Was Natasha Ever Really the Villain of Sex and the City?

Bridget Moynahan doesn't think so.

hbo max's "and just like that" new york premiere
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When Bridget Moynahan was asked to reprise her role as Big's ex-wife, Natasha, in the new HBO Max revival, And Just Like That..., the actress had no hesitations.

"I got a call from Michael Patrick King sometime in the spring about considering me coming back, and I said, 'Yes—whatever you want me to do!'" Moynahan tells BAZAAR.com. "When I first read the role, I just started laughing out loud. You know, I've been on a one-hour drama [Bluebloods on CBS] for the last 12 years. On my first day of shooting, watching Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon playing together, and noticing Natasha upstairs in her building, and how playful they were, how joyful they were—I was getting a front-row seat to the energy and the brilliance of Sex and the City."

Moynahan makes her return in the third episode of the series, when Carrie discovers that her—spoiler alert—late husband has left $1 million to his ex. The gesture causes Carrie to spiral in her signature fashion, and she essentially stalks Natasha all over the city—and the Internet. Carrie not only emails Natasha asking to meet in person, but follows up via direct message on Instagram, where she swiftly gets blocked. Oh, and she also pays a visit to Natasha's workplace, where her assistant politely explains, "Natasha can't meet with you today. She's in Rome." (Natasha is not in Rome.)

The episode ends with Carrie unexpectedly bumping into Natasha at an Upper West Side coffee shop (while she's using the toilet in a public bathroom, no less). The women can no longer avoid each other, so they have a catharsis of sorts with Carrie apologizing (again) for the harm she caused Natasha by having an affair with Big and Natasha admitting she never understood why Big married her. The scene—though comical—also demonstrates that Natasha and Carrie have changed in different ways: Natasha has moved on, while Carrie, still grieving, of course, is stuck in the past.

"I think that Natasha has moved on with her life—gotten remarried and had children and has a complete life, possibly a version of the life that she had thought she was going to have with Big," Moynahan says. "What's nice about when she and Carrie come together is that they finally have somewhat of a heart-to-heart. And that moment when Natasha is able to say to her, 'I don't know why he ever married me, because he was always in love with you'—it's Natasha's realization and work and therapy over the years. I don't think she's confused about it at all. And to give that to Carrie is a really wonderful gift for them both."

natasha sex and the city
Bridget Moynahan filming And Just Like That... in New York City.
GothamGetty Images

For fans of the original show, the scene raises an important question: Were we too hard on Natasha?

Natasha Naginsky was easily one of the most underrated characters in the Sex and the City universe. While viewers could often relate to the metropolitan antics of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte, Natasha always remained out of reach. She was a model-esque fashion industry executive, as stunning as she was intimidating. When Mr. Big became enamored with her following his first big breakup with Carrie, the show positioned her as the polished polar opposite of our favorite scrappy columnist.

During the initial run of the series, it was hard not to root for Carrie during the ups and downs of her romance with Big. Looking back, however, especially through a 2021 lens, it may be time we give the character of Natasha a little more credit. Why did it have to be Carrie vs. Natasha? Why did Big get away with being such an absolute indecisive prick?

"This generation thinks differently than the generation that existed when the show was coming out," Moynahan says. "At the time, and for few years afterwards, I heard comments from people and fans who were really protective of Carrie, even though she was the one having an affair with my husband. They didn't really see it from that point of view. They didn't see the wrong in that situation, because they liked Charlotte and Miranda and Carrie—they protected their girls no matter what."

natasha sex and the city and just like that
Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie and Bridget Moynahan as Natasha in And Just Like That....

Moynahan has never taken the Natasha discourse personally. "The fans love all these characters, and they became so involved in their lives—and now there's a whole new group of people who are getting invested in this story and going back and watching from the beginning," she says. "I'm so happy that they're addressing issues that we deal with in this age group, too—death and divorce and sickness, or questioning relationships or changing career paths or whatever it is in age. It's nice that they're not shying away from anything."

She adds, "It's a testament to the creators, the writers, even the stylists and the actors—they have all put so much into this show. And they've created an incredible fan base from every angle. The fans are committed—they're laughing and cheering and crying and participating in every moment with the characters. It's a phenomenon."

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