Lifelong bond. Glee creator Ryan Murphy and Lea Michele, who played Rachel Berry in the hit show, have remained extremely close friends even five years after the series finale. 

We’re not talking about a friendly coworker relationship — Ryan even officiated Lea’s wedding to husband Zandy Reich in 2019. The showrunner giving the green light to the clothing company president was one of the reasons the Dimension 404 star knew he was her guy.

Ryan Murphy and Lea Michele Hug While Holding Emmy
Mark J Terrill/AP/Shutterstock

“So Ryan is like my family,” the Broadway singer explained to E! News after she and Zandy got engaged after two years together. “One of the greatest friends in the world that I have, so when my boyfriend got the seal of approval from Ryan Murphy, that’s it. Yeah, my parents, friends, whatever, but Ryan Murphy, done deal seals the deal.”

The tie between Ryan and Lea started before her debut on the Fox show. The creator actually wrote the role for Rachel Berry with Lea in mind after her standout role in Spring Awakening.

The New York native is in hot water these days after multiple people have come forward with bullying accusations spurred on by former Glee actress Samantha Ware. Ryan and Lea obviously survived any onset turmoil, but that’s not to say he wasn’t aware of what was going on. 

“It was the best time in my life and the worst time in my life,” he previously told Entertainment Weekly. “There was a lot of infighting. There was a lot of people sleeping together and breaking up. It was good training for being a parent, I’ll tell you that much.”

He added, “Some of them I’m still very close to: Lea Michele, Chord OverstreetDarren Criss — but there were some that didn’t work out well, and I regret that. I guess I just wish I had been able to let them figure it out for themselves.”

Lea issued a formal apology on June 3. “Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior,” she wrote in a lengthy written statement on Instagram.

When the A-lister moved on from Glee, she dipped her toes in Scream Queens, another series created by Ryan, for two seasons as sorority sister Hester Ulrich/Chanel No. 6. 

“I knew, and Ryan knew, we all knew, that for me in particular, leaving Glee would be emotionally really hard,” the actress explained. “I think that Ryan definitely wanted to create something for me so that I could jump into something right away to really help that transition.”