The Glee actor’s body was found at the lake in California five days after she went missing.
Authorities had been searching the area since 8 July when the 33-year-old rented a pontoon boat with her four-year-old son. The boy told police she pushed him back into the boat before disappearing beneath the surface.
In his first comments on the subject since Rivera’s death, rapper Big Sean shared an Instagram post describing Rivera as a “hero” for saving her son and making people “feel confident in themselves and to stand tall and be proud”.
He added: “I appreciate and cherish everything that ever happened between us for making me wiser and a better person. I’m still grieving and in shock, I can’t believe this is real.”
Big Sean and Rivera began dating in 2013 after meeting on Twitter. Rivera told Access Hollywood at the time: “I had followed him, and he sent me a little message like, ‘I’m a fan.’ We went to dinner and the rest is history.”
The couple collaborated on Rivera’s 2013 debut single “Sorry” and became engaged that same year, before breaking up in April 2014.
Rivera went on to marry Ryan Dorsey later that year. Before their divorce in 2018 the pair had a son together, the same child who was found on the boat on 8 July.
Big Sean, meanwhile, had relationships with Ariana Grande and Jhené Aiko and, shortly after splitting from Rivera, released a track called “I Don’t F*** With You”, which featured lyrics including: “Everyday I wake up celebratin’ s***, why? Cause I just dodged a bullet from a crazy b****.”
The rapper later told Complex that his break-up with Rivera inspired these lyrics but claimed they “did not come from a bitter place at all”.