Yes, there are love interests. And yes, there is New York City. But at its heart, the HBO show "Sex and the City" is about four best friends, and how they talk through the joys and disappointments of their lives over breakfast.
Of late, though, the TV show's legacy has been overshadowed by off-screen drama by two of the stars.
Kim Cattrall, who plays the self-possessed PR maven Samantha Jones, and Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays wistful sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw, have made headlines for an alleged feud, which was rumored to begin when the show was filmed from 1998 to 2004 and continues to to be addressed to this day, as a recent Hollywood Reporter interview evidences — despite the fact that they're no longer co-stars, and likely never will be.
Cattrall, who most recently appeared in Peacock's "Queer as Folk," has publicly sworn not to revisit the character Samantha. Speaking to Variety, Cattrall said after filming the second "Sex and the City" movie, "Everything in me went, 'I’m done.'" She refused to join the proposed third movie, which never got off the ground.
The show goes on without Cattrall. “Sex and the City” recently returned for a reboot, called “And Just Like That,” which was renewed for a second season. Notably absent was Samantha Jones, who appeared only as text messages on Carrie’s phone (Cattrall told Variety she was never approached to reprise the role, having made her feelings about the third movie known).
Cattrall and Parker's on-screen characters are also estranged — but “Samantha” will return for Season Two, according to creator Michael Patrick King.
Just as "Sex and the City" continues, so does the indirect conversation between the two stars.
On a June 2 episode of the Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast, Parker addressed the "situation" with Cattrall, and what Cattrall has said about her publicly. "There isn’t anyone else who’s ever talked about me this way, so it’s very painful,” Parker said.
Here's a history of what Cattrall and Parker have said about one another over the years, and a timeline of their feud.
2004: 'Are we the best of friends? No'
While Parker and Cattrall have been more outspoken lately, tension may have begun when the show was on the air. A 2008 report in the Telegraph said that Cattrall attempted a salary raise; a 2018 article in The Hollywood Reporter reiterated tense contract negotiations before each season.
In an interview on "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" in 2004, the year the show ended, Cattrall confirmed that money contributed to the show ending after six seasons.
"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,'" Cattrall said.
At the 2004 Emmys, stars Parker, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon all sat together. Cattrall was not seen with them that evening.
According to a 2008 article in the Telegraph, Cattrall said that evening, "Are we the best of friends? No. We’re professional actresses. We have our own separate lives.’
2009: Parker and Cattrall deny the feud: 'People don't want to believe we get on'
In late 2009 and early 2010, the year after the first "Sex and the City" movie came out, Parker and Cattrall both gave interviews that addressed their alleged feud — and denied its existence.
“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," Parker told Elle in November 2009, addressing the rumors.
Cattrall responded to Parker's comments in the Daily Mail in January 2010, saying "she 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," Cattrall said.
2016: Parker continues to address the feud: 'This narrative really upset me'
Speaking to TIME in 2016, Parker addressed, once again, the rumored tension between her and Cattrall that had existed since the show was filmed.
“It was always so heartbreaking to me that there was this narrative about Kim (Cattrall) because it just didn’t reflect anything that happened on that set," she said.
A month later, in October 2016, Parker revisited the same topic on Howard Stern's radio show. “Was every day perfect? 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," Parker said.
2016: Cattrall turns down making a third movie
The first "Sex and the City" movie came out in 2008; the Abu Dhabi-set sequel came out in 2010. Plans for a third movie were dashed in 2016.
The Daily Mail, in 2017, claimed financial "demands" made by Cattrall were the project's undoing. Cattrall denied those demands in a tweet, saying: "The only 'demand' I ever made was that I didn't want to do a 3rd film & that was back in 2016."
Speaking to Piers Morgan in 2017, Cattrall elaborated on her decision.
“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," Cattrall said.
She called it a "clear" and "empowered" decision. "It’s a great part. I played it past the finish line and then some, and I loved it," she said.
In 2022, Cattrall, speaking to Variety, explained that she was ready to say goodbye to Samantha after filming “Sex and the City 2.” She said, "Everything in me went, “I’m done.”
Part of her reasoning, she said, had to do with the character not progressing. She said a proposed storyline for "SATC 3" involved her receiving unsolicited photos from Brady, Miranda and Steve's son, which she summarized as "heartbreaking."
"Can you imagine going back to a job you did 25 years ago? And the job didn’t get easier; it got more complicated in the sense of how are you going to progress with these characters? Everything has to grow, or it dies. I felt that when the series ended, I thought that’s smart. We’re not repeating ourselves. And then the movie to end all the loose ends. And then there’s another movie. And then there’s another movie?" Cattrall said.
2017: Cattrall says Parker 'could have been nicer' and said their relationships were 'toxic'
Speaking to Morgan in 2017, Cattrall also spoke directly about her personal relationships with the other cast members, whom she said she doesn't speak to. Cattrall said, when rumors began flying about her holding up the second movie due to contract issues, no one contacted her.
“Nobody ever picks up the phone and tries to contact you and say, ‘How you doing?’ That would have been the way to handle it,” she added. “This is, it feels like, a toxic relationship.”
Cattrall specifically called out Parker, who is an executive producer. “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.”
2018: Parker says she was 'heartbroken'
In a 2018 interview with People, Parker said she was "heartbroken" by Cattrall's comments to Morgan.
"We had this experience and it was amazing, and nothing will ever be like it. 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," Parker said.
2018: Cattrall says Parker has 'never been her friend'
Tension between the former co-stars reached a head following the death of Cattrall's brother. At 55, Cattrall's brother, Chris, was found dead a week after he went missing. In 2019, Cattrall told the Daily Mail he died by suicide.
Cattrall posted the announcement on Instagram. Four days later, she posted a follow-up directed at Parker, who she claimed reached out about Chris's death.
"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," Cattrall said, linking to the New York Post article that characterized the show as having a "mean girl culture."
2022: Parker explains why Cattrall wasn't approached for 'And Just Like That'
Speaking to Variety in 2022, Cattrall said she was never approached for the HBO reboot of "Sex and the City."
Parker explained why while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter later that year.
“We did not ask her to be part of this because she made it clear that that wasn’t something she wanted to pursue, and it no longer felt comfortable for us, and so it didn’t occur to us,” she said.
“That’s not ‘slamming’ her, it’s just learning. You’ve got to listen to somebody, and if they’re publicly talking about something and it doesn’t suggest it’s some place they want to be, or a person they want to play, or an environment in which they want to be, you get to an age where you’re like: ‘Well, we hear that.’”
2022: Parker says 'this isn't a catfight,' and 'there's only been one person talking'
Parker called the "catfight" narrative "painful" in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast.
"I’ve never uttered fighting words in my life about anybody that I’ve worked with ever. There is not a ‘fight’ going on,” Parker said.
“There has been no public dispute or spat or conversations or allegations made by me or anybody on my behalf. I wouldn’t do it. That is not the way I would have it. So I just wish that they would stop calling this a ‘catfight’ or an ‘argument’ … There has been one person talking. And I’m not going to tell her not to … so that’s been kind of painful for me also," she said.