Julia Louis-Dreyfus 'still a little frightened' of breast cancer despite being in remission

Julia Louis-Dreyfus looks incredible on the cover of Vanity Fair’s awards season special issue — though, as she makes clear in the interview, how someone feels inside and how they look outside can be different things.

While it seems like a lock she’ll be making history at the Emmys this year, as a result of her final season performance in Veep, the actress also opens up about battling breast cancer ahead of that final season. After six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, she’s in remission, but the disease still weighs heavily on her mind.

“I hate to have to think about it,” Louis-Dreyfus, 58, told the magazine. “But I’m very happy to be alive.”

While the interviewer said they talked at length about the highs and lows of her battle (the writer is also a survivor), as well as the procedures, maintenance drugs and side effects she dealt with, the actress didn’t want that included in the story for fear of making what the writer called “too cancer-y.” It was also noted that Louis-Dreyfus “still has work to do on herself,” perhaps referring to surgeries, “but she’s made the decision to do so privately.”
That said, Louis-Dreyfus did share that during her cancer fight, she faced her mortality.

“There is that moment that you have when you’re like, ‘Is this it for me?’ Because you know everybody here in this room is going to come across that moment in their life, but you never think you will,” the Seinfeld alum admitted.

As for whether her outlook on life has changed, “I’m still working it out, to be honest with you,” she said. “I’m glad I got through it, but there’s a part of me that’s still a little frightened, you know?”

Louis-Dreyfus said that returning to Veep after taking an 11-month break for her treatment “was wonderful” because “frankly, it was a distraction from the prior year, which had been so harrowing. To put blinders on and just focus on making the funniest f**king show possible was a great relief.”

Her co-star Tony Hale added that it was like “so much of her mental energy had gone into fighting cancer” that it could then “be redirected” back into work. “What a gift that was.”

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus through the years
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus through the years
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 15 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mary Gross, Julia Louis-Dreyfus during the 'I Am Also The World' skit on March 30, 1985 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 11 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gary Kroeger as Julio Iglesias and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Helen Caldicott during the 'In Praise of Women' skit on January 19, 1985 -- (Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 6 -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus during the 'Saturday Night News' skit on November 19, 1983 -- (Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 5 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mary Gross as Dotty, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as leader, Robin Duke as Candy during 'Cheerleaders' skit on November 12, 1983 (Photo by Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 2 -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Andie MacDowell during the 'Calvin Klein Cream Pies' skit on October 15, 1983 -- (Photo by: Raymond Bonar/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SEINFELD -- Season 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SEINFELD -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus during an interview with guest host Jay Leno on April 19, 1991 -- (Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SEINFELD -- Pictured: (l-r) Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SEINFELD -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander as George Costanza (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SEINFELD -- 'The Movie' Episode 14 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Marie Benes (Photo by Carin Baer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Betty Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
SEINFELD -- Season 5 -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes (Photo by George Lange/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SEINFELD -- 'The Mom and Pop Store' Episode 8 -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes (Photo by J. Delvalle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during 7th Annual Enviromental Media Awards at Will Rogers Park in Pacific Palisades, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during 7th Annual Enviromental Media Awards at Will Rogers Park in Pacific Palisades, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis Dreyfus at the 1997 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during A Bug's Life - Los Angeles Premiere at El Captain Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
THE 50TH ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on September 13, 1998 -- (Photo by: Margaret C. Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
STUDIO CITY, CA - APRIL 3: (NO U.S TABLOID SALES) Actress Julia Louis Dreyfus smiles as she reads a script during the last days of shooting the hit tv show 'Seinfeld' April 3, 1998 in Studio City, California. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during Angle House Cleaning 2000 Democratic Fundraiser Gala at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 7: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and actor David Duchovny attend the Fifth Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 7, 1999 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Julia Louis Dreyfus (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus & husband Brad Hall during 11th Annual Environmental Media Awards at Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during HBO's Band of Brothers Hollywood Premiere at Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California (Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage)
Julia Louis Dreyfus at Earth to America! which airs on TBS Sunday, November 20 at 8 p.m. 10427JS_20027.JPG (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage for Turner Broadcasting System)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by E. Charbonneau/WireImage for The WB Television Network)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 15: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus sarrives to ELLE Magazine's 14th Annual Women In Hollywood at the four seasons hotel on October 15, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 16: Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives for the 59th Emmy Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, U.S., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007. The Emmys are awarded annually by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in television. (Photo by Francis Specker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on September 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Julia Louis-Dreyfus attends the 18th annual Environmental Media awards at the Ebell Theatre on November 12, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- Air Date 11/6/2008 -- Episode 3651 -- Pictured: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus during an interview on November 6, 2008 -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank
�2009 GAMEPIKS PHOTO Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her son Charles sit courtside as they attend the Los Angeles Lakers/New Orleans Hornets NBA game at Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 1, 2009. The Lakers defeated the Hornets 110-99. XYZ (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaks onstage at the 2009 CNN Heroes Awards held at The Kodak Theatre on November 21, 2009 in Hollywood, California. 19284_005_JS_0088.jpg
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 02: Julia Louis-Dreyfus visits 'Late Show with David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on November 2, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: 71st ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 -- (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4440 -- Pictured: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus during an interview on April 8, 2013 -- (Photo by: Stacie McChesney/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA- SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy?? Awards held at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room at the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room at the 68th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (L) kisses her husband Brad Hall during the 68th Emmy Awards show on September 18, 2016 at the Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. / AFP / Valerie MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room at the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
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