I couldn't help but wonder, will we ever get tired of Carrie Bradshaw? With Sex and the City 3 rumors (opens in new tab) swirling around longer than the list of men Samantha slept with, we decided to honor our nostalgic selves and tap into a behind-the-scenes investigation of the iconic show. From nudity clauses to rumored feuds, ahead 50 surprising tidbits you never knew about Sex and the City.
Sarah Jessica Parker had a no-nudity clause.
In a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), SJP explains her decision not to film any naked scenes throughout the show's six-season run: "I've always had one, and it's apropos of absolutely nothing. Some people have a perks list and they are legendary. They have to have white candles in their room. I don't have a crazy list like that. I've just always had [a no-nudity clause]."
Candace Bushnell's storylines were often embellished.
The show is based off of author Candace Bushnell's life in a collection of essays published as Sex and the City. However, Bushnell admits the show often embellished her storylines (opens in new tab).
Creator Darren Star got a pretty solid deal on Bushnell's columns.
Bushnell wrote a sex column for The New York Observer back in the '90s, which was characterized as the fictional New York Star in the show. Star got away with only paying Bushnell $60,000 for the rights to her columns (opens in new tab).
Bushnell admits Carrie and Big wouldn't have ended up together in real life.
In a recent interview with The Guardian (opens in new tab), Bushnell admits, "Viewers got so invested in the storyline of Carrie and Big that it became a bit like Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. They had become an iconic couple and women really related to it; they would say 'I found my Mr Big' or 'I just broke up with my Mr Big.' It became part of the lexicon," she explains. "And when people are making a TV show, it's show business, not show art, so at that point it was for the audience and we weren't thinking about what the impact would be 10 years later."
There actually is a real-life Mr. Big.
His name is Ron Galotti, and he's a big-time magazine publisher who inspired Bushnell's columns.
Carrie was supposed to be brunette.
But producers changed their mind last minute because Bushnell is blonde.
Parker wore heels for up to 18(!) hours while filming.
Talk about commitment (opens in new tab).
SJP was hesitant to play Carrie Bradshaw.
Parker revealed (opens in new tab) her agent had to convince her to play Carrie Bradshaw after her concerns about her no-nudity clause and other factors. Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce star Lisa Edelstein would have been the second choice (opens in new tab) if Parker officially turned it down.
John Corbett AKA Aidan secretly knew Carrie would end up with Big.
"I always knew how it was going to end, and it made sense to me because New York is a fifth character in this show," he confessed (opens in new tab). "And Carrie needed to end up with New York. Mr. Big is New York. And it always made sense to me."
The cast wanted more diversity.
It took a long time for Sex and the City to introduce a non-white love interest on the show. Back in 2003, Nixon admits (opens in new tab) her and Parker were the biggest advocates of wanting to improve the cast's diversity, stating it's "irresponsible." Nixon explains, "I'm a huge fan of the show, but if we had an area in which we really could use improvement, it's certainly this one."
Kim Cattrall didn't originally want to play Samantha.
She turned down the role twice before being persuaded to take it.
Carrie's infamous tutu came from a bargain bin.
It only cost $5.
There's an alternative opening credits hidden somewhere.
SATC creator Darren Star revealed to MTV (opens in new tab) that "sitting in the vault somewhere, there is an alternate opening-credit sequence where Sarah is wearing a blue dress. And she doesn't get splashed by the bus, but instead she trips when she sees the bus."
Matthew McConaughey was the fourth choice for that infamous cameo.
Matthew McConaughey's role in the season 3 episode "Escape From New York" was originally written for Alec Baldwin. After Baldwin turned it down, it was then offered to George Clooney. After Clooney turned it down, it was then offered to Warren Beatty, who also rejected it. Only then was it offered to Matthew McConaughey.
The show switched their filming technique before airing the pilot.
Executive producer Amy B. Harris subtly reveals (opens in new tab) that in the original SATC script, the characters looked into the camera and talked straight to the viewers. It's unclear why they decided to drop this route, but we couldn't imagine it any other way.
There's huge significance behind this taxi cab scene.
