Strange things about Lea Michele and Zandy Reich
Lea Michele and Zandy Reich have what’s seemingly one of the most private relationships in Hollywood. Is that what happens when you date someone who isn’t famous? Frankly, it’s a breath of fresh air following all the heavy stuff surrounding the death of her boyfriend and Glee co-star Cory Monteith. It would also appear that the businessman has been Michele’s rock during the sprawling allegations of racism and diva behavior from her former castmates. Perhaps he helped her rein in the alleged bad attitude. Who knows?
Nonetheless, Reich and Michele’s relationship seems strong enough to endure the roadblocks, and they’ve certainly got their own quirks. What couple doesn’t? Sadly, we don’t mean that they burst into perfectly harmonized song and professionally choreographed dance routines during emotional moments in their lives. Although, that would be kind of great, especially if Jane Lynch was also there, wouldn’t it?
Alright, Glee jokes aside, let’s discuss how Reich and Michele jumped into their marriage with their own set of rules.
Lea Michele's first love is gone but not forgotten
Lea Michele and her Glee co-star Cory Monteith became an official couple in late 2011, dodging the paps and fielding relationship rumors. By all accounts, it seemed like the actor was Michele’s big love, and it was pretty much love at first sight. She told Elle, “From the minute I met Cory, I was like, This is the most handsome man I’ve ever seen in my whole life.” According to an alleged insider who spoke to People, the couple planned to tie the knot. Monteith was supposed to be Michele’s forever person. Then, tragedy struck.
According to Fox News, Montieth had been to rehab three times in the past and was open about his struggle with addiction. Michele even stood by the star’s side when he entered treatment in 2013, which concluded with a couple’s holiday to Mexico. Later that summer, Montieth tragically succumbed to his disease. CNN reports that he was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room, with a deadly cocktail of heroin and alcohol in his system.
To this day, Michele has never forgotten Monteith, even though she’s moved on. She steadily remembers her former flame on social media around the anniversary of his death every year. In 2019, ahead of the sixth anniversary, the actress showed off her “Finn” tribute tattoo, a nod to Monteith’s Glee character, on Instagram. She also has a tattoo of his Glee football jersey number.
Cory Monteith's love gave Lea Michele her resilience
Lea Michele became the woman she is because of Cory Monteith. When he was still alive, he was the actress’ biggest champion. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Michele revealed that her co-star boyfriend would always tell her she was “going to be a pop star.” He listened to all of her songs and gave her extensive notes, and the drive and self-confidence that he helped foster only transcended his death. In that same cover story, Michele admitted that the “insane love” the pair shared “morphed into this strength that [she has] right now.”
“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 said, adding, “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.”
That drive kept Michele going, which ultimately helped her find lasting love again with Zandy Reich, even if it took years.
Lea Michele had to dip out of the dating pool to find love again
Lea Michele didn’t bounce back right after Cory Monteith’s death. She had to remove herself from the dating pool entirely. It was only then that she was able to fall in love again — but it wasn’t an instant fix. In a 2015 interview with Flare, the Spring Awakening star revealed that she wanted to feel “strong” and “happy” on her own, and didn’t want another person to “fill any holes” left in the wake of her boyfriend’s death. In other words: if she hit it off with Zandy Reich sooner, it may not have lasted.
“I wanted to make sure that I was a whole person again and that no one was coming into my life to put me back together,” she told Flare, adding, “I needed to do that on my own. I worked very, very, very hard and I got back to that place where I was genuinely happy and strong and ready to live again.
The year after Monteith’s death, Michele started dating actor-slash-model Matthew Paetz. According to J-14, they met on the set of Michele’s music video for “On My Way.” They broke up about two years later.
Zandy Reich isn't Lea Michele's usual type
Zandy Reich and Lea Michele are proof that opposites attract. In the past, the Spring Awakening star has been linked strictly to high profile men in the entertainment industry. According to Life & Style, this includes Broadway stars Landon Beard, John Lloyd Young, and Theo Stockman; Glee co-star Cory Monteith; actor-slash-model Matthew Paetz; actor Robert Buckley; and musician Charlie Puth (she only went on a couple of dates with the latter).
Reich is nothing like the men Michele’s dated in the past — at least not on his resume. And he wasn’t a celebrity until Michele started posting about him on Instagram. In a 2016 interview with Penn Athletics, Reich, who was a starting lacrosse captain at the University of Pennsylvania, revealed he was launching his professional career at Goldman Sachs with a two-year contract. At the time he was trying to “live it up” until the bank worked him “very hard,” but Reich didn’t end up staying in the world of finance. He went on to become the head of business as the clothing brand Theory, before launching his own line AYR (All Year Round).
