‘Sex and the City’: 3 Times the Writers Actively Avoided Revealing Mr. Big’s Name

The decision not to give Mr. Big a real name for the majority of Sex and the City’s original run was a strategic move. It worked. By giving Carrie Bradshaw’s leading man a nickname, the writers ensured that the character’s mysterious allure would remain intact. That does not mean it was always easy, though. Sex and the City writers had to devise ways to avoid saying his name at least three times during the show’s original six seasons.

Why was Mr. Big not given a real name during the show’s original run?

Writers introduced Mr. Big to Sex and the City fans in the pilot episode of the series. He would appear in each subsequent season, making appearances in 41 of the show’s 94 episodes. He spent most of the series nameless, but there was a reason for that. Mr. Big was supposed to symbolize an upper echelon of men. He was mysterious and elusive. By not giving him a real name, writers ensured he stayed that way.

Chris Noth as Mr. Big poses for a photo on Broadway while filming 'Sex and the CIty: The Movie'
Chris Noth as Mr. Big | Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Not giving Mr. Big a real name also symbolized his relationship with Carrie. By never saying his name, the writers attempted to show that Mr. Big was never real with Carrie. He was a huge, overblown character, but he never revealed his true self to her. At least, not until the very last moment.

Sex and the City writers had to avoid saying Mr. Big’s real name three times 

During Sex and the City, the show’s writers actively hid Mr. Big’s real name at least three times. When Carrie found out Mr. Big had been married once before, she reached out to his ex-wife under false pretenses. When Barbara asked Carrie if she was seeing anyone, she stated that she wasn’t seeing anyone special. 

(L-R) Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth on 'Sex and the City'
Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big | Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

In season 2, Jeremiah, a waiter and performance artist, asked Carrie about Mr. Big. To avoid saying his name, she told Jeremiah she was at the party with “some guy.” The answer was good enough for Jeremiah. Finally, in season 3, Carrie spills a drink all over Mr. Big to avoid introducing him by name to her then-boyfriend, Aidan Shaw. After Carrie spills her coffee on him, Natasha whisked Big off to help him clean up, ensuring that Carrie wouldn’t need to introduce Aidan and Mr. Big by name.

Michael Patrick King once explained why Mr. Big’s real name was John James Preston

Fans learned that Mr. Big was named John James Preston in the very last moments of Sex and the City. His name was displayed on Carrie’s phone after she arrived back in New York from Paris. The moment, however, almost didn’t happen. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Michael Patrick King explained that he fought to reveal Big’s name to fans.

Chris Noth smiles at the camera from the back of a car during the filming of 'Sex and the City: The Movie' in New York City
Chris Noth on the set of ‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ | James Devaney/WireImage

‘Sex and the City’: Was Mr. Big Really All That ‘Horrible’ To Carrie?

He told the publication that the writing team wanted Mr. Big’s real name to remain a mystery but that he felt it was the right time to make him “real.” Mr. Big’s real name was a strategic move. King said that John was the most basic name that he and his team could think of. They wanted to keep the Mr. Big moniker, so they picked a name that had no connotations.