Skip to main content

Sex and the City was a massive hit for HBO in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The series resonated with single women dating in major metropolitan cities for several reasons, but fans have argued that the secondary characters helped make the show what it was. The men that Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones, Miranda Hobbes, and Charlotte York dated were intense, dynamic, and incredibly varied. There was a good reason for that. Every character that appeared on the show was based on a real person or an authentic experience. That is, except for one major character.

Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte were composites of Candace Bushnell’s real friends

Carrie was based entirely on Candace Bushnell, the original author of the column that Sex and the City was based upon. Sarah Jessica Parker almost passed up the series because she was worried about the steamy content, but her looks, similar to Bushnell’s looks, made her a shoo-in. While Carrie was based on Bushnell, the other three main ladies weren’t based on individual people.

Kristin Davis as "Charlotte," Sarah Jessica Parker as "Carrie Bradshaw," Cynthia Nixon as "Miranda," and Kim Cattrall as "Samantha" on location for "Sex and the City: The Movie"
The cast of ‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ | Brian Ach/WireImage

In a 2013 interview with Elle, Bushnell admitted that Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte were not based on any one particular person but were composites of the ladies she spent most of her time with. Bushnell admitted her real-life best friends were not a lawyer, a publicist, and a “gallerina.” Instead, Bushnell ran in media circles, with a best friend who worked at an internet startup and several others that worked in journalism on some level.  

Aidan Shaw was completely made up

Carrie’s big love, Mr. Big, was based on Ron Galotti, a publisher who worked for Conde Nast in the 1990s before deciding to pack things in and flee the city. Galotti now lives a quiet life in New England, or at least as quiet as possible when a swooned over television character is modeled after you. Carrie’s other great love, however, was not based on anyone.

Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie) and John Corbett (Aidan) in "Sex and the City"
Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie) and John Corbett (Aidan) in “Sex and the City” | Paramount Pictures/Newsmakers

Aidan Shaw was the hapless furniture designer who dated Carrie in season 3, while she was still nursing a broken heart from Mr. Big’s very sudden marriage to a much younger woman. He left her when she admitted to cheating but reconnected with her in season 4. Eventually, the pair split for good when Carrie refused to set a wedding date. The drama between Carrie and Aidan felt real, but the writers completely made it up. No furniture designer let Bushnell slip through his fingers.

Carrie’s final love interest paid homage to Bushnell’s own marriage

While Aidan wasn’t based on anyone, in particular, Carrie’s final love interest, the Russian artist, Aleksandr Petrovsky, sort of was. During her Elle interview, Bushnell mentioned that the casting of world-famous dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, as Aleksandr was a way of paying homage to her marriage. 

Chris Noth as Mr. Big and Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw
Mr. Big and Carrie Bradshaw in ‘Sex and the City’ | HBO/Getty Images

‘Sex and the City’: Carrie Bradshaw Was The Female Antihero Television Audiences Needed

After ending her relationship with her own Mr. Big, Bushnell settled down with Charles Askegard. Askegard, like Baryshnikov, is a dancer. Life really does seem to imitate art. Carrie didn’t find love in Paris, and Bushnell didn’t find her lifelong partner in Askegard. The pair parted ways in 2012 after 10 years together.