It was creator Darren Star's favorite and one of the most significant in setting the tone for the series. Dubbed the "up the butt" scene, in episode four of the first season Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha talk about the pros and cons of having anal sex. "When I went to talk to Chris Albrecht [then president of HBO programming] about what we were doing, I mentioned this scene—and for me it was like a litmus [test] of how he was going to react and what their attitude would be toward the show," Star told Entertainment Tonight (opens in new tab).
"I thought, 'OK, I'm going to tell him the scene where Charlotte meets a guy who wants her to have anal sex and she freaks out and talks to her friends about it and either he's going to think it's really funny or throw me out of the room.'"
Andy Cohen and SJP are great friends IRL.
You may have glazed past the shoe salesman in the "All That Glitters" episode. If you take a closer look, it's none other than Andy Cohen, who made a cameo appearance back in the fourth season. SJP and the star of Bravo's Watch What Happens Live have been great friends ever since—even accompanying each other to The Met Gala (opens in new tab) throughout the years.
The last episode of the series wrapped up filming four days before it aired.
Talk about cutting it close.
Vivienne Westwood designed Carrie's wedding dress in the first movie.
And also wrote the handwritten note shown in the film.
The same actor plays Brady in the show and the film.
The red-haired boy who plays Brady (Joseph Pupo) in the film is the same actor who played baby Brady in the TV series.
Storylines were often based off the writers' real lives
That breakup via Post-it note? Totally based off of a true story from one of the show's writers.
It took five people to help SJP walk in her iconic season six Versace gown.
It was "the dress we had absolutely no reason to use," according to Parker (opens in new tab).
All of the women's addresses are fake.
Carrie's address is 245 East 73rd Street, Samantha's is 300 Gansevoort Street, Charlotte's is 700 Park Avenue, and Miranda's is 331 West 78th Street. None of these addresses exist in real life.
The show wasn't about empowerment.
SATC has always been controversial though SJP admits the show was never truly about empowerment—it was about love. "I don't think that empowerment was a word that was ever used once on our set, in a writer's room, among the female actors," Parker told Variety (opens in new tab).
The producers randomly picked a name for Mr. Big when writing the finale.
When Big's name was revealed in the show's finale, everyone wondered where the producers came up with the name "John." However, executive producer Michael Patrick King revealed it was totally on the whim when writing the finale. "It was just one of those things where it's like, 'Oh, it's happening right now' and you didn't plan it," he told Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab)."I just went, 'John,' while pretending to type on a keyboard. 'I told all the writers and they were like, What the hell? And I was like, 'Yeah, we have to say his name, because now he's real.'"
Victoria Beckham ~almost~ made a cameo in the first film.
But she had to turn it down (opens in new tab) due to scheduling conflicts with Spice Girls tour rehearsals.
However, Ginger Spice did make an appearance in the show.
Geri Halliwell aka Ginger Spice plays Phoebe, whom Samantha runs into on the street in season 6, episode 10 titled, "Boy, Interrupted." They talk about Soho House, where Victoria and David Beckham were actually inside while the scene was being filmed.
It was the first cable series to win the Emmy for Best Comedy Series.
Sex and the City won seven of its 54 Emmy Award nominations, eight of its 24 Golden Globe Award nominations, and three of its 11 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations in addition to awards in directing, producing, costumes, and more.
Kristen Davis is the only actress who didn't receive an individual award for her character.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, and Cynthia Nixon all won individual awards for their roles. The only actress who failed to win a solo award for her character was Kristen Davis, who played Charlotte York.
The fifth season was cut short due to SJP's pregnancy.
There are only eight episodes in the fifth season because Sarah Jessica Parker was pregnant with now 14-year-old son James Wilkie Broderick.
Tiffany & Co. didn't allow the show to film the real store.
Trey proposed to Charlotte in front of Tiffany's in season three. However, a fake window was used because it wouldn't allow the real store to be filmed due to security reasons.
Parker and Cattrall have been battling feud rumors for years.
