Carrie and Big’s Relationship Involved Many, Many Breakups
Carrie Bradshaw and John Preston (aka Mr. Big) had a rocky romance from beginning to end. A look at the 'Sex and the City' couple's relationship.
Some relationships are destined to thrive, while others take a little more time to bloom. The latter was the case for Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and the love of her life, John “Mr. Big” Preston (Chris Noth). Carrie and Big’s romance started in HBO’s Sex and the City, from Season 1 until the iconic series’ second act, And Just Like That.
Many rooted for Big and Carrie to be together for over two decades, while others felt the stylish writer could do much better. As we think back to one of TV’s most toxic couples’ origin stories, we can’t help but wonder: How did Carrie and Big make it to happily ever after?
Gear up, SATC fans, because we’re getting into Carrie and Big’s relationship timeline. And along the way, we’re sharing some of our favorite quotes that led to their being endgame, at least for a little while.
'Sex and the City' Season 1: “Just tell me I’m the one” — Carrie to Big
Carrie and Big's relationship in Sex and the City starts with a chance encounter in New York City when Big helps Carrie pick up her purse filled with condoms. Big quickly makes a lasting impression when Carrie asks him if he’s “ever been in love,” and he replies, “Abso-f---ing-lutely.”
After meeting again at a party, they begin dating and face ups and downs throughout the first season, including a pregnancy scare. Carrie's insecurities also lead her to spy on Big and introduce herself to his first wife without his knowledge.
During the Season 1 finale, Carrie asks Big to “tell me I’m the one” after he refuses to introduce her to his mother. But she ends their relationship when he hesitates, marking their first of many breakups.
Season 2: “Your girl is lovely, Hubbell” — Carrie to Big
In Season 2, Carrie and Mr. Big are reunited in Episode 5 when he sends flowers for her birthday, leading to reconciliation and a brief period of dinners and second chances. In Episode 12, they argue when he takes a job in Paris without considering Carrie, prompting her to throw a bag of McDonald's at him.
Carrie attempts to move on with other men throughout the season but crosses paths with Big again in the Hamptons, where she discovers he is now involved with a younger woman named Natasha (Bridget Moynahan).
Despite trying to be friends, Carrie realizes Natasha is not just his girlfriend but his future wife, leaving her devastated. She confides in her friends and concludes that Big chose Natasha because she embodies a softer and more compliant image.
Their paths cross again at Big's engagement party, where Carrie references The Way We Were and tells him, "Your girl is lovely, Hubbell." When Big tells her, “I don’t get it,” Carrie reminds him, “You never did.” Mic. Drop.
Season 3: “We’re so over, we need a new word for over” — Carrie to Big
In Season 3, Carrie's romantic relationship with Big is non-existent as he married Natasha. Carrie turns her attention to Aidan Shaw (John Corbett), the opposite of Big regarding kindness and consideration. However, Big reappears in Carrie's life and confesses his intention to leave his marriage.
Despite pretending not to care, Carrie sleeps with Big in a hotel, sparking an affair. Their secret rendezvous is discovered by Carrie's friends and Natasha, who confronts Carrie at her and Big's home. Ultimately, Carrie declares her relationship with Big over and later confesses the affair to Aidan, resulting in his breaking up with her. Thus, Carrie finds herself without either of the men she loves.
Season 4: “If you’re tired, you take a Napa, you don’t move to Napa!” — Carrie to Big
After the affair that rocked the world (at least in the early aughts), Carrie and Big are strictly platonic. He and Natasha divorce, and Carrie ends up getting back with Aidan. However, Carrie still yearns to have Big in her life and eventually convinces him and Aidan to at least be cordial.
Aidan and Carrie can’t get their relationship back on track. The pair gets engaged in Season 4, but Carrie isn’t ready to commit to a wedding. Soon, Aidan moves out and nearly leaves her unhoused when she bought her apartment building, and Big steps in and offers Carrie the money.
In the Season 4 finale, “I Heart NY,” Big tells Carrie he’s leaving New York for California. When he tells her he wants a quiet life in Napa, Carrie scolds him and says, “If you’re tired, you take a Napa; you don’t move to Napa!”
Carrie also reminds Big he’s the “Chrysler Building,” and there’s no New York without the Chrysler Building. Nonetheless, Big still leaves, but not without buying Carrie a ticket to see him whenever she wants.
Season 5: “I had no idea I hurt you so much. I gotta say, it was tough to see it in print” — Big to Carrie
Season 5 shows Big and Carrie adjusting to their new normal as long-distance “friends.” Fans don’t get to see Big much this season, but when Carrie needs some nighttime lovin’, she thinks of her ex.
