Julia Louis-Dreyfus Recalls Suffering 'Real Grief' After the End of 'Seinfeld'

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Louis-Dreyfus memorably played Elaine Benes for nine seasons on the iconic sitcom.

There was so much to celebrate after Seinfeld aired its final episode 25 years ago this month. The show and its lovable characters had not only become household names after nine glorious seasons on NBC, the show and its star-studded cast forever etched their names in pop culture lore and is now considered one of the greatest shows in television history.

But there was also a sense of grief, and it was a feeling Julia Louis-Dreyfus says washed over her when the show aired the series finale in May 1998, drawing a whopping 76 million viewers. In the latest People cover story, Louis-Dreyfus recalled her emotions after the hit show that launched her career came to an end.

"There was a real grief period when the show ended that was real and felt," she tells the outlet. "Because we all loved each other so much."

Louis-Dreyfus memorably portrayed Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld's ex-girlfriend-turned-best-friend on the show. Jason Alexander (George Costanza) and Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer) rounded out the cast. The show -- created by Seinfeld and Larry David -- premiered in 1989, and it struggled to gain traction amid its lineup shuffling. There were also more than several instances when network executives came close to pulling the plug on the show.

But when Seinfeld finally found its audience, the show -- and the network -- never looked back. The show's success spilled over to all those involved, including Louis-Dreyfus, who earned her first Emmy for her portrayal of Benes.


"I do very much remember wanting and thinking that I needed to keep working," she tells People. "I wanted to keep working. I wanted to keep doing this thing called acting. I wanted to keep pursuing it, which I've been able to do, which is great."

Louis-Dreyfus would go on to star on The New Adventures of Old Christine and, of course, the HBO hit show, Veep. She has snagged multiple Emmy and SAG awards, as well as a Golden Globe. But it started with Seinfeld, and the man himself previously told ET that, without Louis-Dreyfus, the show wouldn't have worked.

"I always felt like she was the diamond, she was the sparkle of the show that really made it the right chemistry -- the right formula," he told ET in 2018. "You know, I really don't think the show would have been successful without her."

In that same interview, Seinfeld revealed his favorite on-set moment with Louis-Dreyfus. 

"I think it was the Festivus scene," Seinfeld told ET, referring to the made-up holiday popularized by the show and meant to be an alternative to the Christmas season. "Yeah, that big table and we were all exhausted and it was Yom Kippur and I was fasting and we were just, we were a wreck, you know, and we're trying to do this scene, we were just laughing. Her makeup was running."

"I just remember we could be a total mess -- we were a total mess a lot of the times," he continued. "The parking garage, a total mess up until, like, five in the morning shooting."