The very first episode of Sex and the City premiered over 20 years ago, and the series is remembered for its larger-than-life fashion and flings. But even more controversial than some of the episodes is the enduring offscreen drama between stars Sarah Jessica Parker (who played Carrie Bradshaw) and Kim Cattrall (who played Samantha Jones). Even since the early days of SATC, there have been rumors of infighting between the pair and speculation has only strengthened with Cattrall’s absence from And Just Like That… an HBO Max limited series revival about Carrie, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis).
Here, a deep dive into the history of this supposed feud, which rages on in 2021.
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Back in 2004, Cattrall appeared on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, where she admitted money was part of the reason the show ended. “I felt after six years it was time for all of us to participate in the financial windfall of Sex and the City,” she said. “When they didn’t seem keen on that I thought it was time to move on.” At the time, the show did not move forward with a seventh season or a movie.
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A report in the Telegraph addressed the rumors that Parker and Cattrall long had tensions over money. Parker was given an executive producer title back in the second season, which bumped her salary up to $300,000, causing Cattrall to reportedly negotiate for a higher salary. The Telegraph reported that crew members said the girls were not happy about this and “wouldn’t even sit with [Cattrall] at mealtimes.”
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The report also addressed the 2004 Emmy Awards where Parker, Nixon, and Davis all sat together while Cattrall sat by herself. In response, Cattrall said, “Are we the best of friends? No. We’re professional actresses. We have our own separate lives.”
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Though in the same report, Parker said the cast were friends: “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.”
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Marie Claire asked Cattrall about the rumor that she was the holdout on making the first movie. In response, Cattrall said, “Four years ago I was going through a painful public divorce, the series was coming to an end, and my father was diagnosed with dementia. I felt it was time to be with my real family. A year-and-a-half ago, when I was sent the script, I was ready and strong enough to revisit Samantha. In some ways, I’m glad we waited. The script and the experience of making the movie was the best possible reunion.”
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In the same interview, Darren Star, the creator of the series touched on the rumored drama: “I think you have to draw the line between what’s happening in gossip columns and what’s happening on a set. You can’t create that kind of chemistry. When you do a series for so many years, you can’t fake it completely.”
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As reported by the New York Post, a 2009 article in New York magazine said Parker and Cattrall were no longer speaking, “making everyone on the set of the new Sex and the City movie uncomfortable.” Sex and the City 2 was released in 2010.
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When ELLE asked Parker about the rumors that Cattrall didn’t get along with the other cast members, she said, “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.”
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Then when the Daily Mail brought up Parker’s ELLE comments to Cattrall, she said, “I think Sarah was right: People don’t want to believe that we get on. 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. 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.”
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The cast did an interview for Marie Claire, where Parker said sometimes “feelings get hurt” on set, and Nixon said, “it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but the idea that we’re somehow adversarial is ludicrous.”
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In the same interview, Cattrall shared her disappointment at the perceived feud: “…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.”
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Davis also talked about a tabloid story that said she and Cattrall would eat in their hotel restaurant but not sit together: “When I would get back from the set, I would go to the gym and get room service. I’m not a put-on-decent-clothes-and-go-to-the-hotel-restaurant person, but Kim is. The story was that we don’t like each other. Ridiculous!”
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Years later, Parker did an interview with Time where she once again addressed the rumors: “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. Isn’t that interesting?”
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Parker appeared on Howard Stern, where she said the rumors over the years truly bothered her. “Was every day perfect?” Parker said. “No, but this is a family of people who needed each other. This sort of narrative, this ongoing catfight…it used to really confound me and really upset me.”
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The Daily Mail reported that the third Sex and the City movie was cancelled due to demands from Cattrall. According to the Daily Mail, “Warner Bros. had given the much-anticipated project the green light after months of speculation and the movie was supposed to start filming in the coming days. However, the studio can no longer move ahead as Cattrall, 61, demanded they produce other movies she had in development or she wouldn’t sign up for the project. Warner Bros. refused to meet her demands and had to cancel production as the company decided it wouldn’t be fair to fans to produce a movie with only three of the four main characters.”
