When Cheryl Hines landed the role of Larry David‘s wife in the original Curb Your Enthusiasm special that evolved into the beloved comedy series (which returns for its ninth season on Sunday, Oct. 1) she was an unknown. David wanted it that way on purpose, because the show, especially in its early days, had a mockumentary format and he wanted it to feel as real as possible. Having a recognizable actress play his wife would ruin the illusion. That realism, plus the fact that Hines used her actual first name for the character, made people think that Hines and David were married in real life, a misinterpretation that is still weirdly persistent even 17 years after the series premiered. When you type “Cheryl Hines” into Google, “Is Cheryl Hines really married to Larry David?” still comes up as a top result.
“When I’m going through the security line at the airport, people will be like ‘oh my god, you’re Larry David’s wife!'” Hines tells TV Guide. “I say “Yeah! Okay, can I just get my laptop bag?'” A bit of Cheryl David’s wryness slips into Hines voice as she says this, and she cracks her signature extravagant smile.
At the end of the day, Hines is fine with the confusion, though. And she’s even fine with people pretending she’s married to David even when they know she isn’t.
“People have said, and more than one, ‘I know you’re not really married to Larry David, but I want you to be, and I like to think that you are,” Hines says. “It’s nice. It’s like, alright, you stay in that reality. That’s fine. You’re not hurting anybody.”
The twist? Hines is actually married to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. One of the few real ways that her life is like Curb Your Enthusiasm is that both she and Cheryl David go to a lot of fundraisers and benefits, because that’s the world Hines and her character both live in. Hines will see someone like Ted Danson at an event in real life, and then a week later she’ll go to work on…