The Equalizer actor and the Divorce alum debuted as Mr. Big and Carrie Bradshaw, respectively, in June 1998 when the show’s pilot episode aired on HBO. Though Noth only appeared briefly at first, the pair’s chemistry was instant.
In fact, Big’s character wasn’t originally meant to be a regular on the show. “He just owned that role,” SATC casting director Russell Gray told Cosmopolitan in June 2018. “He became that role. They wrote more for him.”
Creator Darren Star originally envisioned Alec Baldwin in the role of Carrie’s on-again, off-again lover (and eventual husband), but Noth impressed him right off the bat. “I don’t really watch Law & Order, but I met with Chris Noth and thought he was perfect,” the producer told Entertainment Weekly in March 2016. “I remember the first table read, how good he was. I’m not saying that Chris was Mr. Big, but he brought a lot of his own persona to the role.”
The Good Wife alum has shared mixed feelings about becoming so associated with the role of Big (real name: John James Preston), but he’s never had any doubt about how much he enjoys working with Parker. “If we make another [movie] where we’re grandparents, we’d still have a good time,” the Wisconsin native told Vogue in April 2010 while promoting Sex and the City 2.
Though Carrie and Big almost didn’t make it to the altar, their real-life counterparts have been happily married — to other people — for years. Parker and Matthew Broderick tied the knot in May 1997. The couple share son James, born in October 2002, and twin daughters Marion and Tabitha, born in June 2009.
Noth, for his part, wed Tara Wilson in April 2012 after nearly a decade together. The duo share sons Orion, born in January 2008, and Keats, born in February 2020.
While Parker’s personal life wasn’t so tumultuous, she said early in the show’s run that she enjoyed playing a character whose situation was so different from her own. “It’s a very tortured and complicated and, in the end, quite heartbreaking relationship,” the Hocus Pocus actress told Interview magazine in October 1999. “It’s a sad relationship, and I love, love, love playing it because it’s so freakin’ sad!”
Keep scrolling for a look back at Parker and Noth’s friendship over the years: