The proud mother is herself one of eight children. Parker's father, Stephen, left the family when she was a year old (she had three older siblings); two years later, her mother, Barbara, married Paul Forste—a theater student who later, among other jobs, worked as a stage manager and a teacher—and had four more children. Though money was scarce, Parker's mother encouraged her kids' acting ambitions and moved the family to New York when Sarah was 11.
Two years later, Sarah won a role in the Broadway musical Annie , and in 1979 she took over the lead. In 1982 she got a national audience as a brainy nerd on the sitcom Square Pegs . More than 20 movies followed, including Footloose , L.A. Story , and Honeymoon in Vegas . She dated Robert Downey Jr. for seven years, and in the early 1990s she briefly dated John F. Kennedy Jr. before meeting Broderick; they married in 1997.
Then came Sex and the City , her HBO hit that exploded onto the scene in 1998. Sarah's character, Carrie Bradshaw, along with friends Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), redefined singleness by showing us smart, witty, romantic, lusty women.
Spend 20 seconds with Sarah, and you understand why she has dazzled audiences for six seasons and picked up a few prizes along the way (three consecutive Golden Globes, four Emmy nominations, and a Screen Actors Guild Award). Her ebullience overflows to everyone around her. With the show's ending very much on her mind, Sarah talked to me about acting, producing (she's an executive producer of Sex and plans to tackle movies), married life, motherhood—and finding challenges that terrify and thrill her.
Start reading Oprah's interview with Sarah Jessica Parker
Note: This interview appeared in the March 2004 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.