They found each other in the friend zone
Lea Michele and Zandy Reich were meant to be, if only because of the company they kept. According to People, the pair was originally introduced by Michele’s best friend, TV executive Stephanie Levinson. Reich is best friends with Levinson’s husband, and though Michele and the businessman had reportedly been friendly for years, sparks flew at Levinson’s wedding. Can anyone blame them? Weddings are romantic!
In an interview with Insider at Zola’s pop-up store in New York City, Michele revealed that the pair was seated next to each other at Levinson’s wedding. At first, they didn’t talk much because a friend almost immediately asked Reich to switch seats, but Levinson reportedly stepped in to make the love connection. “He moved, and I didn’t see him for a little while,” Michele admitted. “And then my best friend Stephanie kept being like, ‘You should really hang out with Zandy.'”
After that, the pair noticed they were always bumping into each other at social events — a consequence of having best friends who are married. Eventually, they decided to give romance a try. “It really all happened when I least expected it,” Michele told Insider.
Forget parents! Zandy Reich needed Ryan Murphy's approval
For most of us, parental approval is key. It’s a long, difficult road if you choose to marry someone your parents just can’t stand — especially if you’re close to your parents — but this wasn’t the case for Lea Michele. Instead, she sought the approval of Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy, who plucked her out of Broadway and made her a bona fide TV star.
Michele had been dating Reich for a few months when Murphy — who Michele claimed was one of her “greatest friends in the world” and “family” — gave their relationship the okay. In an interview with Giuliana Rancic at the 2017 Emmy Awards (via People), the Scream Queens star admitted that they’d been hanging out with the screenwriter the day before. “When my boyfriend got the seal of approval from Ryan Murphy, that was it,” she said. “Yeah my parents, yeah friends, whatever. But Ryan Murphy, it’s a done deal — it sealed the deal.”
Murphy approved so much that, according to W Magazine, he officiated the pair’s wedding in 2019.
Lea Michele and Zandy Reich had a private proposal
For a couple that are basically a walking Zola advertisement, Zandy Reich and Lea Michele are notoriously private with their relationship. According to Marie Claire, the businessman doesn’t appear to have any active personal social media accounts. Sure, he pops up on Michele’s Instagram account every so often to make happy faces and stand on the beach, but the only Twitter account listed under his name is definitely not legitimate. Maybe he has a finsta to like photos of his wife, but we’ll probably never know, and Michele wouldn’t have it any other way.
According to People, the pair had a “super private proposal.” Though that was a big moment, Michele’s private relationship with Reich actually helps her reset. In a 2017 People interview, the actress admitted that when she’s not on the set, she generally stays at home with her cat, her family, and her boyfriend (at the time, the pair had yet to tie the knot).
“That’s how I reset, and that’s how I center myself,” she admitted, adding, “It’s so important to tune out the noise and the unnecessary, and just focus on the people that you love because they know you better than anyone.”
In that same interview, the star revealed that she tries not to talk about her personal life, but she was so happy with Reich that you could see it all over her face, because she’s basically beaming 24/7. Aw!
Lea Michele 'blacked out' during Zandy Reich's proposal
A proposal should be something that you remember for your entire life — even if it isn’t a grand, romantic gesture. Theoretically, you’re only tying the knot once (until that doesn’t work out, you get divorced, and ultimately find love again). In any event, Lea Michele was so hyped up when Zandy Reich got down on one knee that she barely remembers any of it.
In an interview with People, the Glee star admitted that she was so surprised by Reich’s proposal, which happened when the pair were visiting the Hamptons, that she thought he was joking. “Everyone said, ‘Try to be present because it’ll happen so quickly,’ Which I didn’t listen to at all and blacked out and I barely remember,” she admitted. “We both blacked out and were like, ‘What? Did we say yes? Is this happening?'”
Thankfully, they’ve got a lifetime to make new memories — and they won’t make the same mistake twice. According to E! News, they spent the first month of married life “basically reliving the best moments of their wedding,” and looking through all the photos and videos, reaching out to everyone who attended, and enjoying their honeymoon. They’re not going to forget their second major milestone!
That's not just any old engagement ring
Zandy Reich’s time at Goldman Sachs clearly served him well because Lea Michele’s engagement ring is no ordinary engagement ring. We first saw the giant 4-carat stunner when the Spring Awakening actress posted a photo on Instagram after the proposal. “Yes,” she wrote, punctuated by a diamond ring emoji.