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Cattrall tweeted that the only “demand” she made was not to do the movie; she claimed she said no to the movie back in 2016.
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Parker confirmed to Extra TV that there would be no Sex and the City 3: “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 I think more so for that audience that has been so vocal about wanting another movie.”
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Davis also confirmed the news on her Instagram, writing, “It is true that we are not going to be able to make a 3rd film. I wish that we could have made the final chapter, on our own terms, to complete the stories of our characters. It is deeply frustrating not to able to share that chapter (beautifully written by MPK) with all of you.”
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During an interview with Piers Morgan, Cattrall says she will not do another Sex and the City movie and that she was never really friends with her Sex and the City co-stars.
When asked by Morgan if there will ever be more Sex and the City, Cattral said, “Not for me. That was part of turning 60. That was a very clear moment of, how many years do I have left and what do I want to do with it? What haven’t I done? I feel that the show was the best when it was the series and the bonus was the two movies.”
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She went on to explain how she turned down an offer to make a third movie in December 2016. “The answer was simply thank you, but no, I’m good,” she said. “This isn’t about more money. It’s 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… It’s a great part. I played it past the finish line and then some, and I loved it.”
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When asked whether she was friends with her co-stars, Cattrall said they have “never been friends.” She also addressed the rumors that the third movie didn’t happen because she was acting like a diva and asking for more money. “This is really where I take to task the people from Sex and the City, and specifically Sarah Jessica Parker,” she told Morgan. “I think she could’ve been nicer. I really think she could’ve been nicer. I don’t know what her issue is.”
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A New York Post article revealed information surrounding the rumored drama on the Sex and the City set. The article claimed that Nixon, Davis, and Parker formed a group together and left out Cattrall. New York Post also referenced an old Page Six report that said while on a shoot in Atlantic City, Parker rented a house for all the girls except for Cattrall (though an HBO spokesperson said Cattrall didn’t stay with the other girls because her husband at the time was supposed to come).
Toward the end of the series, one insider told Page Six that no one was speaking to Cattrall.
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Parker referenced the new “opening” in the Sex and the City cast while she was on Stephen Colbert.
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Parker appeared on Ellen, where she was asked about the possibility of doing a Sex and the City movie without Cattrall. “I think there’s a period of grief, a mourning process,” Parker said. “And then perhaps we’ll consider, say for instance, you playing Samantha.”
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Parker appeared on Watch What Happens Live, where she was asked how she felt about Cattrall telling Piers Morgan they were “never friends.” “Heartbroken,” Parker said. “The whole week…I was really, I found it very upsetting because that’s not the way I recall our experience.”
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When Cattrall’s 55-year-old brother was found dead in Canada, Parker wrote condolences on Cattrall’s Instagram. According to US Weekly, she said, “Dearest Kim, my love and condolences to you and yours and Godspeed to your beloved brother. Xx.”
When asked about her decision to comment, despite the feud, Parker told 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.”
A source close to Parker also told PEOPLE that when Cattrall’s brother was announced missing, Parker privately called and texted Cattrall.
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However, in response to comment, Cattrall posted an Instagram slamming Parker for “exploiting” her brother’s death. In her caption, she wrote, “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.”
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US Weekly reported that a source close to Parker said, “Not sure why Kim had to take it to this level.” Another source told US Weekly that the two “hated each other” and were “at odds” since the beginning of the show’s second season.
A friend of Cattrall’s told US Weekly, “Their costars can’t understand why Kim lashed out. It wasn’t this bad during filming,” while a friend of Parker’s said, “There’s no love there, but Sarah Jessica was just being polite. It’s sad.”
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In a recent cover story for People, Parker said she never responded to Cattrall’s conversation with Morgan. “We had this experience and it was amazing, and nothing will ever be like it,” Parker said. “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.”
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Chris Noth, who played Mr. Big on the show, was asked by TMZ how his character would respond to the current fight. In true Mr. Big-fashion, Noth simply rolled up the window of his car.