May 23, 2022 6:25 AM EDT

When Sarah Jessica Parker and I first met in 1977, she was roller-skate-skinny, in two long braids and nondescript kids’ clothing. She was smart, disciplined, humble, and clearly super talented. She was studying ballet, and the grace from that was evident then, as now, in every part of her body.

Grownup Sarah Jessica has style for days and is daring when it comes to fashion. She likes to play with clothes but doesn’t play it safe.

Philip Montgo​mery—The New York Times/Redux

She isn’t tall, but she is a giant—as a performer, producer, and businesswoman. And she is, quite simply, beloved. We love her glamour, her vulnerability, her fearless oh-so-skilled physical comedy, her sexiness, and her sweetness. But most of all, we love the essence of who she is. Myself included.

Because while superficial things about my friend have changed, when I look at Sarah Jessica, I see that same one-of-a-kind, diamond-in-the-rough 12-year-old. And I always will.

Nixon is a Tony-, Grammy-, and Emmy-winning actor and activist

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