With the Sex and the City revival on the way, there’s no better time to take a look back at a timeline of Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) life, including the men and moments that made her a cultural icon. Sex and the City aired for six seasons on HBO (1998-2004), chronicling the lives of four best friends, Carrie, Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), and Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall).  The series spawned a short-lived prequel series, two feature-length movies, and filming is underway on the revival entitled “And Just Like That …”

Sex and the City resonated with single women who had never seen themselves portrayed talking candidly about sex and dating. The series became a cultural phenomenon putting cosmopolitans, and Manolo Blahniks on the map. Carrie was at the epicenter of the action, serving as the narrator as she and her friends dealt with hookups, breakups, marriage, divorce, motherhood, and health issues. Men came and went and came again, but the most important relationships were the friendships between the main characters.

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In January 2021, HBO Max announced its plans for 10 half-hour episodes entitled “And Just Like That …” The omission of Kim Cattrall’s character, who put most of the sex in Sex and the City, has squashed some of the excitement over the revival, and fans have been speculating how the show will handle Samantha’s absence. Many fan favorites are returning, and the series will infuse more diversity with new additions Sarita Choudhury, Nicole Ari Parker, Karen Pittman, and Sara Ramirez as the show’s first non-binary character. In July, Page Six reported that in the reboot, Carrie and Big will be in the midst of an ugly divorce; information obtained from “an exclusive glimpse at the script.” The Sex and the City revival story arc hasn’t been confirmed, but Big and Carrie have a long, tumultuous history. Here’s a look at a timeline of their relationship as well as other key moments in Carrie’s Sex and the City journey.

Season 1

Sex and the City’s pilot aired on June 6, 1998, during which Carrie bumps into Mr. Big on the street, leading to a series of chance encounters. Episode 6, “Secret Sex,” is full of firsts: Big and Carrie’s first date, the first time they have sex, and the debut of Carrie’s iconic picture on the side of the M5 bus.

Season 1 chronicles Carrie’s yearlong relationship with Big. After Big fails to introduce Carrie to his mother as his girlfriend, Carrie realizes that after dating for a year, he hasn’t mentioned her to his mother at all. Carrie asks him if he thinks she could be “the one,” When he refuses to give her the validation she needs, Carrie breaks up with him in the season 1 finale.

Season 2

Season 2 picks up one month after Carrie and Big’s break up. The two reconnect when Carrie invites him to her birthday party. They begin casually dating in episode 5, “Four Women and a Funeral,” and officially get back together in episode 6, “The Cheating Curve,” but Carrie continues to struggle to get Big to commit. He finally tells her he loves her in episode 10, “The Caste System.” When Big announces in episode 12, “La Douleur Exquise!” that he might have to move to Paris for work, the couple breaks up for the second time after another year together.

Carrie runs into Big the following summer in the Hamptons. He’s with his new (and much younger) girlfriend Natasha Naginsky, a young woman he met during his five months in Paris. In episode 18, “Ex and the City.” Big reveals to Carrie he’s engaged.

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Season 3

In episode 3, “Attack of the Five-Foot-Ten Woman,” Carrie learns Big and Natasha recently married after reading about their wedding in The New York Times. In episode 5, “No Ifs, And, or Butts,” Carrie meets furniture designer Aidan Shaw, but the romance almost ends before it begins when Aidan reveals he doesn’t date smokers. Carrie decides Aidan may be worth quitting for, and the two begin dating. After five weeks together, Mr. Big reenters the picture, showing up at Carrie’s apartment frantic to talk to her but unclear about what he wants to say. She sends him home to his wife only to run into him again in episode 8, “Easy Come, Easy Go.” A drunk Big tells Carrie his marriage isn’t working, and he’s looking to get out. He pursues Carrie, and the two begin an affair that lasts for several weeks. Carrie is conflicted about her feelings for Aidan, confiding in Samantha (Kim Cattrall) about and her lingering love for the married Big, who offers to tell Natasha as long as Carrie promises to be there for him in the aftermath. After Natasha catches Carrie in her and Big’s apartment, Carrie ends the affair. Carrie confesses to Aidan that she cheated on him, and he breaks up with her.

Two months after Carrie’s affair with Big, she learns from Samantha that Big and Natasha are getting a divorce. Big calls Carrie asking her out to lunch, and her decision to accept his invitation causes her first argument with Miranda, who refuses to endure any more Big drama. However, Carrie and Big’s reunion provides Carrie with a moment of clarity: their romantic relationship is over and evolving into something else, although she isn’t sure what it is.

