"So many roads. So many detours. So many choices. So many mistakes."
- Carrie Bradshaw
|First appearance|| Pilot|
|Last appearance||Sex and the City 2|
|Created by||Candace Bushnell|
|Portrayed by|| Sarah Jessica Parker|
|Date of birth||January 15, 1966|
|Occupation||Sex and the City 2|
|Family||Mimi Bradshaw (mother; deceased), Tom Bradshaw (father), Missy Bradshaw (sister), Dorrit Bradshaw (sister)|
|Spouse(s)||John James Preston a.k.a "Mr. Big"|
Carrie Preston (nee Bradshaw) is the fictional narrator and lead character of the HBO sitcom/drama Sex and the City, played by actress Sarah Jessica Parker. She is a semi-autobiographical character created by Candace Bushnell, who published the book Sex and the City, based on her own columns in the New York Observer.
On the HBO series, Bradshaw is a New York City newspaper columnist, party girl, fashionista, and later, freelance writer for Vogue. Her weekly column, "Sex and the City," provides the title, story lines, and narration for each episode.
In 2005, Carrie Bradshaw was listed as number 11 on Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters.
Carrie writes a weekly column called "Sex and the City" for the fictional newspaper, The New York Star. The column focuses on Carrie's sexual escapades and those of her close friends, as well as musings about the relationships between men and women, dating, and New York. It provides Carrie with a certain amount of recognition in the city. People who read her column occasionally describe her as their icon. In the third season, her column is optioned for a film starring a fictionalized Matthew McConaughey. In the fifth season, some of her columns are compiled into a book.
At the end of season four, Carrie begins to write freelance articles for Vogue'. Although she initially has trouble dealing with Enid, her abrasive editor at Vogue, she does find her feet, and ends up befriending her.
She is an on-again, off-again smoker, and she enjoys cocktails (particularly Cosmopolitan—her character's fondness for them helped to popularize the drink), but she is, at heart, an old-fashioned girl, and is deeply romantic. She is on an endless search for true love, and refuses to settle for, as she puts it, "anything less than butterflies." Despite this, she repeatedly expresses doubts that she is the type to get married and raise a family.
Carrie is a resident of Manhattan, New York. She lives in a brownstone on the Upper East Side at the fictional house number of 245, on East 73rd Street, between Park and Madison. She lives in this apartment throughout the series, and buys it in the fourth season. In the initial episodes of the first season, Carrie's apartment is seen to be above a coffee shop somewhere near the vicinity of Madison Avenue. By approximately the fourth episode, the usual facade of a series of brownstones adjacent to hers is adopted, and remains that way throughout the series. The first episode also features a different apartment from the one used for the next 95 episodes, and the movie.
Little is mentioned about Carrie's life before the series, although she has been living in New York for about eighteen years. In the fourth season, around her 35th birthday, Carrie states that her relationship with the city is "about 18 years," implying she moved to New York when she was about 17 years old. It was confirmed in SATC2 that she moved to New York in June 1986, when she was around 20. She does not seem to have been from a particularly wealthy family, unlike her friend Charlotte York: we are told that when she first arrived in New York, she wore Candie's and took the subway. In SATC2 she appears to have sported the popular 80's Madonna-look. It is mentioned that her father left her and her mother when she was five; no siblings are ever mentioned. It is also revealed that Carrie had one abortion in the 1980s, after a one-night stand, when she was twenty-two years old. Though she had been dating for many years before meeting (and nicknaming) Mr. Big in the first episode of the series, he is her first true love, the man she thinks may be her soulmate. She tells Charlotte that she lost her virginity in Seth Bateman's smelly rec room on the ping pong table in the 11th grade. In Season 6 ("Boy Interrupted"), Carrie meets up with another boyfriend from high school named Jeremy (David Duchovny). They finally go "all the way," something they didn't do in high school. Carrie later finds out that Jeremy is headed back to a psychiatric clinic.
Carrie has been described as someone who "lives for fashion," and has confessed to buying Vogue instead of dinner. A known shoe lover with an affinity for expensive designer shoes (notably Manolo Blahniks, but also Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo), Carrie claims she has spent over $40,000 on shoes. Her pairs seem to average around $450-500, and it is implied that she has at least, if not more than, 100 unique pairs.
She frequently mixes kitschy vintage clothing with haute couture. It is mentioned that Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue are among her favorite places to shop. Carrie equates taking a boyfriend to meet her parents with taking a boyfriend to meet the sales assistants at Prada. Her friend Charlotte York claims that Carrie dragged her to eight shows at New York Fashion Week. Carrie once agreed to model for a charity fashion show (featuring both "real people" and models), on the condition that she could keep the outfit, a Dolce and Gabbana original. Carrie is also known to have worn Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Betsey Johnson, Chanel, Chloé, Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin, Fendi, Gianni Versace S.p.A., Givenchy, Gucci, Heatherette, Helmut Lang, Jean Paul Gaultier, Jeremy Scott, Louis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Missoni, Miu Miu, Moschino, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Sonia Rykiel, Vera Wang, and Vivienne Westwood, among others.
