They’re the stars of one of the greatest series to ever hit television.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall played best friends on the girl power fueled Sex and the City, but somewhere along the way, these two actresses lost each other.
By the time the HBO juggernaut came to an end (-ish) in 2004, rumors of rifts between the women had already hit the pages of the press, and despite multiple attempts to silence the whispers and reports, the whole pop culture loving world saw the facade crash and burn in 2018. So, what happened? Let’s dive in…
Sex and the City aired its final episode after six glorious seasons. Apparently a seventh season had been in talks, but Cattrall would later reveal that HBO wasn’t liking salary negotiations. She said on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross:
“I felt after six years it was time for all of us to participate in the financial windfall of Sex and The City. When they didn’t seem keen on that I thought it was time to move on.”
She had reportedly asked for a million an episode. Reports made it seem this was a shot at Sarah Jessica, who for obvious reasons had a helluva paycheck situation going on (she was the show’s star and an executive producer), but Kim has insisted the frustration was at HBO and HBO alone. Still, later reports would allege that production in the series had usually been halted over salary demands, with one of Kim’s friends apparently telling The New York Post:
“There was a disparity between what Sarah got and what the other girls got. Everyone loved Kim’s character, people related to her — and [Kim’s] salary wasn’t showing that.”
Furthermore, the movie reportedly only happened when Kim was given a higher salary she was happy with.
Hey, can’t blame a girl for asking!
While SJP was the star and an EP, we can all agree it was Samantha Jones who stole scene after scene after scene. Carrie Bradshaw will forever be iconic, but Samantha was the fan favorite. When Carrie — sex columnist Carrie — judged her for giving her delivery man a blowjob in Season 5, the entire audience was like HOW DARE YOU, CARRIE??? Of course, Carrie would later realize this was a sore moment in her friendship after remembering how non-judgmental Samantha was when Carrie participated in Big’s extra-marital affair back in Season 3.
Speculation of tensions among the cast ran high the night of the Emmys when nosey eyes noted Kim wasn’t sitting near Sarah Jessica, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis. Kim wasn’t even seen posing for photographs with the girls when they celebrated the show’s latest trophy. Pressed on why, Kim replied:
“‘Are we the best of friends? No. We’re professional actresses. We have our own separate lives.”
Hmm, this one is interesting. On one hand, that’s a very fair statement. Why should Kim feel like she HAS to be BFFs with her costars? And why should she be vilified for wanting time to herself? On the other hand, it’s the show’s last time at the Emmys. It’s a professional event. Why wouldn’t you want to celebrate with your coworkers? Well, here’s a thought: Kim was going through some personal issues at the same time. Not only was her marriage falling apart, her father was experiencing health issues. Probably a good idea to cut her some slack here.
The movie is finally happening, and fans are thrilled! But money and catfight talks won’t die down. Reporters continued to dig for Kim’s motives for speaking out about money, and when The Telegraph visited the film set, Sarah Jessica took up for her, saying
“She mentioned money and no one should vilify her for it. People made a decision that we had vilified her. No one bothered to say [to the rest of us], ‘Are you disappointed by not making the movie?’ Yes. ‘Do you respect and support her choice to not do it?’ Absolutely.’”
So this was SJP’s way of saying the situation is way more nuanced than it would seem.
Tabloids also reported a rumor that Kim was never joined by the other girls at mealtimes. Kristin would later comment on this report by laughing at its falsehood. She also called rumors of clique behavior “ridiculous.”
Honestly, even if there was truth to SJP, Cynthia, and Kristin getting along better, so what? They’re adults. Just like Kim has noted, you don’t have to be BFFs with your coworkers. Based on her previous quote, it would seem Kim enjoyed time to herself anyway. Seems to us like the tabloids really did want to create a drama narrative out of nothing here — at this point anyway…
A piece by Elle spotlights mutual love between the two. Sarah Jessica is quoted as saying:
“I don’t think anybody wants to believe that I love Kim. I adore her. I wouldn’t have done the movie without her. Didn’t and wouldn’t.”
And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, Kim told the magazine that SJP “shines and she allows you to shine as well.” Ah, the good times. Both of these talented actresses are clearly making an effort to support the other one here.
In January, Kim tells The Daily Mail that all the rumors were just too juicy for people to pass up.
“The truth of us being friends and getting along and happily doing our jobs together is nowhere near as newsworthy. I think Sarah is fantastic. She is a born leader and she guides the crew and the cast in such a strong but gentle way. [Parker] and I are sick of this. It’s exhausting talking about it, and a real bore. Next?”
Fast forward to May and there are finally admissions of the ups and downs of set life. Sarah Jessica tells Marie Claire:
“You’re on set, you’re working 90-hour weeks, you’re never home, you’re exhausted. There are times when all of us have been sensitive and sometimes feelings get hurt. But I don’t have any regrets about how I’ve treated people.”
