"For me personally, I've lost two people: Cory and Finn," the "Glee" actress said of her co-star to TV Week Australia.
Michele, 27, opened up about life on the set since the tragic death of her former boyfriend, who played quarterback Finn on the popular series, and the tribute episode which the cast recently completed filming.
"We had a beautiful memorial for Cory in the auditorium and some of the cast members sang and people spoke about him," Michele told the magazine. "It only felt right that we would do the same thing for Finn, so I felt it was very therapeutic."
Asked if she ever considered quitting the show after Montieth's July 13 death of an alcohol and heroin overdose at age 31, Michele replied, "Everyone is asking, 'Is it hard to do this? Is it hard to be back at work?'" Michele said. "But the truth is it's no harder at work than it is in life, so we might as well all be together as a family supporting each other to get through this together."
The tribute episode, titled "The Quarterback," will air Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. on FOX. While never explaining how Finn died, the episode takes place a few weeks after his funeral, with the glee club gathering to say goodbye to their friend in song.
The show will include performances by Naya Rivera singing "If I Die Young," Chord Overstreet and Kevin McHale performing "Fire and Rain," and Michele's Rachel singing the Bob Dylan song, "Make You Feel My Love."
Though she hasn't seen the episode, Michele described it as "perfect," saying "it was something we all needed to do together."
"I really woke up every single day feeling like I was … in some sort of spell or something, that I was lucky enough to have him in my life," Michele told TV Week Australia. "There was no greater man than Cory, so for the time we spent together, I consider myself very lucky."