On Jan. 30, actor Mark Salling was found dead at the age of 35 from an apparent suicide. The Glee star was set to be sentenced in March after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Though he didn’t have a wife or girlfriend at the time of his passing, the actor had a rocky history when it came to romance.
His last known relationship was in 2014 with The Fosters actress Denyse Tontz, who at the time was just 19 years old. People reports the pair called it quits that same year due to their busy schedules. “You never know what could happen down the road,” she said after their breakup. “Honestly, as an artist, I have so much respect for him, because he is the most talented musician.”
The year before, his ex Roxanne Gorzela filed a sexual battery lawsuit stemming from an alleged incident in 2011. According to Roxanne, she consented to sex with the star, but he reportedly refused to wear protection. When she approached him a few days later with concerns that she had contracted an STD, she claimed he got physical with her, resulting in several injuries. According to TMZ, Roxanne eventually dropped the lawsuit, and the two settled outside of court (she allegedly received $2.7 million).
His most notable romance was with his Glee co-star Naya Rivera, whom he dated for three years. The actress wrote in her memoir that Mark “dumped” her in 2010. After he was arrested on child pornography charges, Naya told Entertainment Tonight, “I can’t say I was totally shocked. He was always just a very dark soul to me. I always felt like there was something that he was wrestling with.”
Naya and Mark in 2010.
Mark was also briefly linked to Hills alum Audrina Patridge in 2009. None of his ex-girlfriends have spoken out about his passing, though several Glee cast members made their feelings known. Jane Lynch told TMZ, “It’s tragic and I’m brokenhearted over it.” Matthew Morrison posted an Instagram photo of himself alongside Mark and late co-star Cory Monteith, who died in 2013 from a drug overdose.
Actress Lea Michele, who previously dated Cory, has yet to speak publicly about Mark’s death, but an insider tells Life & Style that she’s having a difficult time coping with the loss. “Of course, they weren’t close in recent years. But while they were filming Glee, Lea considered Mark a brother,” the insider shares. “It’s particularly heartbreaking for her after Cory’s death. She can’t believe another person from the cast is gone.”
Lea and Mark filming in 2011.
Producer Tim Davis wrote on Twitter, “Today we lost another #Glee cast member. Yes, he committed crimes against children. Yes, it’s horrific. But #MarkSalling was a broken man, no doubt an abuse victim himself. I loved Mark, and am sad when I consider the devastation of his parents. PLEASE withhold your cruel comments.” In a second tweet, he added, “Let me be clear. Having compassion for #MarkSalling in no way minimizes his crimes, nor does it minimize the pain and devastation of the victims of those crimes. I’m just saying stop adding to his family’s pain. This was their son. If you’re without sin, feel free to cast stones.”