Naya Rivera became a star playing a singing teen on Glee, but in real life she feels wise beyond her years.
“I’ve done a lot of living,” the actress says in the current issue of PEOPLE. “I’m a 79-year-old trapped in a 29-year-old’s body.”
Rivera has now chronicled that loaded life – including the revelations that she battled anorexia as a teen and had an abortion she got while on Glee – in her upcoming memoir Sorry Not Sorry, and PEOPLE has an exclusive excerpt before it hits stores.
“By the time I was a sophomore, I started feeling that what had begun as a game had maybe gone too far. I just avoided food at all costs,” she writes in Sorry Not Sorry of coping with her parents splitting and reuniting at the same time her acting career was stalling. “If my mom had packed a lunch for me, I’d either trash it or find some excuse to give it away.”
Rivera says she didn’t really realize the severity of her eating disorder until she decided to write about it in her memoir.
“I was so young and it just seemed to be the norm. Everyone was going through similar stuff,” she tells PEOPLE. “I had no way of knowing if I was going through it worse. I was juggling my feelings and it makes me sad that there are girls still going through that 15 years after I went through it.”
Harder for Rivera to open up about was the fact she had an abortion.
Rivera found out she was pregnant with actor Ryan Dorsey’s child in late 2010 – just weeks after breaking up with him to focus on her career.
Rivera says she did not reveal the pregnancy to Dorsey, whom she wed in 2014 and is now the father of her 11-month-old son. Instead, she made the call to put her career first and terminated the pregnancy during her one day off from filming an episode of Glee.
“It was very scary to open up about everything,” says Rivera. “It’s not something a lot of people talk about, but I think they should. I know some people might read it and say, ‘What the Hell?’ But I hope someone out there gets something out of it.”
One person she hopes gets something out of her memoir is her son, Josey.
“I hope Josey will read it one day,” she says of the book. “I hope it gives him a better perspective on the issues women face.”
msleamichele #tbt 7 years ago.. It’s unbelievable how quickly time can go by.. To think we aired 7 years ago today.. Found this photo from our Upfronts trip to NYC just days before the premiere. We were all so excited. We went around the table and each said something we loved about each other.. No matter where we all are now.. I will always think back to this night. #glee ❤️
Cory’s death is today. His anniversary. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, go on any of the Glee cast’s social media and speak of him. DO NOT tag them in memory posts. DO NOT spam Lea saying she’s in your prayers. Let them remember him in peace. DO NOT make the day sadder than it has to be.