5 Friendship Lessons from the SATC Falling Out
A very public spat offers some real-life friendship lessons
Every Sex and The City (SATC) fan has heard the story, at least some version of it.
Since 2017, a very public feud has played out between two of the show’s stars, Kim Cattrall (Samantha) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie).
The disagreements between the two women were aired—and, no doubt, magnified—by the media. The squabbles began about six years ago. The pop culture blog PopSugar even created a timeline describing them.
In short, there were always ongoing tensions between the two women. And because of the acrimony with her co-stars, Cattrall opted out of the third season of Sex and the City. Then, when it was time to film the show’s sequel, And Just Like That…, Cattrall wasn’t invited to rejoin the cast.
So how is it possible that Cattrall will be making a cameo appearance in the second season of the sequel?
No, the castmates did not kiss and make up: Cattrall announced she wouldn’t appear on screen with her costars. Instead, rumor has it that she was filmed making a phone call to Carrie (SJP) from another location so she wouldn’t have to be face-to-face with the other women.
Following the detailed PopSugar timeline, we thought it might be interesting to distill some of the friendship lessons that could be gleaned from this very public spat.
1. Taking a fight public escalates the drama
When Parker announced there would be no SATC 3, news reports and social media blamed the end of the franchise on Cattrall’s “outrageous demands,” which she denied. She took affront to being labeled a diva, explaining she never had plans to continue playing the role of Samantha.
After Cattrall’s brother passed away in 2018 at the age of 55 as a result of suicide, she requested privacy for her family. When Parker reached out publicly, offering her condolences,
Cattrall insisted that Parker was being insincere and exploiting the tragedy to maintain her image as a “nice girl.”
Years after it began, the schism between the actors only seemed to widen, with both of them continuing to make comments that were infuriating to each other.
The take-home message for the rest of us: Don’t air your grievances on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media site. It will only make matters worse.
2. Mixing work and friendship can be challenging
On the show, all four women convincingly played the role of besties who got together regularly, celebrated their friendships, shared their most precious secrets and leaned on one another for advice and support. (Viewers idealized the ease and comfort of their closeness.)
But in actuality, Cattrall never felt close to her costars and didn’t even consider them real friends. “The common ground that we had was the series, and the series is over,” she told Piers Morgan.
The take-home message for the rest of us: In the best of all worlds, we want to be friends with our co-workers. Friendships at work can be very gratifying and can also enhance productivity. But they don’t always co-exist - and if and when they do, they can go sour (just like any other friendship). Just because people are colleagues doesn’t mean they can’t rub each other the wrong way.
3. Conflicts between two friends can have collateral damage
Although it was Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall who couldn’t get along, the fallout affected the other two costars. As a result, none of them have maintained a connection with Cattrall.
People often feel like they can’t remain neutral when there’s a breakup between friends or marital partners, and it’s common for them to take sides. In this case, the other star's livelihoods were tied to their fidelity to Sarah Jessica Parker (who is also one of the executive producers of the franchise). That might have factored into their decision.
Hence the domino effect: None of the two other co-stars have had contact with Cattrall.
The take-home message for the rest of us: Before initiating a breakup, consider the possible fallout for other friends, colleagues, or family members (even your kids).
4. Women often get a bad rap when they have conflicts
Unfortunately, conflicts between women often are dramatized and characterized as catfights.
Why? Because many people believe women are supposed to be nice to one another and remain friendly, regardless of the circumstances. This is especially true of women who were raised at a time when they were taught to be more compromising than men.
The take-home message for the rest of us: Don’t fall prey to the stereotype that women are inherently “mean girls” if they do get into a spat. Conflicts can occur in any relationship, male or female. And if handled well, they can strengthen relationships.
5. Some friendship breakups are beyond repair
In an August 2019 interview with The Guardian, Cantrall explained, “I don’t want to be in a situation for even an hour where I’m not enjoying myself.”
Although Cattrall will appear briefly in the second season of And Just Like That… (which will premiere on Max on June 22), she will not be getting together with her co-stars. She’ll appear on screen as an actress, not a friend.
The take-home message for the rest of us: Friendships are voluntary and only work when they’re mutually rewarding.