Julia Louis-Dreyfus was “deeply terrified” by her 2017 breast cancer diagnosis.
The 62-year-old ‘Veep’ actress admitted she was shocked to discover she had cancer and her immediate reaction was to laugh before becoming wildly hysterical.
In conversation with journalist David Remnick at the 2023 New Yorker Festival, she said: “I started laughing. Well, because the night before, I had won an Emmy. And so, I came downstairs and … the Emmy was there. It was like on the dining room table. I’m coming down to get coffee. My cell phone rings, and it’s my doctor saying, ‘Guess what, you have cancer’.
“And I’m like, ‘Huh? What?’ And so, it was a very bizarre juxtaposition. And, of course, I did laugh, and then I became hysterical, crying, because I was terrified, as most people are, or as all people are if they get a diagnosis like that.”
And, while Julia had a supportive family around her, it did not stop her being terrified of what lay ahead.
She said: “I have a very strong and supportive family, and for which I am eternally grateful, upon whom I relied — sisters, husband, my sons, my mother, my mothers, my stepmother, everybody.
“I was deeply terrified because who wouldn’t be? I mean, all the tropes are true. You know, you get that call and it’s like, ‘What, me? No, no, no.’ I mean, you can’t imagine that something like that would happen to you.”
Julia announced she was cancer-free in October 2018 following a double mastectomy and six rounds of chemotherapy and says her illness has given her a new perspective on life.
She said: “I’m just so happy to be here, you know. I think I’m enjoying things more. I think I work hard now to try not to allow my stress to enter my body if I can do it. That’s a difficult nut to crack, you know, for sure, because we’re all stressed. But it does have an impact.
“I’m not saying I got cancer from stress, necessarily, but it’s not good for you. And it’s also not a happy place to live in. So, I’m just very focused on … trying to enjoy my life as much as possible.”