Heather Morris 'Sincerely' Apologizes for Defending Her Late 'Glee' Costar Mark Salling

"Whether you, a friend [or] a family member has been a victim of pedophilia, I realize my words may have been insensitive," Heather Morris tweeted Monday

Heather Morris; Mark Salling
Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Mike Windle/Getty Images

Heather Morris is offering her apologies after calling criticism of her late Glee costar, Mark Salling, "offensive."

On Monday night, the actress, singer and dancer — who played cheerleader Brittany S. Pierce during the musical dramedy series' six-season run — addressed her followers on Twitter, explaining that she was sorry "to all those who felt triggered" by tweets she previously shared in defense of Salling.

"To all those who felt triggered by my message, I want to sincerely apologize for the harm I caused," she began her message. "Whether you, a friend [or] a family member has been a victim of pedophilia, I realize my words may have been insensitive to your experience and for that I can't express enough how sorry I am."

In a series of since-deleted tweets posted late last week, Morris, 33, initially showed support for Salling — who died by suicide at the age of 35 in 2018, weeks before he was set to be sentenced to prison for possession of child pornography — after someone posted a photo of the cast with a vomit emoji over Salling's face.

"The vomit face on Marks face is offensive," she wrote of the photo celebrating 10 years since the show's holiday episode "A Very Glee Christmas," which was retweeted by their co-star Kevin McHale.

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Chris Colfer, Matthew Morrison, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Dianna Agron, Mark Salling, Naya Rivera, Heather Morris, Amber Riley, Kevin McHale
Cast of Glee. Adam Rose/© Fox Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

After she received backlash about the tweet, Morris followed up in part with, "I don't feel the need to ever justify something because somethings are better left unsaid. Y'all who have lots of things to say, I get it, I UNDERSTAND you … some things are unforgivable."

"But this holiday season, amongst ALL holiday seasons is INCREDIBLE [sic] hard for so many of us," she continued.

"We did not loose [sic] just 2 cast members, we lost 3," Morris said, referring to Salling as well as the late Cory Monteith and Naya Rivera. "And it is SO incredible [sic] tough to have to act like that 3rd one is invisible, because even though his actions are unjustifiable, he was a part of our family at one point and he was mentally SICK. Yes pedophelia [sic] is a sickness but ... "

"Although I don't want to have to say all that, its truthful. So THANK YOU for treated me with such disrespect and unkindness during a time that I can't get through a day without balling [sic] my eyes out at the loss of my entire Glee family ... thank you," she concluded.

Mark Salling. Jason Kempin/Getty

RELATED VIDEO: Mark Salling Dead in Apparent Suicide a Month Before His Sentencing in Child-Porn Case

Salling pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor in October 2017, two years after he was arrested in December 2015.

LAPD's Internet Crimes Against Children unit obtained a search warrant for his home that year, and federal investigators said they found more than 25,000 images and 600 videos depicting child pornography on computers and thumb drives that belonged to the actor, who played Noah "Puck" Puckerman on Glee.

The content depicted children as young as 3 years old being abused, according to court documents, PEOPLE previously reported.

Salling struck a plea deal in December 2017 and was expected to be sentenced to four to seven years in prison. The case was dismissed after his January 2018 death.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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