‘Sex and the City’: Just How Rich Was Mr. Big?

Sex and the City might have been all about Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Charlotte York, and Samantha Jones, but one secondary character often stole the show. Mr. Big, Carrie’s main love interest, was mysterious and suave. He was so mysterious that fans still aren’t entirely sure what John James Preston did for a living. What is obvious is that he was supposed to be pretty wealthy. Realistically, how much money did the financier have?

What was Mr. Big’s job?

While fans were treated to the ins and outs of the professional life of each main character, Mr. Big’s job remained a mystery. Most fans know that Miranda was a high-powered attorney who worked tirelessly to make partner at her male-dominated company. They also know that Samantha was a public relations specialist who dealt with wealthy clients, like Richard Wright. Charlotte, before marrying Trey McDougal worked in art galleries, while Carrie’s career as a columnist was front and center for the majority of the series. Fans were well acquainted with the jobs of the show’s secondary characters, too. Trey, for example, was a cardiologist, and Harry Goldenblatt was a lawyer. Steve Brady owned a bar, and Aidan Shaw was a furniture designer. Mr. Big’s job, however, was never explained in depth.

Chris Noth a Mr. Big in 'Sex and the City: The Movie'
Mr. Big in ‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ | Bobby Bank/WireImage

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For six seasons, fans were only allowed small glimpses into Mr. Big’s professional life. Carrie showed up at his place of work just one time during the show’s six-season run. What we do know is that Mr. Big was a financier. The biggest clue into Mr. Big’s professional life came in season 4 when Carrie found herself in need of a down payment for her apartment. Faced with the prospect of moving to New Jersey, Carrie went to see Mr. Big to find out how to raise the money she needed for her apartment. To get the conversation started, she mentioned a success he had. She said, “I once read that you took something like $3 million and leveraged it to build a $100 million building. How did you do that?”

Did Mr. Big own his own business?

While it’s never outwardly stated, it’s pretty clear that Mr. Big was either the owner of his own company or a high-level executive of a major firm. A few clues, however, seem to indicate that Mr. Big might have been the owner of his own business. In Sex and the City: The Movie, Mr. Big sends Carrie a series of emails in an attempt to win her back after leaving her at the altar. The emails didn’t come from a Gmail account, or even a Yahoo address, which would have been common when the movie was filmed. Instead, Mr. Big’s email’s originated from his own domain. The domain, JJPNY.com, would suggest the company Big worked for was named after him since it utilized his initials in the domain name.

Chris Noth as Mr. BIg and Kristin Davis as Charlotte York
Mr. Big and Charlotte York in ‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ | Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic

The domain JJPNY.com is owned by New Line Cinema, the production company behind the Sex and the City movies, and while the actual website was never shown, it seems likely that it would have served as the web presence for Mr. Big’s financial firm. Big’s ability to move about as he pleased also suggests he was a business owner. He spent several months in Paris before moving back to New York, then left New York to live in Napa. When he returned to New York, it appears as though his job was waiting for him.

How much would someone like Mr. Big actually make?

The term “financier” can mean many things, but in Mr. Big’s case, he likely acted as a CEO or a CFO. Not only would he have enjoyed a high salary, but he would have also earn commission as well as bonuses, depending on what his exact duties were. According to LinkedIn, the average CFO, or chief financial officer, in New York earns about $250,000 a year before commissions, stock options, and bonuses. In some cases, a CFO can make millions, depending on the company they are working for and their exact contract. Assuming he owned his own business, Mr. Big likely earned millions each year.

Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw and Chris Noth as Mr. Big
Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic)

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Mr. Big, may not have been working with only money earned during his career, though. While his family is almost never spoken about, it’s implied that he came from a wealthy family. It seems entirely plausible that Big took over a business owned by his own father or another close family member. Mr. Big’s mother is seen in just one scene during the entire series, but based on her general demeanor, it is surmised that she was wealthy.