Those were her goals.
"She was driven and dedicated to her craft.”
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