Julia Louis-Dreyfus opens up about her sister's 'out of the blue' death and her tough year

Julia Louis-Dreyfus attends HBO’s post-Emmy Awards reception in September 2017 in L.A. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus attends HBO’s post-Emmy Awards reception in September 2017 in L.A. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

In August, Julia Louis-Dreyfus had just gone back to work on her beloved HBO comedy, Veep, after undergoing treatment for breast cancer, when she found out that her younger sister, Emma, had died. The 44-year-old suffered a seizure during a camping trip in the Sierra Nevada.

“It was out of the blue,” the former Seinfeld star said while speaking about the death for the first time in a new interview with the New Yorker.

Local officials found alcohol and cocaine in Emma’s system at the time of her death, and the new profile notes that, a day before Louis-Dreyfus spoke to the magazine, a British publication published a story saying the sisters must not be close, since Julia had not commented about it publicly.

“Given the fact that that heinous s*** came out, I would simply say I’ve kept this under wraps out of reverence for my dearest Emma,” Louis-Dreyfus said. She added, “It’s been a very bad period of time.”

In addition to the loss of her sister, the eight-time Emmy winner also endured treatment for breast cancer in 2018. She was diagnosed with the disease on Sept. 18, 2017 — one day after picking up her latest trophy for portraying Selina Meyer at TV’s most prestigious awards show. She brought home the same prize in 2016, when she called out another loved one she’d lost, her father, in her heartfelt acceptance speech. William Louis-Dreyfus died on Sept. 16, 2016, at 84.

“You know if you get on a horse and you have really tight reins and the horse is galloping?” Louis-Dreyfus said of dealing with the hard times. “I felt like I had really tight reins on myself. That’s what it felt like: I was just holding on tight.”

Louis-Dreyfus then rolled her eyes and added, “I’ve had a really rough year, blah, blah, blah — you know, we’re getting through it.”

Finally, the actress acknowledged it: “I had a rough couple of years, actually.”

Louis-Dreyfus admitted that she was “to-my-bones terrified” at times during the cancer, but she never let it go too far.

“I didn’t let myself — except for a couple of moments — go to a really dark place. I didn’t allow it,” she said.

Since returning to her show, Louis-Dreyfus noted that she’s felt changed.

“I have a different kind of view of my life now, having seen that edge — that we’re all going to see at some point, and which, really, as a mortal person you don’t allow yourself to consider, ever. And why would you? What are you going to do with it?”

She said, “I was a little more breezy before. I was a little… breezy.”

Still, Louis Dreyfus has managed to keep her sense of humor, as she demonstrated repeatedly over the last few months.

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