Julia Louis Dreyfus: Paparazzi tried to photograph me ill, but I posted my own photos

The New Yorker has an incredible interview with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I love Julia,but I didn’t know that much about her. This interview filled in so many blanks, and it made me like her even more. It starts a few weeks before she received the Mark Twain Award for Comedy and finishes a few weeks after. She talks about her childhood, her career, why she was miserable at SNL, and her marriage to Brad Hall. But the whole interview is framed around her cancer battle and chemotherapy treatments which were far worse than Julia ever let on. She described how brutal they got, the toll it took on her physically and how she is just now regaining her strength. But even so, she was determined to control the narrative in the press. When the paparazzi wanted to get a photo of her looking frail, she outsmarted them by posting her own images and taking that power away from them.

Louis-Dreyfus is active on social media, posting her (liberal-Hollywood) support for candidates and causes: Sally Yates, Stacey Abrams, her fellow Holton-Arms alumna Christine Blasey Ford. She also used it to keep her fans up to date on her cancer treatments. “There were people with long lenses trying to get pictures of me looking ill, and I think I kind of burst the bubble on a lot of it because of my social-media presence,” Louis-Dreyfus said, with satisfaction.

I asked if she had ever succumbed to fear or self-pity during her illness. She thought for a minute and then replied, “ ‘Am I gonna be dead tomorrow’ kind of thing? I didn’t let myself go there.” She paused. “Don’t misunderstand: I was to-my-bones terrified. But I didn’t let myself—except for a couple of moments—go to a really dark place. I didn’t allow it.”

(VEEP showrunner, David) Mandel, who has known Louis-Dreyfus for some thirty years, described his own reaction when he heard that she had cancer: “I had the sense of the walls closing in on me, and I was racked with guilt and other weird Jewishness, and I was a goddam wreck. She seemed great. Then we watched her go through the chemo and you could see its effects on her. She got thinner and thinner. We couldn’t hug her, because we were afraid to get her sick. It was the first time that—all of a sudden—she looked her age and seemed human and vulnerable.”

[From The New Yorker]

Julia said she would have a big group of friends/co-stars come to her to her chemo appointments and they would all make each other laugh, reinforcing the old cliché that laughter is the best medicine. It was so important to have those people there for her, that Julia began crying in the interview when she spoke about it. She comes across as such a genuine person. I am so happy she’s getting healthier every day and that she is willing to share her experience, even as harrowing as it was.

Julia mentioned that her sister Emma died at the age of 44 this last August. So in the last two years she lost her father, was treated for breast cancer and lost her sister to a fatal seizure. Apparently, because cocaine and alcohol were found in Emma’s system, the press tried to sensationalize her death. And, because Julia chose to grieve the matter privately, the press ran stories about the two being estranged. This poor woman. I’m so glad she has such a good support network with her family and co-workers. Of course, she has that network because she is such a good friend and partner.

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Photo credit: Instagram and WENN Photos

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15 Responses to “Julia Louis Dreyfus: Paparazzi tried to photograph me ill, but I posted my own photos”

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  1. Kitty says:

    So glad she’s feeling better…so sorry she had to deal with so much over the past few years and I’m sure the paparazzi didn’t help, what a shame.

  2. Betsy says:

    First, to all the writers here, thank you: this is pretty much my lone celebrity gossip outpost and I am grateful that you aren’t the bottom feeders who would publish pics of celebrities at their genuine lowest moments. Famous or not people are entitled to privacy and a small part of me aches that people get their privacy invaded.

    Secondly, I kind of wondered how she was doing during her treatments. I know there are about a million different cancers and ways they need to be treated and sometimes these days the treatment is tolerable and sometimes it is not and I wondered about her well being since I’ve “known” her since Day by Day. I’m glad she’s on the mend.

    • bears says:

      I agree with you. This is the only celebrity gossip site that I frequent. I appreciate that they seem like decent people with some compassion. I may be interested in celebrities that I’m a fan of, but I don’t want to feel like I’m violating them in some way. I envy them their careers sometimes and their wealth usually but never, ever their fame. What an awful way to have to live – constantly stalked by so many people, to the point where you have to arrange your life around it.

    • Close to a nervous breakdown says:

      This is the only celebrity website I also access. The writers here have a nice sense of humor, show compassion, are entertaining without humiliating or violating anyone.

  3. Rocky says:

    I’m so glad she is doing better. I was watching an old episode of Seinfeld last night and was struck by how brilliant she was in it. I’d never appreciated that before

  4. Lightpurple says:

    She is so awesome and so gifted. So glad she has made it through. Onward, Julia!

    • StartupSpouse says:

      I love this woman to the moon and back even though I’ve never met her. She just seems so genuine.

  5. Esmom says:

    Julia is a national treasure. I’m glad she’s healthy now. I had no idea about her sister and her father, what a horrible time she’s had. She shows so much grace and humility, always, and I love that.

  6. Lisa says:

    Love her. That is all.

  7. Jerusha says:

    I adore Julia. So sorry she had to go through what she did, so happy she came through it successfully. She’s one of the ones you never hear anything bad about.

  8. Mellie says:

    One of my absolute favorites, what a terrible time she’s had, I’m happy she’s on the upswing!

  9. smcollins says:

    Of course Julia was going to let cancer know who’s boss, the woman is a pillar of strength & perseverance (not that all cancer survivors aren’t, but you know what I mean). I can’t imagine dealing with all that she’s had to over the past couple of years but I’m so happy for her that she’s regaining her health and coming out on the other side of all the hardships.

  10. FHMom says:

    I love her and wish her all the best. I’m glad she shared her journey with cancer because it’s inspirational. Shame on the press for trying to take advantage of an ill person.

  11. anniefannie says:

    I can so relate to her show runner/friends comments. I have a dear friend who’s losing her battle w/breast cancer. She’s the picture of humor and grace while coping w/ debilitating health issues, I’m a frantic, neurotic and miserable mess.

  12. AnneC says:

    She lives in Santa Barbara partime (my hometown) and she always looks wonderful. I butted in line in front of her (by mistake) at the farmers market last year and I felt so bad I wanted to hug her and say we’re all rooting for you, girl. Hope she’s completely on the mend.

    Watched a interesting documentary a couple years ago at the SB Film festival about her father and his extensive art collection and how he decided to donate it to a Harlem children’s educational group. It’s directed by Brad Hall and called Generosity of Eye.