Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker has been married to fellow actor Matthew Broderick since 1997, and they have three children together. Their love story is as touching as it is long-lasting. You see, the two have weathered a lot together, and recently Parker opened up about what makes her marriage so strong.
In 2020 Parker and Broderick began starring in a Broadway play together, Plaza Suite. The play follows three different couples in different scenarios, all of whom happen to be staying at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. And it marked the first time Parker and Broderick had acted opposite each other since they were married.
Now, Parker and Broderick were cast in the play in September 2019. And during that month Parker told The New York Times, “We simply love the play. It’s most assuredly a period piece, with cultural and sexual politics that were radically different, but there are these larger themes, about marriage and disappointment and ambition and parenting and betrayal and love, that don’t hang their hat on a specific generation.”
Prior to their marriage, Parker and Broderick had starred alongside each other in the show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, but this was different. Parker told the newspaper, “I’m enormously hopeful that it will be a really good experience, but I expect it will be hard and challenging.”
During the promotion for Plaza Suite, naturally the subject of their own relationship status was put to Broderick and Parker. While being interviewed by Parade magazine that March, Parker said, “We don’t talk about our marriage publicly because it’s ours, and it’s the one thing left that’s really and truly ours.”
However, Parker and Broderick have actually talked about their marriage quite a lot – they just avoid anything scandalous. In the Parade interview they remembered seeing each other’s movies before they met. Parker reminisced, “It’s not like I had my sights set on him, but I was aware of him as an actor because I liked his work so much.”
Interestingly, Broderick saw his future wife in the 1991 film L.A. Story, starring Steve Martin. And he instantly thought she was “wonderful, hilarious and beautiful.” Then in November of that year he met two of Parker’s brothers while directing a play for their theater company. It was here that he was finally able to connect with the woman he had admired so much.
In 2012 Broderick recalled to the website YESNetwork, “I do remember first meeting her…we went to a movie together. And I still remember very clearly seeing her walk down the street toward the movie theater…it’s very unique, because I wouldn’t remember most people the first time I saw them come down the street. [But] I remember it as clear as day.”
By that point, Parker had already dated some very famous men. Yes, she’d dated John F. Kennedy Jr., for a start. And in 1992 she told The New York Times of that relationship, “It has become the defining factor in the person I am. It’s pathetic. When I die, they are going to say, ‘Oh, yeah, Sarah once dated John Kennedy.’”
And in the 1980s Parker was one half a Hollywood power couple with Robert Downey Jr., who she’d met on the set of the movie Firstborn. In fact, they were together for around eight years, and things were serious between them. But in the end, Downey Jr.’s serious drug addiction reportedly forced Parker to split from him.
In any case, Parker seems to bear no grudge against her ex. You see, in 2016 she told journalist Jess Cagle that her relationship with Downey Jr., “taught me how I love. And what’s the difference between loving and taking care of people and what’s necessary, and what grown-ups should and shouldn’t do for one another.”
So moving forward, it wasn’t until 1992 that Broderick had plucked up the courage to properly ask Parker out. A few years after that, in 1996, Parker told The New York Times with Broderick present, “He left a very charming, very self-effacing message on the [answering] machine. You know, ‘Hi, it’s Matthew Broderick.’ You had to use your last name.”
Now, The New York Times interview took place before the two had married, and Parker mused within it, “The last 48 hours or so, Matthew has had this running joke about us, we work together, we eat together, we sleep together, we wake up together, we work together, we eat together, we sleep together… It occurred to me that that was a dangerous part of this, that our world would become very small.”
Parker went on, “There was always something nice about sharing your experiences. Now, all of a sudden our experiences are the same, and I don’t feel like I’m bringing a lot to the table.” When the interviewer asked the pair if they had any plans to get married and have children, they said they didn’t know.
But of course, the A-listers did get married. And the ceremony took place in May 1997 in rather unconventional circumstances. You see, the couple invited 100 guests, but didn’t tell any of them it was for a wedding. So they were left pretty surprised when Broderick’s sister began officiating. Furthermore, Parker wore a black dress, not a traditional white one.
However, Parker did come to regret that decision. In 2009 she told Harper’s Bazaar magazine that if there was ever a second ceremony, “I’d wear a beautiful, proper wedding dress like I should have worn that day.” And on the show Watch What Happens Live in 2016 she said, “I just was too embarrassed to spend any time looking for a wedding dress. There was a store that I liked that I knew, and I just went and got whatever they had hanging.”
What’s more, the actress did shed some more light on the dress decision to People magazine in 2018. As she went on to explain, “I never thought about a wedding dress. Never. Had not one daydream about it. At one point I just simply remember thinking, ‘God, I really hope he asks me to marry him.’ I don’t know when or why. It was fairly early on.”
After marrying Broderick, Parker’s life began to change in many ways. You see, one year later she began playing the part of Carrie Bradshaw in the TV show Sex and the City, which proved a massive hit. In fact, her new husband Broderick was one of the people who’d encouraged her to try a television series.
And in 2002 Parker and Broderick had their first child together, a son they named James. Even then Parker continued to work on Sex and the City while she was pregnant, wearing loose clothes to hide the bump. A few years after that, in 2009, the couple had their twin daughters Tabitha and Marion via a surrogate.
That’s correct, Parker and Broderick had decided to use a surrogate when it transpired they couldn’t conceive naturally any more. In 2010 Parker told Vogue magazine she had, “tried and tried and tried and tried and tried to get pregnant, but it just was not to be, the conventional way – I would give birth as often as I could, if I could. I cherished all the milestones, the good and the bad.”
