Lest the title suggest otherwise, Sex and the City was hardly just about the love affairs and bad dates of sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her gang of girlfriends: pragmatic lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon, now a New York State gubernatorial candidate), prim gallery girl Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and flirtatious PR boss Samantha (Kim Cattrall). Instead, what glued the show together was the enduring friendship that united a group of seemingly dissimilar women whom Charlotte — the show’s irrepressible romantic — once suggested “could be each other’s soul mates.”
So it’s no surprise that the Internet watched with fascination and furor as reports of a fallout between Parker and Cattrall piled up over the course of years. The cast members vocally denied any bad blood — and repeatedly called out the media for finding reasons to pit women against each other when the same is rarely done with men in the public eye. But none of that stopped fans from speculating. Rumors of tensions between Parker and Cattrall have been followed closely, in part, because the apparent real-life conflict is so at odds with their characters’ relationship.
Speculation about fractures in the decade-long relationship between Parker and Cattrall first began as the show’s final season came to a close, intensified with the movie sequels and finally came to a head this year in a mélange of personal tragedy, celebrity interviews and apparent social media shade.
On the 20-year anniversary of Sex and the City, here’s a comprehensive guide to the conflict between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall.
Following the end of Sex and the City‘s sixth and final season, Cattrall is not seated near her co-stars at the 2004 Emmys. Parker, Davis and Nixon are all seated next to each other.
Later that night, at the HBO Emmys afterparty, Parker, Davis and Nixon are seen celebrating together while Cattrall appears to be absent. Some fans notice the separation and wonder if there is a reason behind it.
During an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Cattrall responds to rumors that pay disputes prevented a seventh season of Sex and the City and were also the reason why the SATC movie was delayed.
“I felt after six years it was time for all of us to participate in the financial windfall of Sex and the City,” she says. “When they didn’t seem keen on that I thought it was time to move on.”
Ahead of the release of the Sex and the City movie, the cast speaks out about the alleged salary disputes and rumored conflict between the stars in an interview with The Telegraph. The piece suggests that there had been tension about pay since Season 2. According to the story, “Cattrall openly refused to participate [in the movie] unless she was paid more.”
Parker, however, says the cast had remained friendly and that it’s well within Cattrall’s right to ask for more money. “Honestly, we are all friends and I wish I saw more of Kim. She mentioned money and no one should vilify her for it. People made a decision that we had vilified her,” she says, noting that she “absolutely” supported Cattrall’s decision to opt out of the film
Cattrall, for her part, stresses that it wasn’t only about the money, but personal struggles. “Looking back four years ago to when we were discussing a movie, it was a really tough time for me,” she says mentioning that she returned to her family in Canada due to her divorce and her father’s dementia. “It wasn’t all about the money.”
Cattrall later addresses the Emmys seating drama with a statement that emphasizes the working nature of the cast’s relationship. “Are we the best of friends? No. We’re professional actresses. We have our own separate lives,” she says, according to The Telegraph.
While talking to Elle about the Sex and the City movie sequel, Parker expresses frustration at rumors that she and Cattrall didn’t get along. “I don’t think anybody wants to believe that I love Kim,” Parker says. “I adore her. I wouldn’t have done the movie without her. Didn’t and wouldn’t.”
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Cattrall confirmed that rumors of a conflict between the two were untrue, attributing them to gossip and sexism.
“I think Sarah was right: people don’t want to believe that we get on,” Cattrall says. “They have too much invested in the idea of two strong, successful women fighting with each other. It makes for juicy gossip and copy. The truth of us being friends and getting along and happily doing our jobs together is nowhere near as newsworthy.”
She then offered high praise of Parker. “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. She and I are sick of this. It’s exhausting talking about it, and a real bore. Next?”
Ahead of the release of Sex and the City 2, the four actors give an interview to Marie Claire, where Parker and Cattrall both emphatically deny that they have beef.
Parker points to the struggles of long days on set, but stresses that all is well between the cast. “When you’re on set, you’re working 90-hour weeks, you’re never home, you’re exhausted,” Parker says. “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.”
Cattrall doubles down, saying that “the chemistry among the four of us is very strong.” She also calls rumors of a feud sexist. “Because 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.”
After years of relative silence on the subject, Cattrall crushes the hopes of Sex and the City fans when she says in an interview with the Daily Record that she thinks that her time with the series is done for now. “I feel like I have completely ridden that horse and been completely satiated and satisfied,” she says, later adding that doing another sequel would be a “challenge.”
“I think the climate changed. To have four women talking about shopping trips and spending $400 on shoes when people are having trouble putting food on the table?” She continued to explain: If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now. It would be a challenge to do a third installment. It could be fun though. To say goodbye completely to Samantha would be pretty hard.”
In an interview with TIME about her HBO series Divorce, Parker continues to shoot down rumors of conflict between Cattrall and herself, pointing out that the male stars of the Sopranos were never subjected to those kinds of queries.
