The Truth About Jerry And Jessica Seinfeld's Relationship

1998 proved to be quite the year for Jerry Seinfeld. After a decade on the air, his eponymous NBC sitcom wrapped up with a closing episode watched by an astonishing 76.3 million viewers, the fourth highest figure ever for a US TV finale at the time. He returned to the stand-up circuit with a New York City special titled I'm Telling You for the Last Time that would later pick up a Grammy nod. And he was crowned by the Guinness World Records for having the highest annual TV star earnings of all time.

But perhaps Jerry's most significant moment came when he locked eyes with a fashion publicist for Tommy Hilfiger at a Manhattan gym. The funnyman had previously been in long term relationships with Carol Leifer, aka the comedian who inspired the character of Seinfeld's Elaine, PR consultant Stacey Effron and much younger fashion designer Shoshanna Lonstein. However, having celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary in 2019, it's Jessica Sklar who's proven to be the true love of the sardonic star's life.

Yes, the couple may have got together in tabloid-baiting circumstances, but responsible for one of Hollywood's most enduring marriages, they haven't given the press much to write about since. Here's a look at how more than two decades on, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld appear stronger than ever.

Jessica Sklar was a newlywed when she and Jerry Seinfeld first met

Jessica Sklar had only been married for two months when she first caught the attention of Jerry Seinfeld at a Reebok gym in Manhattan's Upper West Side in the summer of 1998. And it's fair to say that her newlywed life hadn't exactly been a bed of roses.

In a candid 2007 piece for The New York Times, Jessica revealed that she and first husband Eric Nederlander were already having major problems before saying 'I do.' Unfortunately, their walk down the aisle didn't appear to help matters and within just a few weeks she'd started moving her belongings from the apartment of her theater producer spouse into her grandmother's.

Jessica, who was actually born Nina, claims that her marriage was "irreparably broken" when she met Jerry while working up a sweat. Despite this, she insists that she still gave the world's highest-paid TV star at the time the cold shoulder when he approached her with a few one-liners. But the comedian, who apparently didn't know that he was chatting up a married woman, eventually managed to charm his way into her affections and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jessica Seinfeld's ex-husband didn't take her alleged adultery lying down

Eric Nederlander is unlikely to have watched much Seinfeld since finding out that his wife of two months had become romantically involved with its leading man. The stage producer, who hails from a notable theatrical dynasty, had reportedly just spent $25,000 on a new wardrobe for his wife on their Italian three-week honeymoon following a lavish wedding ceremony  styled in the manner of a Broadway production  that was paid for by his family.

In a 1998 interview with Page Six later quoted by the New York Post, an understandably irate Nederlander didn't hold back when asked about Jerry Seinfeld's new love: "I was manipulated, misled and completely caught off guard by Jessica's infidelity. Jerry and Jessica have no respect for decent values. They deserve each other. I'm going on with my life." 

As you would expect, Nederlander's mother, Caren wasn't exactly enamored with her daughter-in-law's new relationship either. Speaking to TV Guide — as reported by the New York Post — that same year, the psychologist and marriage counselor compared the fashion publicist to the young woman at the center of the era's biggest political scandal: "Jessica, like Monica Lewinsky, became starstruck."

Did Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld every actually break up?

Having seen the early stages of their relationship plastered all over the tabloids, Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Sklar decided to refrain from any public displays of affection for approximately six months. In fact, they went so quiet that the latter was soon linked with another man.

David Friedman, the entertainment producer for morning TV institution TODAY, had been named as Jessica's new squeeze in the press after the pair were spotted enjoying each other's company on several occasions. However, it appears as though she and Jerry were simply throwing journalists off the scent.

An insider, apparently a friend of the pair, told the New York Post in 1999 that contrary to reports, Jessica and Jerry had very much remained a couple since first getting together: "They just cooled it, publicly, until she and Eric were divorced." And Jessica was soon able to take advantage of officially becoming the ex-Mrs Nederlander.

