Ray Romano: I Miss Raymond

03/27/2006 at 05:25 PM EST

Ray Romano: I Miss Raymond
JACQUI WONG/LFI
Ray Romano, who is reprising his role as a wooly mammoth for Ice Age: The Meltdown, says he had a bit of meltdown of his own after ending the nine-year run of Everybody Loves Raymond.

"It's weird. It was hard. It's hard," he said of his post Raymond career. "All of a sudden I had all this free time and I was excited, but then after about three or four months it's like you lost a family member…There's a sense of loss."

Moreover, Romano, at 48, says he wasn't prepared for the mourning period. Fortunately, he says, others were. "My therapist – I'm not kidding – I go see this guy when the show was ending, and I was stupid and happy, and he goes, 'Do you want to start coming twice a week?' I said, 'Well, what do you mean? What do you see that I don't see?' But he was right."

After the show ended, he says, "all of the people that you worked with go away." But he still spends time with his former TV family, including Brad Garrett with whom he did a standup comedy tour. He's also scheduled to appear at a charity benefit with Patricia Heaton and Doris Roberts next month.

Not that he didn't also find an upside to saying farewell to the series. For example, he now has more time for his family. "I found out that they're mine," quips Romano of his four kids: Alexandra, 15; twins Matthew and Gregory, 13; and Joseph Raymond, 8.

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