Sarah Jessica Parker Talks Her Love of Billy Joel Music, Her Husband Matthew Broderick, and Taking the New York City Subway

“And Just Like That...” star also tells Howard about Kim Cattrall and John Corbett both returning to the Max series in Season 2

June 29, 2023
Photo: The Howard Stern Show

Even though Sarah Jessica Parker was born and mostly raised in southeastern Ohio, she’s a New Yorker through and through. Look no further than her deep love for repeat Stern Show guest, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and Long Island son Billy Joel. “I can’t really convey how I feel about Billy Joel, I’ve tried to talk about it a million ways,” the actress admitted to Howard Wednesday morning in her Stern Show return. “I wrote letters to Billy Joel when I was a little girl … I know every word to every single song, I love him.”

Citing albums like his 1971 debut “Cold Spring Harbor,” Parker spoke about being drawn to Joel’s honesty in his work. “He’s been really open about being human, and he seems to be rather transparent about his shortcomings — he’s a very human person and he’s so available,” she said of the Piano Man. “Also, I think he’s like a citizen of New York, you know, in a way you just feel like … he’s somebody that maybe you could have lived down the street from — I never did, unfortunately.”

In her first sit-down with Howard since 2016, the actress spoke candidly about everything from her courtship with husband Matthew Broderick to the “Sex and the City” franchise – including its “And Just Like That…” revival, and her friendship with Stern Show regular Andy Cohen.

Sarah Jessica Parker Drives an Old Station Wagon and Takes the Subway

Growing up far from the glitz and glamor seen on “Sex and the City” in a working-class family in Ohio, Sarah began her professional acting career at an early age – something she is eternally grateful for. “I’m glad that I learned to work hard early and that I have like a work ethic that I can rely on, and discipline, and that it’s expected of me,” she told Howard. “I think it served me well to be somebody who cared about that, and also to be mindful of money and not have blown through it for ridiculous things that don’t add up.”

Case in point — her car, a 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon. “That’s my favorite car I’ve ever had in my life,” Parker said, noting her inaugural ride in it was with Jerry Seinfeld on “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” “It’s a beautiful, absolutely exquisite boat.”

When Parker isn’t in the wagon, she can often be found getting around New York City on the subway. “I took it all day yesterday,” she boasted before echoing the sentiment Andy Cohen told Howard recently. “99 percent of the time, the fastest way to get there is the train.”

In fact, the actress is quite comfortable with the form of transportation, even with its quirks. “I’ve seen it all, I think I’ve seen what most people see who are regulars, which is people going to the bathroom, people clipping their nails … people finding pleasure,” she revealed before explaining what she does when she’s inevitably gets recognized and asked for a photo. “Sometimes I’ll say … the government doesn’t let me take a picture … I’m always really nice, but I tell them, ‘I’m terrible at selfies … but what’s your name? How are you?’”

Falling in Love With Matthew

It was also in New York City where Sarah fell in love with her husband of 26 years, Matthew Broderick. Having been told about one another by writer and director Andrew Bergman, who had worked with both stars, the two happened to meet during a group outing for pizza and the Robin Williams film “The Fisher King.” “We were both seeing other people, so it was illegal, and we stayed away from one another,” she confessed. “We understood that we had to do right by the other people and break up officially.”

Once things became “legal,” Parker and Broderick never looked back. “We had our first official date on March 8 of 1992 and we’ve been together ever since,” she remembered. “We’ve never spent a night apart since then, with the exception of work on location, or his mother was ill for a bit so he went to take care of her, but from that first night we’ve never been apart.”

For Sarah, who was such a fan of Matthew’s that she had seen all of his films, she knew early on he was the one. “I liked his person very much. He’s so smart, he’s so funny, I like this choice of friends, the way he was living in New York, what was important to him, how he kind of traveled around the city,” she said, recalling his penchant for riding messenger bikes with no brakes and holding onto busses. “Really smart and really talented and he was, I thought, so beautiful and handsome and charming.”

It also didn’t hurt that he was a hometown boy. “I love being home in New York,” Sarah declared. “I wanted to build a life here and he was born and raised in the West Village, literally — he’s never lived north of 11th Street.”

Being Friends With Andy

Another relationship Sarah built in New York was with Andy Cohen, whom she’s known since he was a segment producer at CBS News. “We really did watch him build a career, you don’t see somebody build a career in front of your eyes like this,” she said of her old friend. “I love Andy … we’re working on 25, 26 years now of a real friendship, and we’ve come a long way.”

