The couple tied the knot at the Friars Club in Manhattan, and were married by Tom Fontana, a writer and producer whose credits include HBO's Oz and who is also a minister of the American Fellowship Church.
"He was a person who was warm and loving and real," Essman, 53, told The Times about Harder, 51. The pair met in New York over Thanksgiving weekend 2003. Essman, who plays the abrasive Susie Greene on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, said that Harder had never seen her show.
"He didn’t even have HBO, or cable for that matter, and maybe that was a good thing because if he had ever seen me play Susie Greene, he probably would have run for the hills," she said of her verbally abusive character.
"I just kept noticing her," Harder told the newspaper. "People had told me that she was the funniest person they had ever met, but when I met her, there was a loving and warm side of her that came across almost instantly."
Long-Distance RelationshipThe two maintained a long-distance relationship for two-and-a-half-years before moving in together after buying a house in Albany. Harder has four children from previous relationships – a boy and three girls.
"They were adorable and gorgeous," Essman said of his kids. "I had no idea that one day I would be their stepmother."
She adds, "It’s funny. I never had any interest in getting married or having kids. I was always having fun and enjoying my career, and now here I am, in the middle of this big, wonderful family, and my whole life has turned around."