Kim Cattrall has had a painful and tragic start to 2018. At the beginning of February her brother Chris was found dead at home in Alberta, Canada. Understandably, the actress reacted with grief, but she also displayed some anger, too. Indeed, when her Sex and the City co-star Sarah Jessica Parker offered her condolences online, Cattrall very publicly rebuffed her. Cattrall’s message was scathing, and it turned out that there was a whole world of hurt behind it.
The seeds for Parker and Cattrall’s clash were actually sown a long time ago. Back in 1997 both women were cast in HBO’s Sex and the City. Neither knew it at the time, but the show would go on to become one of the biggest of its era. And although they were playing best friends onscreen, there were reportedly tensions between the pair when the cameras weren’t rolling.
Moreover, Cattrall was arguably a bigger name than Parker when Sex and the City came into being. The former had starred in both big movie hits like Big Trouble in Little China, Mannequin and Star Trek VI and quirky TV favorites such as The Incredible Hulk. But that posed a problem. Parker was meant to be the lead in Sex and the City, yet Cattrall was stealing the spotlight.
Interestingly, Parker hadn’t even wanted to do Sex and the City in the first place. She didn’t think it would be a hit and even begged the show creators to let her out of her contract after the pilot was filmed. As soon as the show became successful, though, she negotiated a promotion to executive producer, starting from season two. But Cattrall, too, wanted a piece of the pie.
Sadly for her, though, she didn’t get it, and the upshot was that while Parker ended up being paid $1 million per episode for her work on the show, Cattrall received a comparatively paltry $350,000. Tensions between the two actresses subsequently grew bigger and bigger, and they were compounded by the fact that Parker got on fine with the other two stars of the show, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis. Only Cattrall ended up being left out.
Things got worse as the Sex and the City movie was announced in 2007. At the time, one of Cattrall’s friends was interviewed by the Daily News about the film. “Kim does not want to [do it],” the friend reportedly said. “She feels she has been treated horribly by Sarah Jessica Parker for six years.” Yet the movie went ahead with all the main cast, and it was so successful that a sequel was greenlit.
Then, as filming for the follow-up got underway in 2009, rumors began to spread. New York magazine published an article that claimed the pair were “no longer speaking, which is making everyone on the set of the new Sex and the City movie uncomfortable.” The following year, Parker did concede to Marie Claire that perhaps all had not been well between the two stars. “Sometimes feelings get hurt,” she said.
Feelings had indeed been hurt, it seemed. In 2017 the mooted third Sex and the City movie was canceled, and rumors swirled that Cattrall had been the one who ruined it. She’d asked for more money, some sources hinted, a claim that Cattrall swiftly denied. “I never asked for any money, I never asked for any projects,” she told TV personality Piers Morgan. “To be thought of as some kind of diva is ridiculous.” And, damningly, she called her relationship with her co-stars “toxic.”
In fact, she singled out Parker specifically. “Sarah Jessica, she could have been nicer, she could have in some way. I don’t know what her issue is, I never have,” she said. A few months later, on January 31, 2018, Parker finally spoke out about the feud on Watch What Happens Live. “I found it very upsetting because that’s not the way I recall our experience,” she said.
Moreover, throughout the whole ongoing quarrel, Cattrall did at least have her family on her side. She was born the second child of four, and one of her younger siblings was a brother called Chris. Cattrall always seemed to be close to her family and often posted pictures of them on her Instagram. But when she posted a picture of her brother on February 4, 2018, it was actually because something was terribly wrong.
“MISSING! This is my brother Christopher Cattrall or Chris as we call him,” Cattrall wrote. “He has been missing since Tuesday, January the 30th from his home in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.” Attached to the message was a photo of Chris and a description of him. “He’s a one-of-a-kind brother. Help us bring him home safe,” Cattrall finished.
Tragically, though, Cattrall’s hopes of finding her brother were dashed just a day later. Chris’ body was found on his property, and his loved ones were devastated. “It is with great sadness that myself and my family announce the unexpected passing of our son and brother, Chris Cattrall,” the actress posted on social media. “At this time we ask for privacy.”
Canadian police said that there was no foul play involved in Chris’ passing. “The investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death will continue by the RCMP, but preliminary information indicates that his death is not being considered suspicious,” it said in a statement. Meanwhile, several people who had known Chris paid tribute to him. “The guy had the biggest heart. He was well-loved by everyone,” his friend Callum Donke told CTV Edmonton.
And multiple people showed up to comfort Cattrall in her hour of need – including Parker. “Dearest Kim, my love and condolences to you and yours and Godspeed to your beloved brother,” she wrote. It was the sort of thing many people would say to a grieving colleague, whether they actually liked them or not. But Cattrall’s response was startling.
Cattrall replied to Parker’s message in stark terms, uploading an image of the words “I don’t need your love or support at this tragic time @sarahjessicaparker.” But that wasn’t all. Beneath the picture she had more to say. “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.”
And Cattrall wasn’t finished yet. She went on, “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 finished up by posting a link to a New York Post article titled “Inside the mean-girls culture that destroyed Sex and the City.” The feature claimed that the feud had “everything to do with jealousy, rivalry and money,” but it also seemed to take Cattrall’s side.
As news got around about Cattrall’s message to her rival, battle lines were drawn up yet again. Some celebrities took the side of Parker. Dean Winters, another Sex and the City actor, announced to Us Weekly on February 11, 2018, that he was “always Team Sarah.” And the day afterwards, actress Molly Shannon told Entertainment Tonight that Parker was “so supportive and so wonderful” to her.
Others, though, were firmly anti-Parker. “I’d be p****d off too if Sarah Jessica Parker tried to hop on my grief as a PR move,” wrote Caitlin McBride for The Independent. “I am morally opposed to publicising someone else’s grief, regardless of your motive. It’s in bad taste.” However, another of the Sex and the City actresses had also sent public condolences.
Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda Hobbes on the show, had left a message on social media. Hers read, “Hey Kim, such awful news. So sorry to hear. Sending you love.” Cattrall’s response to it implied that Nixon had also put a call in to her. “Cynthia, hearing your voice meant so much to me. Thank you for reaching out. Love Kim.”
It remains to be seen whether Parker, Cattrall, Nixon or anybody else will comment further on the situation. An anonymous “insider” told Us Weekly on February 10, 2018, that Parker would be devastated at Cattrall’s words. “She really is one of the nicest people in show business,” the source claimed. “Not sure why Kim had to take it to this level.” One thing is for certain – watching old Sex and the City episodes will never be quite the same experience again.