on the record

And Just Like That … Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall’s ‘Catfight’ Wages On

Now–mortal enemies share a laugh. Photo: Shaun Curry/AFP via Getty Images

And just like that, there is apparently no feud between Sarah Jessica Parker and her Sex and the City castmate Kim Cattrall. “And I just want to say one thing, because you’ve allowed me this opportunity,” Parker says to The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on June 2. “It’s so painful for people to keep talking about this ‘catfight’ — a fight, a fight, a fight. I’ve never uttered fighting words in my life about anybody that I’ve worked with ever.” SJP may be convinced that she’s not in a feud, but this relationship is contentious enough that we’re less positive. Cattrall, meanwhile, is starring in seemingly every reboot that isn’t And Just Like That …, with roles in How I Met Your Father and the new Queer As Folk, and goes viral in relation to SATC or SJP every few months. Inspired by SJP’s insistence that there couldn’t possibly be a feud because she never took part in one, we’re looking back at a timeline of public statements (and reboots) involving both women. Carrie Bradshaw once said, “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself” — but this one is pretty interesting too.

May 30, 2008: The first SATC movie comes out in 2008, four years after the show’s finale, and it’s rumored that Cattrall is the reason the movie took so long to be made. The rumored motive? Wanting more money. It’s worth noting that they could have just been spending that time finding the ugliest bag possible for Jennifer Hudson.

June 4, 2008: In a Marie Claire article, Cattrall gives a clear response to the idea that she was a diva holding up the process. “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,” she says. “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.” There’s no way of knowing what is happening behind the scenes, but Cattrall’s perfectly calibrated PR response seems to indicate that the relationship between her and the show at this point is strong enough to be worth publicly mending. Maybe she was holding out hope for a Maria return like the rest of us.

October 18, 2016: SJP goes on “The Howard Stern Show” and says that people often push a narrative of a feud, and she’s bothered by that. In the same interview, she does say, “Was every day perfect? Were people always desperately, hopelessly in love with each other? No!” She also says, “This is a family of people that needed each other, relied upon each other, and loved each other.”

September 28, 2017: In 2017, the Daily Mail publishes a report that SATC 3 was “TORPEDOED” by Cattrall’s “outrageous demands.” Cattrall responds to that report with a tweet saying, “Woke 2 a @MailOnline 💩 storm! The only ‘DEMAND’ I ever made was that I didn’t want to do a 3rd film … & that was back in 2016.” This marks an important schism in the narrative: It is the first time Cattrall speaks publicly about not wanting to be part of something involving SATC. It’s also worth noting that SJP’s name is kept off Cattrall Twitter. Funny tweet, though.

October 24, 2017: Later that year, Cattrall takes her newfound lack of professional association with SATC to an interview with Piers Morgan. In it, she says her choice not to do the movie was purely personal but also says of her diva reputation, “This is where I take to task the people from Sex and the City and specifically Sarah Jessica Parker — is that I think she could have been nicer.” She also broadens her scope here to say that they were all “never friends.” This directly contradicts SJP’s perception of the SATC community as she told it on “The Howard Stern Show.” It’s also here that Cattrall most clearly indicates a desire for a simple divorce between her and SATC. Cattrall says she simply aged out of the role, making “an empowered decision in my life to end one chapter and start another.” “I’m 61,” she continues. “It’s now.” “Nicer” isn’t specific, but her comments do suggest it wasn’t always kikis and Cosmos on set.

January 11, 2018: In 2018, during an interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the host jokingly asks SJP which part he would play if there is a new SATC film. “Well, there’s an opening,” she responds. “Well, according to very recent documentation of why we’re not making it, it’s because the part usually played by Kim Cattrall has been vacated. So that’s what I mean.” She later repeats the bit while on Ellen. This is a fun talk-show gaffe, but it’s also one designed to keep reminding SATC’s audience that Cattrall is the reason there’s no new movie. Shady talk-show behavior!

February 4, 2018: Cattrall shares on Instagram that her brother passed away, leading SJP to comment her condolences. Cattrall responds with a new Instagram post: a text box that reads “I don’t need your love and support at this time @sarahjessicaparker,” with a caption saying, “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.” Cattrall even includes a link to a New York Post article detailing a “mean girl culture” aimed at Cattrall by the other actresses that were present throughout both the SATC movies and TV show. With that nuclear move, hope for public reconciliation was officially over.

February 14, 2018: In a People interview that comes out later that month, SJP says, “I never responded to the conversation Kim had with Piers Morgan, where she said things that were really hurtful about me … 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.” Here, SJP puts her strategy in place: loudly take the high road and declare there is no fight. How could there be? SJP herself never responded. We’re a bit leery of the take — because an interview in People in which you talk about your enemy is, in fact, a response.

April 23, 2018: “But, no, there is no catfight. There never has been a catfight,” SJP later says while doubling down on this spiel to Vulture. “I’ve never fought with someone publicly in my life, nor would I … We are enormously proud of what we got to do, and I don’t want someone sharing thoughts publicly, which is Kim’s right to do, and that is what it is.”

August 10, 2019: “I don’t want to be in a situation for even an hour where I’m not enjoying myself,” says Cattrall, executing her God-given (SJP-given?) right to share thoughts publicly in a now-famous interview with the Guardian. While not directly about SATC, this quote quickly becomes an iconic meme and comes to represent Cattrall’s attitude toward the show.

December 23, 2020: Deadline reports that a new SATC reboot is in the works, including in the announcement that Cattrall is unlikely to join. The day before, Cattrall is on the Women’s Prize for Fiction Podcast reiterating that she doesn’t want to do any work that she would be unhappy with, no matter the public’s opinion, while not mentioning SATC by name.

December 9, 2021: With the beginning of And Just Like That … comes the reveal of Samantha’s story line sans Cattrall: She had a falling-out with the group after Carrie dropped her as a publicist. Carrie and Miranda repeatedly discuss their attempts to reach out to Samantha and how she has chosen not to respond. The message: It’s not our fault, see? The story line is easily read as a reflection of the SATC team’s feelings toward Cattrall.

February 3, 2022: The And Just Like That … season finale airs with a scene in which Carrie makes a date with Samantha over text to meet for drinks. The reconciliation between the two characters does not reflect any newfound real-life connection.

In a post-finale interview, SJP continues to deny ever responding publicly to Cattrall while reiterating her personal offense. She says she doesn’t think she would be open to Cattrall returning to the show “because I think there’s just too much public history of feelings on her part that she’s shared,” SJP says. “I haven’t participated in or read articles, although people are inclined to let me know.”

May 4, 2022: Cattrall lays into the original SATC 3 script in a profile in Variety, partly because it included her character sexting Miranda’s underage son. (A valid concern, we must say. That sounds weird.) “It’s a no” to any potential reunion. “It’s powerful to say no.” And Just Like That … featuring Kim Cattrall has never seemed more unlikely.

June 2, 2022: SJP toes her typical party line regarding her relationship with Cattrall during a podcast with The Hollywood Reporter. “There is not a ‘fight’ going on,” she reiterates. “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’ because it doesn’t reflect actually — there has been one person talking. And I’m not going to tell her not to, or anybody, so that’s been kind of painful for me also.” For all the denials from Parker and for all the talk of moving on by Cattrall, it seems like they’re ready to keep talking about each other.

And Just Like That …’s ‘Catfight’ Wages On