“It was always so heartbreaking to me that there was this narrative about Kim [Cattrall] and myself because it just didn’t reflect anything that happened on that set. They just didn’t do it to the Sopranos guys. It was so strange to me and upsetting. 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.”
Parker appears on The Howard Stern Show, where she compares the cast of Sex and the City to a “family of people who needed each other, relied on each other, and loved each other” and shares that “this ongoing narrative of this catfight used to really, really upset me.”
Parker confirms to Extra that there would be no third Sex and the City movie. “It’s not just disappointing that we don’t get to tell the story and have that experience, but more so for the audience that has been so vocal in wanting another movie,” Parker says.
Following Parker’s statements, the Daily Mail runs a piece that alleges that the third movie isn’t happening because of Cattrall’s “outrageous demands.” Following its publication, Cattrall takes to Twitter to refute this account.
The story continues to unfold online when actor Willie Garson, who played Stanford Blatch in Sex and the City, issues a cryptic subtweet about whether or not a third film was really in the making.
Davis also takes to social media to say a final goodbye to her character Charlotte York and to express her “frustration” with not being able to make the third movie.
In a preview of an interview with Piers Morgan for ITV’s Life Stories, Cattrall reiterates that the third movie was always a “firm no” for her.
“I never asked for any money, I never asked for any projects, to be thought of as some kind of diva is absolutely ridiculous,” Cattrall says. “This isn’t about more money, this is not about more scenes, it’s not about any of those things. This is about a clear decision, an empowered decision in my life to end one chapter and start another. I’m 61. It’s now.”
The interview prompts another tweet from Garson, seemingly about Cattrall’s involvement in discussions about a third movie.
When the full interview airs, Cattrall refutes the idea that she had made demands or that she was ever on-board for a third movie.
“It’s quite extraordinary to get any kind of negative press about something that I’ve been saying for almost a year of ‘no’ that I’m demanding or a diva,” Cattrall says. “The answer was always no and a respectful, firm, no. I never asked for any money, I never asked for any projects. To be thought of as some kind of diva is absolutely ridiculous.”
She also states that she had “never been friends” with the cast of Sex and the City and called out Parker, saying that “she could have been nicer.”
A new year does nothing to quell old drama around the canceled third movie and the rumors of discord between Parker and Cattrall. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Parker discusses the rumors, calling the drama “enormously painful.”
Later that month, Parker appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she talks about the “mourning period” that she and the Sex and the City team had after Cattrall shut down hope for a third movie. She then jokes that DeGeneres might make a good replacement for Samantha.
Cattrall seemingly co-signs the suggestion on Twitter, although she later suggests two celebrated funny actors for the gig of future-Samantha.
During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Parker continues to sound off on the drama, sharing that she was “just heartbroken” after Cattrall says that she “could have been nicer” and that they were “never friends.”
“That whole week…I found it really upsetting,” Parker says. “That’s not the way I recall our experience. So, it’s sad, but…I always think that what ties us together is this singular experience. It was a professional experience, but it became personal because it was years and years of our lives. I’m hoping that that sort of eclipses anything that’s been recently spoken. That many years spent doing something so special that people had a connection with is such a privilege.”
Not long after, Cattrall announces the untimely death of her brother, Chris Cattrall, via Instagram.
Cattrall later thanks her fans, friends and her Sex and the City colleagues for their support during the difficult time.
Following Cattrall’s announcement, People reports that Parker wrote a supportive comment on the post. In an interview later that week with Extra, Parker also shares her condolences and sympathy for Cattrall and her family, saying, “We all send her our love and condolences and grant her the privacy that she’s asked for.”
She reiterates the sentiment to Entertainment Tonight.
“If somebody in your life, whether you’re in touch with them or not, [is] suffering for any reason, it’s involuntary that you want to convey condolences or sadness or just let someone know you’re thinking about them.”
Cattrall takes to her Instagram to say that Parker is neither her family nor her friend, calling her both “cruel” and a “hypocrite.” She also shares a link to a Page Six story that alleges that a “mean girls” culture was the real reason for the show ending.
Following Cattrall’s social media post, Parker addresses the issue in a People cover story.
“I never responded to the conversation Kim had with Piers Morgan, where she says things that were really hurtful about me,” she says. “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.”
Samantha’s on-screen love Smith Jerrod, played by actor Jason Lewis, gives his support to Parker in the ensuing drama in an interview with KTLA5. “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,” he says.
After Nixon announced her intention to run as a gubernatorial candidate in New York, Cattrall tweets her support with a seemingly pointed message.
In an interview with Vulture, Parker doubles down on her thoughts about the alleged drama.
“There is no catfight, there never has been a catfight. I’ve never fought with someone publicly in my life, nor would I,” she says. “And I spent time with all of the women on the set. People need to recall that it wasn’t just two women on the set fighting because that just never happened. We are enormously proud of what we got to do and I don’t want someone sharing thoughts publicly, which is Kim’s right to do and that is what it is, but we spent 10, 12 years of our life doing something that I really loved and I feel privileged to be part of and I don’t want this to eclipse it or change its experience for that audience that was so good to us for so long.”