It's been rumored SJP and Kim Cattrall didn't get along on set, but Parker has confirmed the rumors are completely false. "It used to really confound me and really upset me, because we were part of a family [with fellow HBO hit] The Sopranos, and nobody ever questioned the relationships of the men on that show, and nobody ever said to them, 'Did you hang out this weekend with each other?' or, 'Did you give each other Christmas presents?'" Parker tells Entertainment Tonight (opens in new tab). "...It really upset me for a very long time."
Chris Noth wasn't the original vision for Mr. Big.
Darren Starr originally wanted to cast Alec Baldwin (opens in new tab) for the role.
None of the main characters repeat a full outfit throughout the show's run...
...That is until the final episode where Carrie wears a fur coat from the first season. Costume Designer Patricia Field continues to work with Darren Star today on his most recent series, Younger (opens in new tab).
Carrie's Russian boyfriend is actually a ballet legend IRL.
Mikhail Baryshnikov, who plays Aleksandr Petrovsky, is dubbed one of the greatest ballet dancers in history (opens in new tab). Carrie meets Petrovsky in the final season and he swoops her away to Paris.
Though despite Baryshnikov's achievements, there was actually a lot of controversy about his casting.
SJP played a large role in bringing Mikhail Baryshnikov on the show. Despite criticisms from viewers, Parker defended her choice for her cultured love interest: "[Mikhail] is extraordinary, and this character is not like anyone we've ever had on the show before," she tells TV Guide (opens in new tab) at the time. "And this person has to bring with him culture and style and complication and depth and a brand new point of view about the city. And it is thrilling to think that there is this whole other city [out there] that Carrie doesn't know [about]."
Creator Darren Star never intended for Carrie and Big to end up together.
"I think the show ultimately betrayed what it was about, which was that women don't ultimately find happiness from marriage," Star admits (opens in new tab). "Not that they can't. But the show initially was going off script from the romantic comedies that had come before it. That's what had made women so attached."
Cynthia Nixon almost didn't get the role of Miranda because she was blonde.
Creator Darren Star told MTV (opens in new tab), "For me, it was important that the hair color, body types and everything was different," he recalls. "When Cynthia Nixon came in to read for the first time, she was blonde. I saw Miranda as a redhead. Thankfully, I took that leap of faith that she would look good as a redhead."
The show helped make Magnolia Bakery famous.
After airing the scene with Carrie and Miranda in season 3, episode 5 the bakery had to hire a bouncer because the spot became so popular (opens in new tab).
The show subtly addressed 9/11.
Until season 4, episode 12 the opening sequence was set in front of the Twin Towers. However, after the 9/11 attacks the creators moved the credits to appear in front of the Empire State Building.
The show had a 2013 prequel called 'The Carrie Diaries.'
But it didn't last long. The show was cancelled after the second season. Even SJP herself wasn't a fan, publicly stating (opens in new tab) "it's odd."
Out of all of the women, Nixon got to keep the most clothes from the set.
According to E! (opens in new tab), Carrie, Miranda, and Samantha's clothing were mostly borrowed samples, whereas Miranda's clothing had been purchased. Nixon explains, "The other women wore a lot of samples. Miranda's not quite that cutting-edge, so they actually purchased a lot of the clothes."
Samantha's sex scenes were hard to film.
Cattrall reveals (opens in new tab) she often struggled finding ways to make the sex scenes realistic.
Carrie and Big shot the infamous Central Park pond scene in one take.
In season 3, episode 18 titled, "Cock-a-Doodle-Do" Carrie and Big fall into the Central Park boating pond. In Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell, Parker reveals they did the fall in one take. She also cut her foot while filming the scene — having to get a tetanus shot right after they finished.
The second film wasn't actually made in Abu Dhabi.
The ladies shot Sex and the City 2 back in 2010, six years after the series went off the air. Abu Dhabi authorities denied permission (opens in new tab) for the crew to film in the city after reading the script, which made them move the filming location to Morocco.
Carrie asks 92 questions in her columns throughout the show.
Need we say more?
But she doesn't question herself in the final two episodes of the series.
We couldn't help but wonder, how could Carrie not question herself in the final episode? Instead, her final question is actually asked in the episode before she moves to Paris when she writes, "Is it time to stop questioning?"
All of the women remain friends 'till this day.
But are you really even surprised? Here's hoping for Sex and the City 3.
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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