Season 4

Carrie turns 35 in the series 4 premiere (Samantha, the eldest of the foursome, doesn’t reveal her age until season 6) and laments that she’s still single. She rekindles her romance with Aidan six months after their breakup. When Carrie learns her building his going co-op, Aidan offers to buy her apartment and suggests moving in together. In the same episode, “Just Say Yes”, Carrie finds an engagement ring in Aidan’s overnight bag. Carrie agrees to live with Aidan, and when Aidan gets down on one knee, Carrie accepts his proposal despite having doubts. Carrie is reluctant to make wedding plans or even wear her engagement ring, and Aidan pushes her to commit, revealing that he still doesn’t trust her because of her affair with Big. Aidan gives Carrie an ultimatum: move forward or go their separate ways. After spending one last night together in the apartment they were meant to share, Aidan moves out in episode 16, “Ring a Ding Ding.”

In addition to losing the man she loves, Carrie struggles to find the money to buy back her apartment. Charlotte loans Carrie the money for her downpayment, making Carrie officially a homeowner. To supplement her income, Carrie begins to freelance for Vogue. As the air turns chillier, Carrie reaches out to Big and learns that he’s moving to Napa, California, to go into the wine business.

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Season 5

The season 5 premiere of Sex and the City alludes to the terrorist attack on 9/11 and focuses on Carrie’s ongoing albeit sometimes rocky love affair with NYC. The women are excited for Fleet Week, which actually takes place in May. However, given that Miranda is still a new mom who gave birth in the Fall of the previous season, its inclusion is just a way to pay homage to the city and the military while giving the women an excuse to flirt with cute sailors.

Carrie’s love life takes a backseat to her career, and two ambitious female editors approach her about writing a book: a compilation of her favorite columns aptly titled “Sex and the City.” They hope to fast-track the book and get it on bookshelves by the holidays. In episode 5, “Plus One is the Loneliest Number,” as Carrie prepares for her book launch party, she meets novelist Jack Berger who she invites to be her plus one, only to find out he has a serious girlfriend. In the season finale, as Carrie comes to terms that she’s blown her shot at a romance for the year, she reconnects with the newly single Berger.

Season 6

In the Part 1 premiere, Carrie runs into Aidan, who she hasn’t seen since they ended their engagement 16 months earlier. She learns he’s married and has a baby son named Tate. Carrie and Berger begin dating seriously, but while Berger’s career is on a downward trajectory, Carrie’s publishers sell her book in Paris, earning her a $25 thousand advance and a fan following overseas. Their relationship ends when Berger breaks up with Carrie via a Post-It in episode 7, “The Post-It Always Sticks Twice.”

In Part 2 of season 6, 38-year-old Carrie becomes involved with famed artist Aleksandr Petrovsky. When Petrovsky prepares to move back to Paris to open his latest exhibit, he invites Carrie to move with him. Carrie gives up her column and prepares to say goodbye to her friends and New York. Big shows up finally ready to commit in the season’s penultimate episode, “An American Girl in Paris (Part Une),” and Carrie tells him it’s too late. Paris doesn’t live up to the hype as Petrovsky abandons Carrie in favor of his work, and Carrie immediately begins to regret her decision. In the series finale, Carrie breaks up with Aleksandr, and Big arrives in Paris and declares his love for Carrie, saying to her the words she longed to hear in season 1: she’s the one. Carrie moves back to NYC, and a phone call from Big not only reveals his first name is John (John James Preston), and he’s returning to the East Coast to be with Carrie.

Sex and the City (The Movie)

Three years and three books after the events of the series finale and 10 total years as a couple, Big and Carrie decide to get married. The groom gets cold feet, leaving Carrie at the altar. She refuses to speak to him and spends the next year making self-improvements. She colors her hair brown, hires an assistant, and gives her beloved Upper East Side apartment a makeover. After freezing out John James Preston for a year, she discovers months’ worth of love letters in her inbox, the two reunite, Big proposes, and the twosome ties the knot in an understated courthouse ceremony in 2008.

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Sex and The City 2

As Carrie and Big celebrate their second wedding anniversary, Carrie’s latest fifth book, I Do! Do I? is released. Carrie and Big’s marriage is tested when Big suggests the couple take time away from each other every week. Carrie takes off for Abu Dhabi with her girlfriends, where she runs into her former fiance Aidan for the first time since their awkward season 6 encounter seven years earlier. The two have dinner and share a kiss. Carrie tells Big, and when she returns to NYC, he gives her a wedding ring, asking her to wear it every day as a reminder that she’s married. So after 12 years, three proposals, one almost wedding, and one actual wedding, a man finally gets a ring on Carrie’s finger. And just like that, viewers are left waiting for the next installment of Sex and the City to air on HBO Max to find out what’s in store for Carrie.

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