Though they had a casual connection thanks to mutual friends, their bond grew gradually. “I’d drag him to a theater or a restaurant deep in Chinatown that he’d try to understand, but those are those kinds of experiences that eventually, you’re in a room with him, and you don’t have to talk, and he’s that friend that’s real,” the actress explained.

In fact, the friends are so close, they’re now neighbors in both Manhattan and Long Island. I can see him from my house out east and now I can stand outside and see him from my apartment in New York City,” Parker said, even noting her daughter is a babysitter to Andy’s son, Ben. “It’s kind of a bonus, like some kind of wonderful thing that happened.”

Aging in Hollywood

After parts in films including “Footloose” and “Firstborn,” Parker scored a role in “L.A. Story,” starring Steve Martin. “I was so nervous,” she admitted of doing a screen test with the actor and comedian. “I loved him. I mean, we grew up … watching him on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ buying his records, listening to him, and then watching how he works.”

She saw the opportunity as a message from the star. “When I was cast in ‘L.A. Story,’ it was as if Steve Martin was saying, ‘I think you’re attractive, you can play these kinds of parts,” she explained to Howard.

On the subject of her looks, the actress was humble. “I don’t really like looking at myself … I mean, I think I’m fine,” she said, before joking about why she hasn’t had any major cosmetic surgery. “People would be like, ‘Well, you not only look rested, you look like an entirely different human being.’”

However, Parker is sympathetic to those who do elect to get work done. “I do understand why people make the choice, because there is so much emphasis put on … primarily women about looks,” she noted. “I think people should do whatever makes them feel better walking out the door.”

Her One Concern With ‘Sex & the City’

Sarah was already a certified movie star before taking on “Sex and the City,” which debuted on HBO in 1998. When creator Darren Star began working on the project, he had her in mind. “I thought the script was really interesting, and really exciting, and different, and fresh, and I’d never seen anything like that,” Parker said of her first impression, before noting her one apprehension. “The only thing I said to him that I was concerned about was that I just didn’t feel comfortable doing nudity, and I suspected that if it wasn’t in the pilot, it would be a part of a series.”

Star’s response put the actress at ease. “He said, ‘Don’t do it then … we’ll have other actors, if they feel comfortable doing it they’ll do it, but you do not have to.’”

When asked why she didn’t want to do onscreen nudity, Sarah pointed to bashfulness. “I think I just never felt comfortable exposing myself that way,” she admitted to Howard. “I never had any judgements about anybody else doing it, it wasn’t like a morality thing … I was shy.”

Despite the show being on a premium network, Parker also was selective when it came to foul language. “We were on HBO, and I knew that meant we could say anything we wanted, and we could be loose, and liberal, and salty, and ribald,” she explained. “But I also thought therefore it meant we had to be disciplined, and we shouldn’t just use language because we could. And Carrie Bradshaw’s a writer, and she’s really, really, really thoughtful about what she says, how she says it, when she says it, who’s she saying it to, and if we want to use language, let’s be really thoughtful about when she uses it, we can be smart about it.”

Coming from film, another hurdle to overcome was the perceived monotony. “All I knew really about television was that you had to sign a seven-year contract, and you showed up every day, and you did 28 episodes a year … and it scared me,” Parker confessed. “And then I went to work the first day of the first season of the first episode and it happened to be two blocks from my house, so I walked from my house, went to the set, never looked back.”

The Return of Kim Cattrall & John Corbett

In “And Just Like That…,” entering its second season, Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw character is a podcast host who becomes intimate with her producer.

“I have sex with Gary regularly,” Howard joked of the premise, referencing longtime executive producer Gary Dell’Abate. “He’s sexual as hell.”

Carrie’s workplace relationship might have an expiration date, however, due to the return of actor John Corbett as Aidan, Carrie’s former love interest. “It’s an affectionate relationship,” Sarah said of their connection. “They’re very physical, those two.”

Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha Jones, also returns in a cameo this season. “Just a little chef’s kiss,” Parker said of the appearance. “It’s very happy.”

Rather than putting out the season in bulk like other streaming services, Max will be releasing an episode a week. “Like old-fashioned TV,” Sarah noted, before adding with a laugh, “And then they’ll just accumulate, like scar tissue.”

Season 2 of “And Just Like That…” is streaming now on Max.

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