We all know Jerry Seinfeld’s dealbreakers- or at least what they were in the ’90s. Is she a ‘low talker’? He’s not interested. Annoying laugh? No deal. Lord forbid she has so-called ‘man hands.’
What about her age? LESS PICKY THERE.
Jerry had no problem dating a woman less than half his own age for four years in the mid ’90s, which was basically at the height of his fame (‘Seinfeld’ ran from 1989 to 1998). Even his current wife is 17 years his junior.
Now the entire ‘Seinfeld’ series has dropped on Netflix and TikTok just got wise to Jerry’s dating history. It’s not his first controversy and probably not his last, but read on for a complete account of the comedian’s time dating a teen.
She Was 17, He Was 38
The girl in question is Shoshanna Lonstein, now Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss.
Shoshanna met Jerry in Central Park in 1993. Most ‘Seinfeld‘ episodes were watched in about 30 million homes at that time, so Jerry Seinfeld was literally a household name. Dude could have dated anyone!
For reasons unknown, he and Shoshanna hit it off so she gave him her number. She was a 17 year old high school student and he was a 38 year old man nominated for two Emmys and a Golden Globe. What followed was a high profile relationship that eventually involved Shoshanna transferring colleges to be closer to Jerry in LA.
Shoshanna reportedly missed New York and hated paparrazzi, once telling People “I would like my life to be normal and just go about being a student.” She and Jerry broke up when he was 42 and she was 21.
“He worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she later explained in Details magazine. “And I wanted to run around and play.”
(Shoshanna’s doing fine these days, if anyone’s wondering. She went on to launch her own fashion line in 1998 and it took off. Today her pieces are sold in bougie department stores like Niemann Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, and worn by everyone from Mindy Kaling to Meghan Markle.)
Years of Criticism
Press in the ’90s had a love/hate relationship with Jerry and Shoshanna. Here’s what Howard Stern asked Jerry in a 1994 interview:
“So you sit in Central Park and have a candy bar on a string and pull it when the girls come?”
“This is the only girl I ever went out with who was that young,” Jerry responded. “I wasn’t dating her. We just went to a restaurant, and that was it.”
At the time his comment was taken to mean Jerry didn’t officially start ‘dating’ Shoshanna until she turned 18, despite being spotted at dinner with her shortly after their Central Park meet-cute.
That technicality may have held up in ’93 but it doesn’t now. A TikTok with ‘Seventeen Thirty-Eight’ laid over the above photo of Jerry and his teenage ex is gaining more and more traction on the app, and earned about 35,000 likes when shared on Twitter.
“I forget that Seinfeld was moving like R.Kelly smh,” reads one Tweet, with another pointing out “His wiki has both ages bumped up by 1.”
What Jerry Said
Jerry’s opinion about the whole situation can be summed up in one immortal ‘Seinfield’ phrase: “not that there’s anything wrong with that…”
He seems to believe that the relationship they shared may have had a hefty age gap, but love is love so everyone can just calm down.
“I am not an idiot,” he once told 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 claims he couldn’t catch a break because his only non-Shoshanna option was to date several women at once (?):
“When I wasn’t involved with Shoshanna and was seeing several women, then it was awkward,” he continued. “You go out with one girl and the other sees you with her in the paper. That was uncomfortable. Now I’m not doing anything I’m uncomfortable with. My interest in her is very proper.”
He even popped the question, reportedly on Shoshanna’s 21st birthday.
“We were very much in love but the timing wasn’t quite right,” Jerry divulged. “I almost got married to Shoshanna.”
Jerry ended up marrying Jessica Seinfeld in November 1999. She was 28 and he was 45.
He’s Not the First
Jerry is FAR from the first successful comic to have his reputation rattled by an underage girl. To name a few:
Charlie Chaplin caught heat for having two 16 year old brides when he was in his 30s. He was accused of “grooming” one of them from the age of six and the other from the age of 14. He proposed to his final wife when she was 17 and he was 54.
If Woody Allen counts as a comedian, his controversial marriage to Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter definitely fits in the age gap category.
Dane Cook fell from public favor around the time he dated a 19 year old at 46 (and openly kissed girls as young as 14 while on tour).
As one ‘Seinfeld’ fan put it on Twitter, “This really doesn’t get talked about enough…”