Lea Michele has publicly opened up about Cory Monteith for the first time on Ellen.

They say the eyes will always give a great actor away, and the Glee star showed amazing strength and bravery in talking about her loss – But you can see the sadness in her eyes even though she’s laughing about her many happy memories with Monteith.

The interview, which aired on Wednesday, started with Michele reminiscing about Monteith speaking with Ellen about their relationship on the show. “It’s one of my favorite memories,” she said.

“I remember when he came home that night, he kind of puffed out his chest and he was like, ‘I talked about you on Ellen today.’ I was so happy… He’s such a private person, and I literally lived every day of my life feeling like the luckiest girl in the whole world. I just thought he was the greatest man and so at that moment, that memory, it means so much to me,” Michele told Ellen DeGeneres.

Michele, 27, was dating Monteith, 31, when he died in his hotel room in Vancouver on July 13 of a drug overdose. Michele was quick to return to work after the death of her boyfriend, explaining to Ellen that it helped her cope with the loss.

“I’m still trying to figure out all of this. It’s been only a few months, but my mom has experienced a lot of loss in her life and she told me at one point there is an empowerment that comes with grief, at some point you find it.

“It’s very hard but you will find it and I think at a certain point you can choose to sort of fall from this or you can choose to rise.”

Lea Michele released the first single “Cannonball” from her upcoming debut album, due for release on March 4, 2014.