Cory Monteith’s roommate speaks out on late ‘Glee’ actor’s struggles

Cory Monteith seemed to have it all.

The late actor was at the height of his stardom on “Glee,” but ultimately couldn’t overcome his drug and alcohol demons and died in 2013 from an overdose at 31. A new docuseries hints that his success — the Glee “curse” that saw two other castmates die young — was to blame.

“I remember the paparazzi kind of following around the car, and he’s like, ‘I think they have a bug on my car,’” says former roommate Justin Neill, on the new docuseries “The Price of Glee,” premiering Jan. 16.

Although the breakout star was initially taken in by his newfound fame, it ultimately took its toll on the “very private” actor. Monteith told Neill, 41, that he “wouldn’t wish it on his worst enemy.”

“By the end of the second season, he didn’t have his private time and he was … probably one of the most private people I knew. And now it’s like everybody wants to know everything about him,” Neill told The Post.

After being cast as high school quarterback Finn Hudson in the Fox musical comedy in 2008, the TV star moved into Neill’s Culver City, Calif., pad.

Cory Monteith
Cory Monteith, who played beloved “Glee” quarterback Finn Hudson, died from an overdose at age 31.

Monteith had “several” stalkers, including one who managed to get his address. The shaken actor installed a security camera himself.

“Instead of waiting for a security crew … he went to, like, Home Depot and he’s like, ‘Guys, this is serious,’” Neill said.

The three-part limited series, which will air on ID and Discovery+, also explores the untimely deaths of Mark Salling, who committed suicide at 35, and Naya Rivera, who accidentally drowned at 33.

Cory Monteith, Justin Neill
Justin Neill (right) is featured in “The Price of Glee,” and said Monteith told him he wouldn’t wish fame on his worst enemy.

Multiple crew members — although the series didn’t give an exact number — also perished due to what some call the “curse” of the Fox series, which premiered in 2009.

Monteith struggled from a young age. His parents divorced when he was 7, and 13 he was skipping school and using drugs and alcohol. When he was 19, his mother staged an intervention, and he entered rehab in 2001.

Although the “smart as a whip, genuine and generous” actor was sober for most of the time he knew him, Neill noticed he did start “having a beer here and there,” but convinced his friends he was fine.

“He’s like, ‘I’m all right, guys. I’ve had success now. I’m a different person. I’ve outgrown that,’” Neill, who works for a web tech company, said.

Naya Rivera accidentally drowned at age 33.
Naya Rivera accidentally drowned at age 33.

That success came with grueling shooting schedules, which included acting, singing and dancing — and involved 70-hour work weeks.

Monteith — whose humble beginnings included growing up in Victoria, Canada, and working jobs as a Walmart greeter and roofer — “was always just grateful” for the opportunity.

However, “there did definitely get to a point where he was burned out,” Neill said.

During the series, which ended in 2015, Monteith also fell in love with costar Lea Michele, whom he dated on and off until his death.

Mark Salling committed suicide at age 35.
Mark Salling committed suicide at age 35.

Although “The Price of Glee” pegs her as a controlling narcissist, Neill spoke fondly of the actress.

“She was actually really awesome to hang out with,” he said. “She made eggplant parmesan for us one time that was phenomenal.”

When he wasn’t dating Michele, Monteith “had his fun” with the many romantic prospects.

He once told Neill, “You know, this gets so old.”

The cast and crew of "Glee" pose with their Best Television Series - Comedy Or Musical award at the 2011 Golden Globes.
The cast and crew of “Glee” pose with their Best Television Series – Comedy Or Musical award at the 2011 Golden Globes.

“He didn’t trust these girls. I think that’s really why he gravitated towards Lea because they understood what each one was going through,” Neill said of the pair, whose characters dated on the show.  

Monteith was written out of the last few episodes of “Glee’s” Season 4 so he could enter rehab again in March 2013.

At the time, his “Glee” costars wanted to help him with his heroin addiction and his mother was aware he was taking painkillers.

After that stint, he traveled to Vancouver, and Neill reached out to one of his friends there when he hadn’t heard from him.

Cory Monteith, Lea Michele
Monteith dated his “Glee” costar Lea Michele in real life and on the show.

“I’m like, ‘Cory hasn’t been texting me back.’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, he’s just trying to free his head. I just saw him … and he seems really well,’” he remembered.

In July, he was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room with heroin, alcohol and depressants in his system.

Neill keeps his friend’s memory alive by keeping in touch with Monteith’s mother, texting her on holidays and calling himself her “California son.”

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He also kept a present Monteith gave him — the surfboard he won at the Teen Choice Awards.

“Because I grew up surfing,” he said, smiling. “And he was like, ‘This would mean more to you than me.’”

Per: NYP


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