Meanwhile, Kim was saying:
“Nineteen-hour workdays are stressful, whether you’re driving a truck, working in a coal mine or on a set and trying to be your brightest at 4 o’clock in the morning. But there’s a camaraderie that happened through all of that..the chemistry among the four of us is very strong. The press has to put women in these boxes, rather than show them as the movie portrays them: working together and being powerful. Things just have to be explosive for no other reason than for people’s imaginations.”
Even Cynthia had something to say on the topic when she admitted, “It hasn’t always been smooth sailing. But the idea that we’re somehow adversarial is ludicrous.”
Now, when SJP says she holds no regrets over how she’s treated people, is she implying others *should* have regrets? Or is she owning up to some pretty blunt behavior? This one is VERY interesting to us. What do you think she meant?
SJP is clearly exhausted of the rumors at this point, telling Time:
“It was always so heartbreaking to me that there was this narrative about Kim and myself because it just didn’t reflect anything that happened on that set.”
She had also sent Kim a birthday wish on Instagram that year:
“Sending love and the very best for a perfectly marvelous, joyous, healthy and adventure filled birthday year. Your ol’ pal, fellow mischief maker and ‘sister’.”
When asked about THAT, she somehow gave an answer that didn’t seem tired:
“I posted something on Kim’s birthday and people were like, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t know you liked her! What? We were all at liberty to walk away at any time! But nobody asked those questions of shows with men. Isn’t that interesting?”
Parker would later bring up the double standard again in an interview with Howard Stern:
“No one ever said to [the men of The Sopranos], ‘Did you hang out this weekend with each other? Did you give each other Christmas presents?’ These were my sisters, these were people that I grew to love and admire… Was every day perfect? Were people always desperately, hopefully in love with each other? No, but this is a family of people who needed each other, relied upon each other, and loved each other. This sort of narrative, this ongoing catfight, it really upset me for a very long time.”
This is when things take a turn for the ultimate worse.
While working a red carpet event in September, Sarah Jessica drops the bombshell that not only had a third movie really been in the works, it was now completely over. She passionately told Extra:
“It’s over. We’re not doing it. I’m disappointed. We had this beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, joyful, very relatable script and story. It’s not just disappointing that we don’t get to tell the story and have that experience, but more so for that audience that has been so vocal in wanting another movie.”
She never once mentioned Cattrall, but a Daily Mail piece made it clear that “sources” blamed Kim for the demise of the third installment, claiming she’d only show up to film if the studio would support her other projects. Kim ranted against this report on Twitter, saying:
“Woke 2 a @MailOnline [shit] storm! The only ‘DEMAND’ I ever made was that I didn’t want to do a 3rd film….& that was back in 2016.”
Wanting to make sure her side was heard, Kim went all in on damage control with the press. While speaking to Piers Morgan and Daily Mail, she insisted her not wanting to do a third film was only because she wanted to make an “empowered” choice to close that chapter of her life and move on. She also made sure to air some frustrations she had on how Sarah Jessica handled the situation.
“We’ve never been friends. We’ve been colleagues and in some ways it’s a very healthy place to be because then you have a clear line between your professional life and relationship and your personal. The thing that still bothers me is this feeling of being in some way made to be the baddie. I never asked for any money, I never asked for any projects, to be thought of as some kind of diva is absolutely ridiculous. … The inference is from some unknown source, the inference is, is that I am a diva, that I’ve held up production in some way that, ‘oh now we don’t get to make our movie because of you.’ … This is really where I take to task the people from Sex and the City and specifically Sarah Jessica Parker, is that I think she could have been nicer. I really think she could have been nicer. I don’t know what her issue is.”
Oof. Again, Sarah Jessica never once mentioned Kim when she aired her disappointment, so Kim’s decision to specifically call her out always had us scratching our head. Also, it wasn’t just SJP lamenting the film’s demise. Kristin Davis and Willie Garson, who played Stanford Blatch, also aired their grievances on social media.
Speaking of Willie Garson, he probably spilled the most tea of them all! Following Kim’s damage control interview, in which she said everything seemed toxic, Willie tweeted:
“Dear fans, because I’m ‘toxic’, I’m going to negotiate a contract for 6 months, not come to terms, then say I never wanted to do it anyway.”
He even went so far as to reply to a fan who supported Kim’s decision to not do the film. The fan said “Dear Kim Cattrall don’t ever do the movie. If you don’t want to do it then don’t” to which Willie responded “OF COURSE. Not what happened, but OF COURSE.”
Even Evan Handler, who played Charlotte’s imperfect perfect husband #2, was fed up with Kim’s take.
Sarah Jessica appeared on WWHL and told pal Andy Cohen she was “heartbroken” over Kim’s reaction.
“That whole week, you and I spoke about it endlessly, cause I was just, I don’t know… I found it very upsetting. because, you know, that’s not the way I recall our experience so it’s sad.”
Regardless, she hoped this stain on their relationship wouldn’t “eclipse” the full time they had together.
