Sarah Jessica Parker became a household name portraying a famous single gal living a glamorous city life in the HBO hit series “Sex and the City,” but her real-life reality involves balancing three children, a husband and a career that spans from actress to entrepreneur to fashion designer.
“It’s complicated and it’s basically everything I ever wanted,” Parker said today on “Good Morning America” of her life with actor Matthew Broderick, her husband since 1997, their eight-year-old son, James Wilkie and two-year-old twins, Marion and Tabitha.
Carrie Bradshaw, the single, Manolo Bhlanik-obsessed, self-involved character she famously played on “Sex and the City,” the 46-year-old actress is not.
It’s her latest role as Kate Reddy, a mom struggling to balance work and motherhood, in her new movie, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” that rings true to Parker’s own reality.
“To play a person like Kate Reddy who is, in many ways, more resonant relative to my life has been a really nice experience ,” she said. “It seemed like an ideal departure to make and something that I thought could also connect with women in an entirely different way.”
The movie, based on Allison Pearson’s 2002 best-selling novel of the same name, casts Parker as Reddy, a successful financial executive who finds herself struggling to juggle a stressful career with a chaotic home life with her husband, played by Greg Kinnear, and their two kids.
Parker describes the movie, set to open in theaters across the U.S. Sept. 16, as a “portrait of modern parenthood.”
“It’s really a portrait of what it’s like to be a parent in these specific times, in this economic climate and how we are all, whether you work inside the home or outside the home , on this very noble search, this endeavor, this pursuit for balance,” Parker told “GMA.”
Parker’s own “pursuit for balance” began with the birth of her son, James, eight years ago, just as she found success onscreen with “Sex and the City” and grew that success into her own production company, her own design label and three different perfumes.
“It’s most difficult at the most surprising moments,” she said of motherhood. “You plan to be away and it’s a finite period of time and you can make sense of it and then something happens and you have to leave unexpectedly, say to go out for a work thing, that you didn’t plan and all of a sudden that’s the moment that breaks you. ”
“It’s surprising the things that are painful or the things that you feel the most conflict about, or these measures of guilt that show up,” she said. “It’s like Jenga. It’s a house of cards.”
Parker’s pursuit to balance work and home became even more “wonderfully complicated,” as she describes it, two years ago when she, Broderick and James welcomed twin daughters, Tabitha and Marion, born via surrogate.
“They’re a delight, they’re challenging, they’re two. And there’s two of them.”" she said. “It’s, as one character says, I think directly from the novel, ‘Mothers are the traffic controllers of this amazing, complicated traffic space.”
Despite keeping busy with kids and new movie roles that place her beyond the single life, Parker says she misses her days on the “Sex and the City” set.
“I love the stories we got to tell but I think I miss the people,” Parker said of the series that ended in 2006 and was followed by two movies. “I miss the familiarity of those 200 people that I spent 12 years with shooting on the streets of New York the way we did, and playing somebody who was not familiar to me personally, but was so intimate with me in a lot of ways.”
Not content to look back, Parker sees her new role as the next step in her career, and life, and a continuation of the bond she formed with the millions of fans who tuned into “Sex and the City” each week to live vicariously through Carrie her exploits with friends, men and shoes.
“I feel an enormous sense of gratitude to this audience that has been with me for a while,” Parker said. “So I feel like I get to tell another story for women.”