The actress’s first TV series, Square Pegs, was about nerds who wanted to fit into a high-school clique. Years later, Parker (right, with Amy Linker) would form the ultimate cool-girls foursome with her SATC pals.
Parker (whose ’80s hair was so big it practically needed its own zip code) had a seven-year relationship with Downey that was undone by his drug use. "I thought, Well, I’ll help him,’ " she has said. "Addiction didn’t seem like something that would impose itself on us. I was very wrong." (Downey finally got sober after court-ordered drug treatment and began his career comeback in 2003.)
She played a blithe spirit-and showed off her spectacular figure-in L.A. Story, a comedy of West Coast mores starring Steve Martin. When Martin tells her character, SanDeE* (no, that’s not a typo), that "your breasts feel weird," she cheerfully replies, "That’s because they’re real."
SJP met her future husband in 1992. Here, she’s refining her red-carpet look at the opening night of the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, in which Broderick starred. (She joined him later in the show’s run, replacing Megan Mullally.)
At this point Parker has become a full-fledged fashion risk-taker, donning a belly-baring two-piece for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which she attended with her Sex and the City costars, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis. The actresses were nominated for the first time for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy.
For the New York premiere of the first Sex and the City film, Parker (with Jennifer Hudson) wore a fairy-tale gown by Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci. "This entire dress weighed about a quarter of an ounce," she marveled. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that Parker wasn’t the first woman to step out in the design; it had made an appearance several weeks earler on Lauren Santo Domingo at the Met Ball. "In the big picture, this is not important," Parker has said. "But what they did was so short-sighted. It’s just unethical and disappointing." Especially when the dress was going to be showcased at such a high-profile premiere.