Kim shares the tragic news of her brother’s passing. In an Instagram post, she writes:
“It is with great sadness that myself and my family announce the unexpected passing of our son and brother, Chris Cattrall. At this time we ask for privacy but we want to thank you all on social media for your outpouring of love and support in this trying time.”
SJP commented on the post, “Dearest Kim, my love and condolences to you and yours and Godspeed to your beloved brother. Xx.” Cynthia would also share her condolences via public comment.
When asked by the press why she reached out given the current climate of their relationship, Sarah Jessica responded by basically saying it’s only natural for you to want to reach out to someone you know when they’re in pain.
While Kim publicly responded to Cynthia’s condolences, thanking her for reaching out, she had a very public response to SJP’s comments too. Kim posted the photo seen here with the caption:
“My Mom asked me today “When will that @sarahjessicaparker, that hypocrite, leave you alone?” Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now. Let me make this VERY clear. (If I haven’t already) You are not my family. You are not my friend. So I’m writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona.”
Talk about a jaw-dropping moment in celebrity culture!
We’re totally sensitive to Kim’s situation, but we don’t think SJP was trying to exploit anything here. Of course you want to offer your sympathies! If she hadn’t sent condolences at all, she’d be ridiculed for that too. As for her speaking more about it in the press, it just seems to us she does a lot of press in general, and the question was gonna come up.
People released an interview they did with Sarah Jessica before Kim posted her now-infamous Instagram comment. In the article, SJP explains why she didn’t respond to Kim’s chatter in her Piers Morgan interview:
“We had this experience and it was amazing, and nothing will ever be like it. We had a connection with an audience, and we had a connection with the city and with this crew, and we got to tell these crazy stories with each other. So I don’t want to mess with that. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing that part. So there was no fight; it was completely fabricated, because I actually never responded. And I won’t, because she needed to say what she needed to say, and that is her privilege.”
Jason Lewis, the actor who played Samantha’s boyfriend Smith Jerrod, came out as #TeamSJP when the topic of their drama came up during an interview.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all… Listen, I would have to say that Sarah was always so lovely and such a consummate professional, and I think that people should remember their graciousness and the things that have been given to them, and I’m going to stop there because I’ve got nothing good to say.”
When pressed further to pick a side, it became clearer that he had Sarah Jessica’s back:
“I might just have to say yeah, yeah. What a gracious lady; she was always so good to me.”
And when he was asked if any of the others were nice, all he could say was, “Sarah was amazing.” VERY telling that he refuses to say the same about his own scene partner!! Both women are supernovas in their own right. We adore SJP. We adore Kim. But where do we go from here? Only time will tell.
In April 2018, SJP talked about the “feud” again (right when we thought it was over), telling Vulture:
“I’d just like to remind everybody that there is no catfight. I have never uttered an unkind, unsupportive, unfriendly word, so I would love to redefine it. I also want to remind everybody that there were four women on the set and I spent equal time with all of them, so this was not a set with two women who didn’t get along. I’ve always held Kim’s work in high regard and always appreciative of her contributions. If she chooses not to do the third movie, there’s not a lot I can do to change her mind and we must respect it. That’s the only thing I’ve ever said about it, you know?”
Whew! SO. MUCH. DRAMA!
A couple years later, fans get very exciting news. While there won’t be a third movie (yet?), there WILL be a reboot of the series — kind of.
Sarah Jessica, Kristin, and Cynthia all sign on, leaving out fan favorite Kim. So, not exactly the full Sex and the City we’ve grown to love. And that’s why they’re not calling it that. Instead, they’re going with the title, And Just Like That…, referencing one of Carrie Bradshaw’s famous lines.
The new series will premiere in 2022 on HBO’s streaming service, HBOMax. Executives have already revealed the show plans on handling the exit of Kim Cattrall/Samantha Jones in the same fashion as real life — via friendship fallout.
Yeah, not exactly a great girl power moment, but honestly we’ll take what we can get.
It has also been reported that the revamped series will try to reconcile some of the original’s low points: a lack of diversity among the cast, biphobia, transphobia, etc.. And if you’re #TeamAidan, well, congrats, because you’re gonna be able to get your hopes up all over again. LOLz!
That’s right: John Corbett will come back as fan favorite Aidan Shaw, which we have to assume will present an interesting conundrum for Carrie, who infamously wants to have her cake and eat it, too. With so many critics now calling out the toxic nature of her and Mr. Big’s romance, we have to wonder if they’re going to once again revisit the “what if” scenario of Aidan being end-game after all.
Only time will tell, Perezcious readers!
Of course, we’d be lying if we said pondering the many possibilities wasn’t fun. Our favorite fanfic to write in our heads, though? That would be the surprise return of Samantha Jones, because let’s face it, she may not be the #1 star of the show, but she’s the star of the show’s soul — and sometimes even its soles, hanging over a bed or up in the air over some shoulders.
[Image via Instagram/HBO.]