The Truth About Lea Michele's Relationship With Co-Star Jonathan Groff

For many, Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff will forever be associated with their on-screen romance as Rachel Berry and Jesse St. James on "Glee." Of course, like many relationships on the show, it had its ups and downs. But by the end of "Glee," Rachel and Jesse were married and the chemistry shared between the two actors was palpable to say the least — and for a good reason.

In 2006, Michele and Groff co-starred in the broadway show "Spring Awakening." Based on the 1891 German play of the same name, the duo again played a couple — this time Wendla and Melchior — as they discovered their sexuality for the first time (via Town & Country). Having recently reunited with their "Spring Awakening" cast in November 2021 (via Playbill), Michele and Groff have been reminiscing about their now 16-year-long friendship and how they'd be lost without one another. "He's my best friend in the entire world — in fact, it's fair to say that I didn't understand the concept until I met him," Michele wrote in her autobiography (via the Daily Mail). "He's been through more ups and downs with me than anyone else. He's like a brother, and I love him like crazy."

With all that love in mind, here's the truth about Lea Michele's relationship with Jonathan Groff.

Lea Michele feels that she and Jonathan Groff were meant to be in each other's lives

Michele and Groff hit it off almost immediately after auditioning for their respective roles in "Spring Awakening" (via Teen Vogue). It was not just because of what their roles entailed, but the instant connection they felt between them. So much so that if they hadn't met in the way they did, Michele is confident they would have crossed paths. "It just so happened that we met to do this show, but I feel like we would've met some way or another in life because we were meant to be in each other's lives," Michele told People. "I felt so much safer with him every night [in the play] ... and I couldn't have done it if it wasn't for Jonathan."

The more Michele and Groff played their roles in "Spring Awakening," the more Michele's feelings developed towards her co-star. As Groff said in HBO's documentary following the 2021 reunion of the play (via People), "Lea and I were given this material where we had to fall in love."

Lea Michele had a major crush on Jonathan Groff during their Spring Awakening days

Groff had yet to come out as gay at that point in time. "Coming from a religious background surrounded by the Amish, I felt ... ashamed of who I was," he said in the HBO documentary (via People). "I guess I was also afraid that if people knew who I was, they wouldn't find what I was doing believable." Michele was one of the first to realize what Groff was going through after feeling confused about why he wouldn't reciprocate the feelings she had for him.

Once Michele confronted Groff about why he didn't love her, she knew. "I just saw this look in his eyes ... I realized in that moment, 'This is the end.' And I need to protect this. This is intense." After that, the actress didn't bring up her co-star's sexuality again. "I think he felt safe with me because he knew that I knew and that we could be best friends, and our relationship just grew and grew to the point that we would do the show and then we would go home together," Michele explained. "That's why Jonathan and I became so close. We were so intertwined."

Lea Michele gave Jonathan Groff a lesson in female anatomy

When interviewing Michele for a Teen Vogue cover story in 2014, Groff revealed how he and his best friend had shared "some pretty unique experiences" since they met. None more unique than Michele's recent revelation in the HBO documentary that she once showed Groff her vagina (via Page Six). "I can confirm that," he said in response.

Michele explained how Groff once told her he'd never seen a vagina before and whether she'd be comfortable showing him. "And I was like, 'Sure.' And I took a desk lamp ... and showed him. That's how close we are," she said, noting that Groff hasn't done the same for her. "I've never seen Jonathan naked. I've never seen his penis," Michele clarified.

Speaking to People, Michele said she was appreciative of how much they trusted each other off-stage. "I'm so grateful that we connected in the way that we did so that we were then able to go on the stage and then have that level of trust," she explained.

Jonathan Groff dropped everything to support Lea Michele following the death of Cory Montieth

Since meeting in 2006, Groff has been there for Michele in the happiest — and darkest — moments of her life. When Michele's boyfriend and "Glee" co-star Cory Montieth passed away in 2013 (via Us Weekly), Groff reportedly stopped production on a film he was working on to support her (via Hollywood Life).

A year later, Michele opened up about Montieth's death during her interview with Groff for Teen Vogue. "I somehow feel the insane love Cory and I had for each other morphed into this strength that I have right now," the actress said. "There's just something about knowing he's watching everything I'm doing and feeling like I have to do everything now not just for me but for him." She also expressed her gratitude for the support system she had at the time, including Groff. "I also have a safety net below me — if I fall or if it's too much, my friends and family will be there to catch me."

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Michele expanded upon Groff's support further. "He picked me up during the hardest moments of my life, through grief and loss, and has been there to celebrate and enjoy the beautiful times too."

Lea Michele offered to be Jonathan Groff's surrogate

One such moment was Michele's wedding to Zandy Reich in 2019 (via the Daily Mail). The couple first started dating in 2017, and a year later, they were engaged. In Napa, California, they tied the knot where Groff stood as Michele's "man of honor" (via Vanity Fair). A few years later, Groff became an honorary uncle to Michele and Reich's son Ever, who they welcomed into the world in August 2020.

As has been the case throughout their friendship, Michele has shared dozens of photos of Groff undertaking uncle duties, and it seems that while Groff doesn't have the best track record with children — he's a little too enthusiastic, which "freaks them out" — his role as King George III in "Hamilton" already has Ever in his good books. "My one in with him is that he likes 'You'll Be Back' from Hamilton," the actor told People.

When asked whether he had baby fever during the same interview, Michele offered to be his surrogate when the time came. "I love being pregnant, it's so much fun," Michelle said, to which Groff responded, "Good to know."