Carrie's incredible wardrobe appears to be entirely unaffordable for a writer on a modest income. Indeed, many of the people around her comment that she cannot afford her shopping addiction. Carrie occasionally maxes out credit cards, could not secure a loan on her own due to poor savings as a result of extensive shopping, and has admitted her "shoe needs" have accounted for most of her spending.
Carrie is particularly known for her addiction to shoes, calling it her "substance abuse problem" in the episode "Power of Female Sex" in Season One. Notable moments include an incident when she is mugged near West Broadway and the bandit makes off with her Manolo Blahnik pink suede strappy sandals that she purchased "half off at a sample sale!," adding that they are her favorite shoes.
"Mr. Big" (Chris Noth) appears in the first episode as a wealthy man who accidentally meets Carrie on the streets of Manhattan. Their relationship is a story arc running the length of the series. It should also be noted that her relationship with Big evolved throughout the length of the show. At the start, she was intimidated and awed by him. However, eventually Carrie and Big share a friendly and often passionate intimacy, yet Mr. Big remains (in producer Michael Patrick King's words), "always slightly out of reach." Mr. Big's name is never mentioned until the last episode of the 6th season, where it is revealed his name is John.
His full name is given as John James Preston in the movie. Carrie and Big, in a business fashion, decide to marry. However, just before the ceremony, Big becomes overwhelmed by the media attention and the number of guests, and changes his mind. Later, he comes to terms with his feelings, and wants to marry after all, but Carrie, hurt and betrayed, blocks all communication with him, and unknowingly ignores his love letters and apologetic emails. Finally, after certain events in the movie, they unintentionally meet, come to terms with each other, reaffirm their feelings, and privately marry (the way Carrie originally envisioned). After the wedding they have strap sex.
Manhattan furniture designer Aidan Shaw (John Corbett) is Carrie's next serious boyfriend after a breakup with Mr. Big. Carrie met him through her friend Stanford Blatch. Their first relationship ends when Carrie confesses, on Charlotte's first wedding day, that she had an affair with Mr. Big. Later in the series, Carrie and Aidan get back together and become engaged. However, the engagement is broken when Carrie discovers she is not ready to move on and marry him, and he is not willing to wait for her. During the sixth season premiere, Carrie runs into Aidan on the street. She discovers that he has married a fellow furniture designer, Cathy, and has a son named Tate (who is played by Sarah Jessica Parker's real-life son). The two agree to meet for coffee; Carrie states in voiceover that "there are some dates you cannot wait to keep, and there are some you both know you will never keep." With Aidan looking on, Carrie walks away, not looking back, and it is implied that they have finally come to terms with the pain they caused each other.
Following the end of her relationship with Aidan, Carrie begins to date Jack Berger (Ron Livingston), a writer with a mixed degree of success. She meets him while discussing her upcoming book at her publisher's (Amy Sedaris) office. He is a novelist, and feels insecure about Carrie's newfound success as a writer after her book goes international and she begins receiving high-sum royalties. After an initially rocky start (in which Berger must end his relationship with his unseen original girlfriend, Lauren), they form a rather playful relationship, and one that initially seems to make Carrie very happy. As Carrie's success begins to mount, and particularly after Berger's second novel is not picked up for publication, the relationship deteriorates, culminating in a 'break' between the two. Berger returns, professing his love for Carrie, and stating that he wishes to try again. However, he ends up leaving later, in the middle of the night. Berger breaks up with Carrie on a Post-it note which reads, "I'm sorry, I can't. Don't hate me." After this hasty departure, Berger is referenced in only one more episode—after Carrie runs into his friends at a bar, she regrets leaving Berger an angry message (through his friends), stating that his break-up method was rude and pathetic.
Next, Carrie meets and begins a relationship with Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov), in the sixth season. He is a rich, successful, and older Russian artist. Carrie enjoys the relationship, but problems arise when she discovers that he already has a daughter in her twenties, and he doesn't want to have any more children. Carrie feels forced to choose between a long-term relationship with Petrovsky, and the possibility of having children. She decides to stay in the relationship, despite mounting evidence that he will never be able to fully commit to her emotionally, as he is very self-involved, and even at one point claims that Carrie is "not his friend, she is his lover."
He asks Carrie to leave her job and life in New York and move with him to Paris. After some degree of convincing, she accepts, but is disappointed and confused upon her arrival. She doesn't speak French fluently, and Petrovsky often leaves her alone in order to tend to his own career. In the An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux, Carrie leaves Aleksandr for "Mr. Big," and returns with Mr. Big to New York.
- Sex and the City (a collection of her columns)
- A Single Life
- Love Letters
- I Do! Do I?