Parker went on to Vogue , “Meeting your children rather than giving birth to them, it’s as if, um, it’s – suspended animation. The gestational experience is gone. It’s as if everything else disappears for a moment, and the world goes silent and – I can’t explain it except to say that nothing else existed. I don’t remember anything but the blanket on the bed that they were lying on and my husband’s face and their faces and my son’s.”
To add to that, the actress mentioned that before the birth of the twins, “We couldn’t talk about the fact that we were having children to anybody for soooo long. All the stuff that matters is secretive and worrisome. You can’t talk about how you feel about the woman who’s carrying your children; you can only talk about it to your husband. And he just doesn’t want to talk about it as much as you do.”
As the years went by rumors spread that Broderick had cheated on his wife. The story first cropped up in 2008, when anonymous sources told Star magazine that the actor had been texting and sleeping with a “stunning redhead.” And allegedly, this was while Parker was away filming Sex and the City: The Movie.
Furthermore in 2009, as the twins were born, the story reared its ugly head again. An anonymous source told the website Celebs Now, “Sarah admits that the problems in her marriage were not caused by just Matthew. She believes that marriage is a partnership and requires teamwork. The last couple of years have been rocky, but she and Matthew have recommitted themselves to their life together with the arrival of the twins.”
Neither party said anything about the matter for a while, until finally Parker did during an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2013. She said, “Yeah, I didn’t comment on it. People have asked me about my marriage, ‘How do you make it work,’ and I say, ‘We don’t talk about it.’ That’s not really true. It’s sort of a nasty response.”
Considering the whole matter, Parker said, “Matthew and I come from a different time and place. When we were young people, all we ever wanted was to be good working actors. We didn’t think of fame or money because, honestly, money was never part of the dream. It was to work in theater, to be around those people whose work I was in total awe of.”
And she continued to Harper’s Bazaar, “I never saw the trappings; nobody talked about being a celebrity. So when our marriage came up in conversation, it wouldn’t occur to us that we were obligated to respond to allegations or gossip. You have to be a bit circumspect, but you also have to take up a position, and you have to stick to it.”
Parker concluded, “There’s also the reality of your life. I love Matthew Broderick. Call me crazy, but I love him. We can only be in the marriage we are. We’re very devoted to our family and our lives. I love our life. I love that he’s the father of my children, and it’s because of him that there’s this whole other world that I love.”
In May 2019 the National Enquirer published another story alleging that the Parker-Broderick marriage was on the rocks. And this time Parker decided to publically and angrily call them out. Yes, she wrote on her much-followed Instagram account, “Just like clockwork. Over a decade of the same, untrue, disgraceful nonsense.”
The A-lister then went on, “As usual, days ahead of our anniversary on May 19th, the National Enquirer is making its annual best effort to fabricate and undermine, this time a blissful four days with my husband in London. There was no ‘screaming match’ as alleged in a restaurant or on the street, nor was there a confrontation as alleged about his time in London.”
And the actress wrapped things up by saying, “Hey National Enquirer and your sister publications, why not celebrate a marriage of 22 years and a relationship of 27 years? Because, despite your endless harassment and wasted ink, we are nearing three decades of love, commitment, respect, family and home. There’s your ‘scoop.’ From a ‘reliable source.’”
But despite her earlier comment regarding “not talking about it” Parker has in fact shared what makes her marriage work, more than once even. When she appeared on the Australian show The Project in October 2019, she had plenty to say about what had kept her and Broderick together for so long.
Yes, Parker declared to the audience watching The Project, “I really like my husband. We’ve been together 28 years and I really do like him.” The beloved Sex and the City star went on, “I’m sure I’m annoying and, you know, there are times that he annoys me, and that’s what makes it interesting!”
And Broderick himself has spoken about the annoyance factor in the marriage. In 2015 while appearing on the show Watch What Happens Live , he was asked if he ever did anything around the house which annoyed Parker. Broderick instantly said, “Everything,” but he was of course just joking.
When a caller to the show asked Broderick what the “bitchiest thing” was about Parker, he answered, “She’s very unbitchy. She’s pretty level-headed and kind.” Later on he said, “Anytime I talk about my wife, I want to make it like the battle-ax, and I always do that bit, but it’s not true. She’s a very positive person.”
Also, the subject of Parker and Broderick’s new version of Plaza Suite came up on The Project. The Sex and the City star said simply, “I like [my husband] and I admire him, and I’m hopeful our marriage can weather this experiment.” However it would have been an unbelievably pessimistic person who thought it couldn’t.
Still, Broderick and Parker updated people on Plaza Suite during a March 2020 interview with CBS News. And they talked about how it took a lot of convincing before they decided to act opposite each other. Broderick explained, “Every now and then, somebody would say, ‘You guys should do something together.’ And we’d say, ‘What?’ And they’d say, ‘I’m … I have an appointment.’”
Then Parker told CBS of her own feelings on the matter, “We had basically come to the conclusion, without ever having said it, that we will never really work together! Actually, what I felt was, ‘oh God, no, really?’ Because you know each other in such a different way. But I think it has been incredibly pleasant.”
Working on a show together also ensured Parker and Broderick got to spend more time together as a couple. Parker told CBS, “We spent more time together in the last two-and-a-half, three months than we’ve spent since we were courting, really, sincerely.” So perhaps it’s a good testament to their bond that it thrived despite their prior professional commitments.
At one point the interviewer asked the married pair, “The two of you, how quickly did you know?” Broderick answered, “It was complicated… We’re not good at talking about this part. This is the part we don’t talk about. We’re not practiced.” However, Parker had the perfect answer: “From the first time we were together, we’ve never been apart since.”