‘Sex and the City’: The ‘House’ Star Who Nearly Played ‘Carrie Bradshaw’

Sex and the City became one of HBO’s most acclaimed shows. Viewers watched as Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) navigated her professional and personal life in New York City. Carrie’s best friends, Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), and Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), were by her side every step of the way. 

After six seasons, Sex and the City aired its final episode in February 2004. Now that the show has aired for more than two decades, it’s hard to believe that Parker’s iconic role could’ve gone to another actor. 

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall filming 'Sex and the City'
Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Davis, and Kim Cattrall|Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive

Sarah Jessica Parker almost quit working on ‘Sex and the City’

Before playing Carrie Bradshaw, Parker gained a reputation as a film actor. She starred in films like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Hocus Pocus, and The First Wives Club in the 1980s and 1990s. Parker also appeared on Broadway as a child. Parker starred in The Innocents and Annie before she was a teenager. 

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By the late 1990s, Parker was looking for her next project. In an interview with People’s editor-in-chief Jess Cagle, Parker said she wanted to quit the series after its pilot episode. She started to panic about what committing to a show for a full season would mean for her film and stage career. 

“I was like, ‘I don’t know if I think I want to do that. Is there a way to not do that?'” she said, via Harper’s Bazaar. “I met my agents in L.A.—Kevin Huvane—and I was like, ‘Do you think maybe I could not do this now?’ Because I wanted to keep doing a play and doing a movie and doing a play. So, the way I thought it was going to change my life was that it was going to like hold me hostage to a commitment.”

‘Sex and the City’ creator Darren Star approached Lisa Edelstein to play Carrie Bradshaw

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In February 2016, House star Lisa Edelstein shared with Access Hollywood that she almost played Carrie Bradshaw. She said the series’ creator, Darren Star, approached Edelstein about the role simultaneously as Parker. Edelstein confirmed to hosts Billy Bush and Kit Hoover that the executives were awaiting Parker’s answer about playing Carrie, and left her standby. 

“I was either going to do it or not. It all depended on whether she said yes,” Edelstein said of Parker. “I was waiting.”

Edelstein wasn’t the only television star who wanted to be Carrie. According to Cosmopolitan, Sex and the City alum Kristin Davis also auditioned for the role. However, the casting directors felt she would be a better fit for Charlotte. 

Lisa Edelstein never watched an episode of ‘Sex and the City’ 

Although she didn’t get to be Carrie Bradshaw on-screen, Edelstein has several television shows under her belt. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, she appeared on Felicity, Without a Trace, and Ally McBeal. In 2004, Edelstein booked a starring role as Dr. Lisa Cutty on House. She stayed on the series until it ended in 2011. 

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During her interview with Access, Edelstein admitted that losing out on Sex and the City gave her a biased view of the show. She said she never became a fan throughout its six-year run. 

“Yeah, I didn’t really watch it,” she said. “It was too painful.”

Edelstein continued to say that her Bravo show, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, received comparisons from Sex and the City viewers. Like Sex and the City, the series focused on its female characters. Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce ran from 2014 to 2018. 

“I love the comparisons now,” Edelstein said. “It’s sort of a funny thing, that when life comes around that way.”