Naya Rivera’s father, George Rivera, isn’t bothered by tabloid reports scrutinizing his younger daughter Nickayla’s decision to move in with Naya’s ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, after Naya’s death in order to take care of Naya and Ryan’s 5-year-old son, Josey. ET’s Kevin Frazier sat down with George to talk about his late daughter’s legacy nearly a year after her tragic death last July, and he addressed the speculation.
In September, Ryan shared that Josey asked Nickayla to move in with them and thanked Nickayla for putting her life on hold and sacrificing for the betterment of Josey. A source previously told ET that Nickayla and Ryan are not involved romantically and that she moved in to help care for her nephew and give him the best childhood possible alongside Ryan.
George told ET that he wasn’t bothered in the slightest by tabloid rumors about 27-year-old Nickayla and 37-year-old Ryan because he knew they were doing the best thing for Josey.
“I’m used to paparazzi, not me myself, but I’m used to hearing about the paparazzi,” he explains. “I’m used to hearing about people’s opinions and if you’re going to sit and let any people’s opinions guide any kind of decisions for you, I don’t know if you’ve got the inner strength to either be in the business or do something right, so that didn’t bother me at all because we knew we were doing the right thing, and that’s what we did.”
George said he hasn’t spoken to Ryan but praises him as a father.
“You learn a lot about people and you learn a lot about relationships when you go through something like this and I couldn’t thank Ryan enough for the father he has become,” he says. “I have always had respect for Ryan. I have always thought that he was a stand-up guy and my opinion is … I’m just more proud of him now than I ever would have been through this period.”
George also praised Nickayla, who works as a model, for stepping up for Josey.
“Nickayla is an amazing individual, she has got a lot of love for her sister, very close,” he says. “Again, we talk about pride as a father, really, it’s not about modeling, it’s not about acting … it’s about what type of person you are. That’s what it shows me, what type of person she is — very strong and resilient, right, that’s what you have to be. You have to understand, we have to overcome some things, do the best you can with what you have.”
In September, Nickayla shared on her Instagram Stories that she was not concerned with “the way things look.”
“In the darkest times of my life, the only thing that is important is my friends and family,” she wrote. “Showing up for my nephew, even though I can’t show up for myself. I’m not concerned with the way things look because no one can see each agonizing moment we all endure.”
“What matters most I’ve learned, is to show compassion, not to judge others, and never take a moment of life for granted,” she continued. “I hope you all can do the same.”
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