EW spoke with Cory Monteith many times in the four years since he burst onto the scene in ''Glee'''s pilot episode and along the way, he talked us through the highs and lows of his journey from taxi driver to small-screen superstar

By Nuzhat Naoreen
July 19, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Monteith grew up in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Being an actor ”never occurred to me,” he told EW in 2009. Monteith publicly admitted he was an ”out-of-control” teen, and he entered rehab at age 19.

Early 2000s
”I was working as a roofer and a taxi driver. I needed a career. I met this [acting] teacher…. He told me, ‘You could do this, you have potential,”’ he recalled in that 2009 interview. ”It’s officially the first thing I’ve ever been good at.”

”My first job was a one-liner on Stargate: Atlantis. I just walked into a room and was like, ‘Commander, so-and-so wants to see you.’ Then I walked out,” Monteith said. But his breakout came with a recurring role on ABC Family’s Kyle XY.

After submitting two video auditions — one featuring an impromptu drum solo played on Tupperware and empty wineglasses — Monteith landed the gig on Ryan Murphy‘s ambitious musical drama. ”I love…the work,” he said later that year. ”I just wanna get back to the set.”

Spring 2009 The Glee pilot previewed May 19, propelling ”Don’t Stop Believin”’ to the top of the iTunes charts and turning the cast into celebrities. ”My life has changed, but really my life hasn’t changed,” he said in fall 2009. ”We’re all doing the same things. It’s just people [are] recognizing us while we’re doing it.”

”I would love with a capital L to start doing movies. That’s ultimately where I want this all to go,” he said in 2010. He got his wish, nabbing his first major big-screen role in Monte Carlo, a teen rom-com starring Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, and Katie Cassidy.

Monteith and Lea Michele went public with their relationship in early 2012, around the time Finn proposed to Rachel. ”That moment [was] very powerful for us,” he said in 2012. ”After [the director] said, ‘Cut,’ we both were getting, like, hot flashes.”

Still going strong with Michele, Monteith revealed on March 31 that he was once again checking into a treatment facility for substance abuse. After completing the program, he tweeted, ”sending out big love to everyone. thank you for the continued support!”