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Lea Michele opens up about Cory Monteith's death

"Glee" co-stars Cory Monteith and Lea Michele attend

"Glee" co-stars Cory Monteith and Lea Michele attend the 2012 Do Something Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. (Aug. 19, 2012) Credit: AP

"Glee" star Lea Michele, who has rarely spoken publicly about the July death of her castmate and boyfriend Cory Monteith, Thursday described at length her grief and her attempts at moving forward.

Saying, "It's been only a few months" since Monteith died of a drug overdose at age 31, Michele told talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, "I really feel like I'm still trying to figure out all of this."

The singer-actress said working on "Glee," including on the Monteith tribute episode that ran in October, has been helping. Series co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy, she added, had let it be her decision about how soon she'd return to work. "He said, 'What do you want to do? Whatever you want to do, we'll do.' I said, 'I have to go back to work.' "

She added: "Grief goes with you every day, whatever you're doing -- when there's great moments, when there's hard moments. So I'd rather, for me, be at work with the people I love who are going through the same thing. And it obviously has its own triggers. But at the end of the day, I feel so safe there."

Michele, 27, said she's realized that, "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. . . . That's what he would have wanted, to just do my best and to hopefully make something positive for where I go in the rest of my life."

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