If you’re waiting for more dirt on the infamous feud between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall, don’t hold your breath. SJP is done talking about it—for good.
In a new behind-the-scenes book, Sex and the City and Us (Simon & Schuster, $35), Parker reveals her feelings about her *alleged* decades-long fight with her Sex and the City co-star, telling author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong that she just. wants. to. move. on. “She’s very upset by it actually,” Keishin Armstrong told FLARE. “I think, at least for her, the word ‘feud’ especially is very loaded.”
Parker, who played the beloved Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO series, wants to stop talking about her beef with Cattrall (Samantha Jones) because she feels it’s the “anthesis” of who she is, Keishin Armstrong says. After interviewing Parker for her book, a retrospective that details the show from its premiere in 1998 to its end in 2004, Keishin Armstrong says the 53-year-old has worked to cultivate a reputation as generous and friendly, not cliquey and cruel—things Cattrall has accused her of being.
“I think her main concern is that she’s worked pretty hard to make sure that she’s good to work with,” Keishin Armstrong says, noting that a solid reputation in Hollywood is important. “The professional angle of this [is that] she doesn’t want people to think that she’s difficult.”
So what *was* SJP like to work with on SATC?
In Sex and the City and Us, Keishin Armstrong—who interviewed many actors and writers on the show—says that Parker tried hard to treat everyone kindly on-set. During late-night shoots in Season One, Parker would often stay to the bitter end, drinking a beer with the crew and leading 4 a.m. singalongs to keep everyone awake. “To Parker, [the feud with Cattrall] is sort of antithetical to who she’s tried to be, and that’s what’s upsetting for her,” Keishin Armstrong says.
And in terms of Cattrall and Parker’s friendship while shooting? Well, Parker told Keishin Armstrong that she and Cattrall—along with the other women—were “not best friends,” but had a professional working relationship. Unlike the characters they played, Parker acknowledges that she didn’t have a sister-like connection with Cattrall, but says they shared a special bond because of the show. Parker also admits they “abso-freakin’-lutely” got annoyed with each other sometimes, but she explained their casual disagreements spoke to the depth of their relationship; you don’t get annoyed by someone unless you’re close to them. What we’re taking away? Their relationship was complicated.
Here’s how the Sex and the City feud started
If you need a brief refresher, Keishin Armstrong writes that reports of tension between Parker and Cattrall date back to 2001 when New York Magazine’s gossip column quoted an “insider” who said Cattrall’s scene-stealing antics upset the SATC cast—specifically Parker. The rumours continued for years. Parker has often denied any bad blood; Cattrall has not.
The fight came to a head in 2017, when—hours after SJP confirmed there wouldn’t be a third SATC movie—Cattrall was accused of having “torpedoed” the film with her demands. And in January, after Cattrall’s brother died, it became painfully clear that the two are not on good terms. When Parker shared her condolences, the 61-year-old responded with a harsh Instagram post basically telling Parker she doesn’t want her support, and that they’re NOT friends. Ouch.
“Let me make this VERY clear,” Cattrall wrote. “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.”
So why are people still obsessed with SJP and Cattrall’s feud?
Well for one, the media plays a part. The media has always loved a good fight—especially one that’s female driven (Ryan Murphy has literally based an entire TV show around the premise). Keishin Armstrong says the fascination with the SATC feud is no different. “I mean, there’s definitely a sexist aspect, right?” she says. “It’s hard not to believe that’s part of it.”
But ultimately, it’s us fans. Public obsession continues because people are so invested in the show—and more importantly, the characters’ on-screen relationships. “People have a really hard time—especially with shows that they love so much—dealing with the fact that these are fictional characters played by real people,” Keishin Armstrong says.
“They want them to be best friends in real life, and it’s very upsetting that they’re not.”