Jerry Seinfeld proposed in a Manhattan bistro

Jerry Seinfeld was reportedly once just as commitment-phobic as his beloved sitcom character. When asked about her relationship with the comedian by the New York Post, PR consultant Stacey Effron remarked, "In a lot of our conversations about marriage and kids he'd say, 'Ugh, that's for normal people, and I'm not normal.'"

Another ex-girlfriend, Susan McNab, also revealed Jerry's issues in a 2010 interview with Inside Edition: "He was definitely a commitment-phobic when he was with me ... I asked him, 'Just frankly, do you think you and I will ever get married?' and he said 'no.'"

So no doubt that Effron, McNabb, and everyone else who personally knew Jerry were left mightily surprised when news emerged in 1999 that he'd popped the question. The Bee Movie star chose the downtown Manhattan bistro Balthazar for the setting, and luckily for him, Jessica Sklar said yes. And this wasn't the first time that Jerry had shown his romantic side while surrounded by food. He'd first told Jessica he loved her while they were shopping at famous New York Jewish grocery store Zabar's.

They kept their wedding strictly private

There certainly weren't any glossy magazine deals for Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Sklar's big day. No doubt burned by the mixed response to their early courtship, the pair decided to keep both their wedding and their honeymoon strictly private affairs. In fact, they even used a decoy limousine to fool the ever-watching press. 

The guests, who included fellow comedians Larry Miller, Mario Joyner, and best man George Wallace, managed to keep schtum after the event, too. Well, mostly. Joyner told the Daily News — as quoted by the Chicago Tribune — "It was very funny and very beautiful, and they're obviously both very in love."  

We also know that Jerry sported a traditional tux while Jessica donned a spaghetti-strap dress designed by the fashion house she worked for at the time, Tommy Hilfiger, and that a rabbi presided over the ceremony. And those who were lucky enough to get an invite to the exclusive wedding enjoyed a menu which included a crabmeat starter, lamb main course, and white frosted chocolate cake for dessert. 

Jerry Seinfeld took a while to embrace fatherhood

Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld first became parents with the birth of daughter Sascha Seinfeld at the turn of the century, with sons Shepherd Kellan Seinfeld and Julian Kal Seinfeld, arriving in 2003 and 2005, respectively. But it apparently took a while for the comedian to adapt to fatherhood.

In a 2020 chat with Parents, Jessica revealed that while her husband is now "an incredible father," he wasn't exactly a hands-on dad at the beginning: "The nicest way to say this is that he wasn't a natural when our kids were born. He wasn't immediately pushing strollers and carrying babies. He jokes that it took him a good 10 years to warm up. He travels often and usually over weekends, so a lot of the early caretaking, sports and activities were left to me."

Jerry appeared to back up the decade-long warm-up talk when he told Parade in 2010 that he wished the Seinfeld family was even bigger: "If I was younger, I'd have six kids by now. I love it. I love having a family and kids and all the madness. There is no aspect of it I don't like. Even when it's horrible, I love it. I didn't realize how tired of single life I was and how ready I was for married life."

One of Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld's fights inspired a show

Although they appear to have a picture perfect marriage, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld aren't averse to the odd squabble. But proving that even a heated public argument can't stem their creativity, one such fight went on to inspire a TV show.

The pair was in New York's Central Park with a mutual friend when the bickering began. Although said friend believed that leaving them to it was the best course to take, they instead found themselves being asked by the Seinfelds to serve as referee. An awkward situation for sure, but it was one that got things resolved immediately.

"In five minutes, it was over," Jerry recalled to "I said: 'That's what you need in marriage. You need a ref.' ... And Jess said, 'That should be a TV show.'" After pitching the concept to NBC, the network agreed and The Marriage Ref hit the screens in February 2010, only this time around it was random celebrities rather than close friends that played the adjudicator. It's fair to say the show didn't get the response Jerry expected. Time described it as "the most God-awful mishmash of a comedy-variety show" and after flagging ratings, the show was put out of its misery after just two seasons.

Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld are worth nearly $1 billion

According to reports, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld are "only" $50 million away from joining that exclusive ten-figure club. Yes, Inc. reports that the couple have an astonishing $950 million to their name, with the comedian's eponymous sitcom largely responsible. 

Jerry famously earned a whopping $1 million per episode for the ninth season of Seinfeld. And even though it ended way back in 1998, it's still boosting Jerry's coffers. In fact, Netflix recently paid more than $500 million for the rights to screen the NBC classic. Not bad for a "show about nothing," right? Forbes claims that the streaming platform also offered the funnyman a further $20 million for his stand-up special, 23 Hours to Kill, the same amount he made from his last national tour.

And the Seinfelds aren't afraid to splash the cash, either. They live in a Hamptons mansion once owned by legendary singer-songwriter Billy Joel, and also possess a NYC apartment with a view of Central Park. The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee creator has quite the car collection, too, owning a garage apparently filled with dozens of Porsches.

There are two secrets to Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld's marriage

So what's the secret to Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld's marriage of 20+ years, you may ask? Well, according to the former, there are two factors that have come into play, one a shared personality trait and the other a shared location.

In a 2019 interview with Closer Weekly, the sitcom legend was asked about his wife's best quality. And it turns out that she's just as funny as the stand-up himself: "From the day I met her, that was really our connection. We always have fun and we laugh and she's got a great sense of humor. She's very quick and sarcastic and all the qualities that I like. She's very sharp. She catches all the wrongness."

However, when asked about how he's stayed married for more than two decades in a 2020 chat with ET, the Seinfeld star admits he believes that their New York hometown should also take some credit: "I always thought that L.A. was very bad for marriage. I think you need good — four seasons is good marriage weather. When it's sunny and warm all the time, that's not good for long relationships, you know? 'Cause it makes you want to venture out. It makes you want to venture out. It's nice out. In New York, you just want to stay home in the winter."

Jessica Seinfeld believes Jerry is better at marriage

Jerry Seinfeld may have been a renowned commitment-phobe back in the day when his eponymous sitcom dominated the ratings. But according to wife Jessica Seinfeld, the funnyman is now the picture of devotion. In a 2019 interview with People, the philanthropist even claimed that she could learn a thing or two from her husband when it came to their marriage.

Jessica admitted that Jerry's constant traveling for work had sometimes put a strain on things but that he always made sure she didn't feel alone. "He's the most incredible communicator and so he's better at this relationship than I am." The man himself seemed slightly taken aback at this compliment, asking, "Really," before Jessica replied, "Absolutely. Emotional labor."

And just when you thought that Jerry couldn't be better husband material, he then revealed just how much he enjoys spending time with his wife when he is at home: "Every night for us is date night. We just like to hang out and it's not like a big deal for us to go to a restaurant. It's just about being the same room for us. We love being in the same room."

Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld deal with lockdown differently

Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld may be on the same page most of the time. But during the lockdown stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, they have both dealt with things very differently. Indeed, while the latter has leaned further into her charitable endeavors, the former has taken to, erm, yelling.

That's right: frustrated with being stuck at home and without a captive audience, the Seinfeld star has resorted to raising his voice whenever the mood takes him. It's a habit Jessica highlighted on an Instagram photo of her husband captioned, "This man yells instead of talks. He cannot talk in a normal voice. He cannot perform on stage anymore so he just YELLS YELLS YELLS. ALL. DAY." Jerry didn't deny the characterization in an interview with Page Six, adding that he also found the act of yelling "an emotional release."

More admirably, Jessica has been using all the unexpected downtime to work with her charity foundation, as her shouty husband explained. "'She has been working crazy hours with Good+ making sure that people that don't ... you know, a lot of poverty[-stricken] parts of our country are in free-fall right now with money and essential things. Good+ is doing amazing things like getting diapers and medical help and rent and doing these emergency grants. It's impressive stuff that she's doing."