For now and maybe forever, Sex and the City fans will have to travel back in time to see the fierce foursome as friends.
Since the very public falling out between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall — and its ripple effect — there will be no more magic moments between the iconic screen sisterhood we once felt so akin to. No reunions, no sequels and no pleasantries in the press. Luckily, there are a lot of hours of SATC to stream (94 episodes and two feature films), however, and great photo archives — which we dig into here.
Ahead of Sunday’s Emmy Awards, we travel back 20 years ago for these gems of the foursome — also including Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis — looking oh, so happy together at the 51st Primetime Emmy Awards.
The HBO series that had us talking about cosmos, Manolos and Mr. Big had premiered the year before — June 6, 1998 — and there had been big buzz around it. The 1999 Emmys saw the show being nominated for the first time for Outstanding Comedy Series (it lost to Ally McBeal) as well as lead actress SJP (who was bested by Helen Hunt in Mad About You, which is about to get a revival).
The chemistry between the women — who played Carrie (Parker), Samantha (Cattrall), Miranda (Nixon) and Charlotte (Davis) — didn’t seem staged as they presented together, walking down the steep set of stairs holding hands. While SJP and Cattrall didn’t have their hands intertwined — they were standing next to each other.
At the podium, there were smiles and body contact. And the tight-knit crew then stuck together like glue at the HBO after-party, hard to miss in their shiny, shimmery ‘90s frocks. (Pastel for Parker and Nixon; basic black and white for Cattrall and Davis.)
It took a few years for them to earn an Emmy win for their onscreen magic. In 2001, SATC won the Outstanding Comedy Series award. Three years after that, Parker won for lead actress and Nixon for supporting. (Nixon was up against Cattrall and Davis.)
At that final Emmys in 2004, the show just wrapped months earlier — and by then there was already bad blood. Gossip column Page Six reported that Cattrall was the only member of the group not invited to a pre-Emmys party that year — and at the show “no one talked to” her “except for when” Parker won “and kissed her. That kiss was staged," the source claimed. Cattrall was seated apart from her co-stars.
The trouble between them stemmed from salary negotiations. As the series had gone on, Cattrall took issue with Parker, deemed the star and an executive producer, receiving more money than her co-stars and sought equal pay.
In December 2004, Cattrall spoke about that pay parity. “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.”
While the plan had been to start production on the first SATC film soon after the series wrapped, Cattrall’s salary negotiations for the film held that up. However, they ended up making the two movies in 2008 and 2010 — and fielding questions about the rumors of rifts between them.
However, just before the third film was about to go into production in 2017, Cattrall pulled out at the eleventh hour. (She has said she never was “in.”) Parker announced that the film franchise was dead and said she was disappointed. While she didn’t point fingers, a report soon pinned it on Cattrall’s demands during negotiations.
Seemingly tired of the playing nice, Cattrall stopped sugar coating it. She denied she had made any demands, saying she simply didn’t want to be in another SATC movie. She went on to call it a “toxic environment” and took on Parker, saying she could have been “nicer.”
It seemed like things couldn’t have gotten worse — but they did. When Cattrall’s brother died in 2018, Parker expressed condolences online and was slammed by Cattrall in response. “You are not my friend,” she wrote in response. She also said Parker’s “continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now.”
While Parker has continued to be PC on the topic — saying publicly that she’s disappointed, but vowing not to speak negatively about the situation — Cattrall continues to make headlines every time it’s brought up. For instance, in July, she said SATC will “never” happen and “it's a no from me.” She added, "You learn lessons in life and my lesson is to do work with good people and try and make it fun.”
In August, she made it clear that it’s really over. She said she was tired of the “bullying” she’s received over saying no to a third movie, adding, “No means no.”
And that may be true, but we’ll always have the memories.
The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast Sunday on Fox, airing live on both coasts, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
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