Julia Louis-Dreyfus Says 'Veep' Was Her 'Lifesaver' During Cancer Battle (Exclusive)

Zach Seemayer‍

For seven seasons, Veep raised the bar when it came to TV comedies, with a stellar cast and razor-sharp writing. Now that the show has ended, and the cast and crew are taking something of a victory lap during this year's awards season, star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is looking back at her time on the show and the impact it had on her life.

The actress joined her fellow stars at HBO's For Your Consideration event at the Landmark Theaters in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and she spoke with ET's Keltie Knight about how the show helped her with various trials and challenges over the better part of the last decade -- including her high-profile battle with breast cancer.

"I've had a lot of personal challenges, losses, dear ones in my family, my own battle with cancer," Louis-Dreyfus reflected, explaining that she doesn't know how she would have handled it all "had I not had this really close intimate relationship with all of these people."

"We linked arms and we tried to do the most joyful funny thing possible as a team," she shared. "It was like being on a sports team… and that was the most buoying thing, to constantly be coming back to. It really helped me."

Louis-Dreyfus explained that working on Veep allowed her to direct her attention toward creating something great instead of getting lost in her health battle.

"It gave me something to laser focus on during my illness, and I needed to laser focus [on something] beyond my illness, so it was a life saver."

With help from her laser focus, the show managed to pull off something few comedies are able to do: create an amazing final season with a series finale fans and critics loved. And the star says a lot of hard work went into making sure that's how they said goodbye.

"I've been fiercely protective of the quality of the show for eight years, like fiercely, and so I did not want to screw this up from a creative point of view," Louis-Dreyfus said of the acclaimed finale. "The reaction has been very enthusiastic."

"We worked long and hard and went through many iterations of what was it going to be. Really, many. And so I think we landed in the right spot," she added.

The final season has also earned the show nine Emmy nominations this year -- including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and a nomination for Louis-Dreyfus for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

If she walks away with the award, she'll be the most decorated actress in Emmy's history. However, Louis-Dreyfus said that, while she'd be excited, she feels like she's "already won."

"Making Veep has been and is a win. It has been a huge win in my life," she shared. "The trophies are fabulous, don't get me wrong, it's wonderful to win those. But the real win is in the work, and we've worked our asses off on this show and we've had a grand time doing it."

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 22 on Fox.

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