In Season 5, Episode 7, “The Big Journey,” Carrie and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) travel to San Francisco for Carrie’s book signing. She plans on calling up Big once they arrive, but to her surprise, he comes to the event. After kicking Samantha out of their hotel, Carrie invites Big up, but not before they discuss her book at dinner.
During dinner, Big reads through some of Carrie’s excerpts from the book. He admits he “had no idea that I hurt you so much” and tells his ex that seeing his mistakes “in print” was “tough.” Carrie assures Big she is over the pain, but he spends the rest of the night in the hotel obsessing over his guilt.
The next day, a sexually frustrated Carrie prepares for her subsequent signing. But, lying beside her in bed, he pulls her in to give her what she traveled stateside for, telling her she’ll need “material” for the next book.
Season 6: “You’re the one” — Big to Carrie
In Season 6, Carrie begins dating a fellow writer, Jack Berger (Ron Livingston), but she still isn’t through with her ex. Before Carrie and Berger make things official, she and Big have occasional phone sex.
After the breakup with Berger (via Post-it!!!), she and Big reunite in Season 6, Episode 11, “The Domino Effect.” While she's nursing Big's open-heart surgery, Big finally seems ready to commit to Carrie. But his feelings shift once he feels better, and Carrie decides they are better friends.
Toward the end of the series, Carrie meets a famous artist, Alexander Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov). Alexander and Carrie’s courtship is a dream come true, and he eventually asks her to move to Paris with him, the same place Big had abandoned her years ago. Carrie accepts Alexander’s invitation but soon discovers that life in Paris isn’t exactly what she wants.
Meanwhile, Big is guilty of pushing Carrie away for six years. Although Carrie warned him to leave her alone before she left New York, he reaches out to Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and tells them he would do anything to win her back. Miranda, who has always been the couple’s most prominent critic, tells Big to “go get our girl.”
With Miranda and the girls’ blessing, Big searches through Paris for Carrie. When they see each other in the hotel lobby, Big hands Carrie her namesake necklace and assures her, “Carrie, you’re the one,” a callback to Carrie asking him to say those exact words in Season 1. Then, Carrie returns to New York, with her beau, John (Mr. Big’s real name), by her side.
'Sex and the City’ the movie: “Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours” — Big to Carrie
In 2008, Sex and the City returned, this time on the big screen. The movie is set a few years after the finale and shows Carrie and Big finally deciding to get married. Unfortunately, the couple hits a roadblock when Big gets cold feet on their wedding day.
Although he tries to go through with the wedding, Carrie ends the relationship by throwing her bouquet at him in her Vivienne Westwood gown. Fortunately, they find their way back to each other when Carrie uncovers Big’s apology emails he wrote to her during their time apart.
When they reunite at home, Big buys for them and proposes to her again, this time with a decadent pair of blue Manolo Blahniks. Instead of a massive wedding as planned, the longtime couple say “I do” in a courthouse. As they kiss, Big whispers to Carrie, “Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours.”
‘Sex and the City 2’: “Me and you, just us two” — Carrie to Big
Carrie and Big's marriage faced challenges in Sex and the City 2 as they fell into monotonous routines, leaving Carrie bored. However, during a getaway to Abu Dhabi with Samantha and the other girls, Carrie unexpectedly runs into Aidan, her former lover.
Aidan and Carrie share a kiss, causing Carrie to feel guilty and immediately call Big to confess. Although hurt, Big attributes the infidelity to Carrie's lack of previous marriage experience. To reaffirm their commitment, Big gifts Carrie an engagement ring with a unique black diamond, symbolizing her uniqueness.
Carrie pledges to remain faithful, and when discussing the absence of children in their household, Big assures her that their dynamic is already "too much" to handle, even without kids.
‘And Just Like That’ Season 1: “I’m Just looking at You” — Big to Carrie
Six seasons of SATC and two movies later, the sequel series And Just Like That opens with Big and Carrie FINALLY finding their groove as a couple. The lovers are equally invested in making their marriage work and even laugh about all the drama they had over the years. Sadly, the first episode is the last time fans see the couple together.
In another scene of the AJLT pilot, Carrie gets ready for Charlotte’s daughter Lily's (Cathy Ang) piano recital. As she says goodbye to Big, Carrie asks why he’s staring at her. The suave businessman replies, “I’m just looking at you,” while smoking a pre-workout cigar.
When Carrie leaves, Big begins his workout on his Peloton. While Carrie enjoys Lily’s playing, Big starts to have a heart attack and gasps for air until he collapses off the bike. Hours later, Carrie finds Big fighting for his life as she tries to save her husband. Carrie eventually calls 911 (though fans don’t see it), but it is too late. Big dies in their home, confirming the end of his and Carrie’s era.
Although Carrie and Big didn’t get their happy ending in life, they loved each other until the very end.