According to The Knot, Michele’s diamond halo ring is a “popular style” with its “rectangular radiant cut,” but Reich made it personal by designing it himself with Leor Yerushalmi and Jewelers of Las Vegas. The Knot also wrote that an engagement ring like Michele’s can probably fetch around $100,000 to $150,000. Though it’s inspired by vintage and antique jewelry, it’s apparently “timeless.” Diamonds are forever, right?
“The radiant cut diamond tends to appeal to a woman with a contemporary sense of style,” jeweler Greg Kwait told The Knot. “The straight edges and cut corners that are the defining characteristics of the shape speak to a modern design sensibility.”
Lea does have a contemporary style that’s always sleek and modern. The giant ring undoubtedly makes a statement on the actress’ petite frame. She owned up to being just 5’2″ — so how big could her fingers actually be? That’s a whole lot of carats for a little lady.
Lea Michele broke these wedding rules
Based on what Lea Michele’s Glee co-stars have said about her in the past, most us probably expected the Spring Awakening star to be an absolute bridezilla. You only have to search as far castmate Samantha Ware’s racism accusations and her public feud with Naya Rivera to know that much. Strangely though, Michele was a low-key, laid back bride — at least that’s what she says. Apparently, she ditched a couple tired old wedding traditions and went with the flow.
The first tradition she ditched was the excruciating search for a gown. There was no major hunt or a Say Yes to the Dress moment. In an interview with PeopleStyle, where she was promoting her Olly Vitamins partnership (did we mention that Michele is a walking piece of #SponCon?), the actress admitted she bought the first dress she tried on. It was the same day as her engagement party, and she wasn’t wasting any time. “I’m a very decisive person so they said I was one of the easiest brides that they have ever dealt with,” she said.
The next tradition that she skipped was the all-female bridal party. According to People, the actress enlisted her BFF Jonathan Groff (above), who starred alongside her in Spring Awakening and 14 episodes of Glee, as maid of honor. She did, however, stick with one tradition. Her registry was on Zola (who paid her God knows what) just like the rest of us.
Their wedding was #SponCon
Lea Michele is a big fan of sponsorships. In fact, it kind of seems like the only thing she’s done in 2020. Her IMDb credits, as of this writing, have dwindled to a TV movie called Same Time, Next Christmas and a live Little Mermaid concert. Can you really fault her though? She gets the big bucks for hawking products. According to Page Six, she made $1 million in 2012 as the face of L’Oréal and allegedly had the audacity to walk out of an interview that was part of the deal. StyleCaster reports that she’s worked with Nike, Candie’s, Chevrolet, Lyft, and Old Navy — and that’s just to name a few.
It’s hard to say whether it was Michele or her businessman partner Zandy Reich who sold their wedding to Zola, but a great way to cut down on the cost of an elaborate ceremony is find a sponsor. You’ve probably seen Michele’s Zola ads, which aired ad nauseum during commercial breaks on certain streaming platforms. Sadly, it doesn’t look like she’s on good terms with the wedding planning platform — and not because she secretly registered at Crate and Barrel.
According to Newsweek, Michele was dropped from her HelloFresh sponsorship in the wake of “race accusations made by her Glee co-star Samantha Marie Ware.” Ware claimed Michele threatened to “s*** in [her] wig.” Zola, who ended their partnership after the wedding, admitted they were also “deeply disappointed.” Yikes.
Lea Michele wants 10 kids with Zandy Reich
Lea Michele wants a huge family with Zandy Reich. In a 2019 interview with Health, the actress admitted that within the next five years, she hoped to “be a mom of, like, 10 kids — if it’s physically possible to pop that many out.” It technically is if you start cranking out multiples, but as of this writing, she’s at least planning to be a mother of one kid. In April 2020, People reported that the star was expecting her first child, and since then, she’s been posting photos of her bump all over Instagram.
Though it seems like Michele conceived only a year or so after her wedding, it wasn’t supposed to be easy. Per her Health interview, the star found out she had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) shortly after Glee wrapped — and she was nearing her 30th birthday. PCOS can cause infertility, but Michele worked really hard to manage her symptoms through diet. “There are way more extreme versions of PCOS that women have a lot of difficulty with — mine is not as intense,” she told Health. “Which is why I haven’t really talked about it, because there are women who have it so much more intense.”
Now, the star is hoping to be a role model for her unborn child. She said as much in her multi-page Instagram apology following her racism accusations. There’s no better time to change than the present.
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