Lea Michele Credits Boyfriend Matthew Paetz For Helping Her Move Forward

Lea Michele celebrated her birthday by showing her gratitude to those closest to her heart. Michele took to Instagram to show her love and appreciation to Matthew Paetz, who is the only person Lea has dated since the 2013 death of her boyfriend and Glee co-star, Cory Monteith.

“Matthew, thank you for bringing such happiness into my life. For making me smile again and bringing such a bright joy into my every day… Thank you for loving me and my family… And of course Sheila too,” Michele wrote, referring to her beloved cat. “May this be the happiest Birthday ever!”

Earlier this month, on May 11, Lea also gave a shout-out to Monteith, who would have been 33-years-old on that day.

“I know you’re serenading everyone right now,” Lea tweeted. “We love you Cory! Happy birthday.”

On July 13, 2013, Cory Monteith was discovered in his Vancouver hotel room, where he had died of a drug overdose due to a mixed drug toxicity. Alcohol and heroin were among the substances found in his system at the time of the coroner’s examination.

“My mom has experienced a lot of loss in her life and she told me at one point, there is an empowerment that comes with grief—at some point you find it,” Michele said in an Ellen DeGeneres interview. “It’s very hard but you will find it, and I think at a certain point you can choose to sort of fall from this or you can choose to rise. And that’s what I’m just trying to do my best for him, because I know that that’s what he would have.”

Michele said that she’s trying to turn her loss into something positive, and to honor Cory’s spirit through her endeavors and dreams.

“I only have happy memories of Cory. He was not his addiction—unfortunately, it won. But that wasn’t who he was. Cory made me feel like a queen every day,” Michele said. “From the minute he said, ‘I’m your boyfriend,’ I loved every day, and I thank him for being the best boyfriend and making me feel so beautiful.”

Lea Michele spent her birthday with current boyfriend Matthew Paetz, sharing photos from the day with her Instagram followers.

“Such a happy birthday to these two,” Lea captioned one photo. “@hannahluxdavis (music video director Hannah Lux Davis) & Matthew! I love you both so much!”

Lea Michele will be seen in Ryan Murphy’s new horror comedy series, Scream Queens, when it premieres on Fox this fall.

[Featured image: Lea Michele and Matthew Paetz courtesy of Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for DGA]