The Real Reason Jerry Seinfeld And Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss Broke Up

Before meeting his wife Jessica in 1998, per The New York Times, Jerry Seinfeld was in a controversial relationship with a young woman named Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss. According to People, the "Seinfeld" star met the 17-year-old high school senior in New York City's Central Park in May 1993. "I met this girl, Shoshanna," Seinfeld, who was 21 years older than Gruss, explained to Playboy in a 1993 interview (via CheatSheet). "She's a very sweet girl and she's very pretty. I didn't know how old she was — I knew she wasn't 40." He added, "I took her to a basketball game and that was the whole thing." 

At the time, many questioned his relationship with the teenager, including Howard Stern, who unapologetically asked Seinfeld, "So you sit in Central Park and have a candy bar on a string and pull it when the girls come?" The stand-up comic defended his intentions, responding, "I didn't realize she was so young. This is the only girl I ever went out with who was that young. I wasn't dating her. We just went to a restaurant, and that was it."

There was clearly more in the works, however, as a relationship eventually unfolded. Here are the details surrounding Gruss and Seinfeld's romance, breakup, and why their age gap didn't matter to the comedian.

Jerry Seinfeld and Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss dated for four years

Jerry Seinfeld and Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss claimed they were "just friends" in the beginning of their relationship and only went public when she turned 18, as per BuzzFeed. Despite this careful announcement, the couple faced a lot of scrutiny because of their significant age difference. But the "Seinfeld" actor often defended their romance. "I am not an idiot," he said, according to People. "Shoshanna is a person, not an age. She is extremely bright. She's funny, sharp, very alert. We just get along. You can hear the click." 

He also told Playboy (via CheatSheet), "I don't meet that many women I like, period. So when I like someone, I don't care about her race, creed or national origin. If I like her, I don't care. I don't discriminate. If she's 18, if she's intelligent, that's fine."

The couple dated for almost four years, from 1993 to 1997, before calling it quits.

Shoshannah Lonstein Gruss felt isolated in her relationship

After news broke of Jerry Seinfeld and Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss' split in 1997, sources told the New York Post (via E! News) that the separation was "totally platonic" and that "there was no nasty scene." The insider added, "They both just knew it was time for a break." Gruss had enrolled at UCLA as Seinfeld worked in Los Angeles, but she told Details magazine (via AP) that his busy work schedule was the opposite of her lifestyle at the time. "I wanted to run around and play," she explained.

The move from New York City to Los Angeles also wasn't as appealing for the young student at the time. Reflecting on the end of her romance with Seinfeld, Gruss said, "I'm happy I got to have the relationship, but L.A. was a really lonely existence for me."

She headed home and went on to find her own way into the spotlight without being scrutinized in tabloids. Instead, she took another industry by storm and whenever she was tied to her Seinfeld-dating days, she brushed it off. Gruss simply told Observer, "That's a part of my life that's so over. I really don't think about it. It was a relationship, that's all." Moving on and up, Gruss quickly found a calling close to her heart.

What is Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss up to today?

Since her relationship with Jerry Seinfeld, Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss has made a dazzling name for herself as a successful fashion designer. Her debut eponymous collection hit stores in 1998 with her desire to create clothes with more inclusivity — a novel concept at the time. By 2001, the launch of her swimwear line made its mark on the industry. "Most people were offering four sizes of swimsuits," Shoshanna explained to Crain's New York Business when named one of its 40 Under 40 Class of 2008. "We offer 12, and we sell tops and bottoms separately," she added. Running a brand for over 20 years and working with luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, Shoshanna is proud of evolving her work with time and even launched sustainable swimwear in 2019

As for her love life, Shoshanna married music label executive Joshua Gruss in 2003. The couple welcomed a daughter named Sienna in 2005 and twins Joseph and Angelica in 2012. Shoshanna and Joseph called it quits in 2014, however, telling Page Six that the decision was "amicable and sad." They also shared that they planned to co-parent their children.

In 2021, Shoshanna announced that she was writing a memoir titled "The Fabric of My Life." The book will cover her experiences with family, fashion, and entrepreneurial pursuits. Taking a look at her Instagram, all of these subjects hold clear importance as she frequently shares new pieces from the Shoshanna collection and posts photos with her children.