Mr. Big (John James Preston) (born April 7, 1955) is a fictional character in the HBO series Sex and the City, portrayed by Chris Noth. The character's name is revealed in the series prior to the last episode. His last name isn't disclosed in the series. Sex and the City: The Movie finally reveals his full name to be John James Preston. He is the primary on-and-off love interest of the series' protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw, who usually simply refers to him as "Big".
According to accounts in the press, the Mr. Big character was based on publishing executive Ron Galotti, former publisher of GQ and Talk magazine. Bushnell told New York Magazine in 2004: “He was one of those New York guys with a big personality—you just notice him as soon as he walks in the room,” and “I called him Mr. Big because he was like a big man on campus.
"Mr. Big" appears in the first episode "Sex and the City (episode)" as a very wealthy and mysterious man who accidentally meets Carrie on the streets of Manhattan. The nickname "Mr. Big" refers to his status as, "the next Donald Trump" and "major tycoon, major dreamboat, and majorly out of [Carrie's] league". When Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones bump into Mr. Big at a night club, Samantha tries to hit on Mr. Big, but he graciously declines. In the first few episodes, he and Carrie constantly bump into one other, until finally Carrie suggests the 2 of them should bump into one another on purpose. Mr. Big agrees and thus begins their on-and-off-again relationship.
Carrie eventually falls in love with him, despite his frequent displays of commitment and intimacy phobias. She repeatedly returns to the relationship even though he is clearly emotionally unavailable to her and unable to meet her needs. They break up twice over the course of 2 years. After only dating for 5 months, Mr. Big marries 20-something Natasha (Bridget Moynahan), whom he met in Paris. This has a profoundly negative effect on Carrie's self-esteem.
After seven months of marriage, Mr. Big bumps into Carrie and her new boyfriend Aidan Shaw at a furniture show. He begins to pine for Carrie and initiates an affair with her. Carrie feels guilty about having sex with Mr. Big, but she continues the affair. It continues until Natasha comes home and discovers Carrie fleeing from their kitchen. Natasha accidentally falls and breaks her tooth while chasing after Carrie, who ends up taking Natasha to the emergency room. As a result, Carrie ends the affair. Carrie later finds out that Mr. Big and Natasha divorce.
Mr. Big and Carrie eventually manage to become friends. He relocates to Napa Valley, and they are able to discuss their other on-going relationships with each other. But their sexual chemistry always remains just below the surface, and their friendship never remains strictly platonic. Carrie always finds herself longing for him.
The series finale, "An American Girl in Paris: Part Une" and "An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux", ties together all the emotions and interactions that take place between Carrie and Big throughout the series. Absent for most of season six, Mr. Big suddenly reappears in Carrie's life, once again, at the wrong time. Carrie, who is tired of his games, makes it clear that he can no longer jerk her around. However, Mr. Big is a man who goes after what he wants, and he is desperate to win Carrie back. The season finale depicts his quest with a suspenseful and romantic attempt at reunion.
The series finale takes place over 2 episodes in which Carrie moves to Paris with her current boyfriend, Russian artist Aleksandr Petrovsky (played by Mikhail Baryshnikov). In the first half of the finale, "An American Girl in Paris: Part Une", Big shows up outside Carrie's apartment in New York after she fails to return his phone calls. She is on her way to her last dinner with the girls before departing for Paris. Big invites her to sit in his limo and begins apologizing for what happened the last time he and Carrie were together. Carrie rushes to tell him it's fine and uncomfortably tries to leave. After he is cut off during his apology, Big attempts to ask Carrie out to dinner. When she rejects him, he asks her for drinks and is surprised to be rejected again. It seems the tables have turned and he is now the one feeling needy. This just makes him want her even more, but she is tired of his endless cycle. She explains that she is moving to Paris with a man that she's in a relationship with. Big ironically asks Carrie when she was going to tell him that she was moving to Paris (he once decided to leave NY and move to Paris without telling her earlier in their relationship). Carrie gives him an annoyed look, tells him she has to leave, and then rushes out of the limo. Big chases after her, asking her what that was all about. He teases her about moving to Paris with a Russian and then tries to tell her that she's "The One." Carrie becomes infuriated and tells him that he cannot hurt her again. She explains that she has been enduring his games for six years and makes it clear that she can no longer take it. She wonders if he has some kind of radar that lets him know she is happy so he can "swoop in and shit all over it." She tells him to forget where she lives and to forget he even knows her name. Then she rushes off to meet her friends for dinner, leaving Big alone and confused on the street.
Big is not quick to give up. When Charlotte York stops by Carrie's apartment one day, she hears Big leaving a message on Carrie's answering machine, asking her for one last chance. Charlotte picks up and invites him to meet with her, Miranda Hobbes, and Samantha. He asks them if they think Carrie really is happy and if he has any shot of winning her back. After much deliberation, Miranda tells him to "go get our girl." Mr. Big then disappears until the second installment of the finale, "An American Girl in Paris Part Deux."
Carrie is distraught and unhappy in her relationship with Alexandr. She passes Big in his limo on the street in Paris while looking for a cab but neither of them sees each other. This scene, however, alerts the audience that Big is in Paris and that he is searching for Carrie. The irony of them running into each other on the street but not seeing each other adds to the romantic anticipation of their reunion. The limo rides on and Carrie continues on her way. Mr. Big reappears at just the right moment as Carrie tearfully searches for stray diamonds from her broken necklace on the floor of the hotel as she waits for a new room. Big enters and she turns and sees him and begins to cry. She explains that everything is a mess and Paris isn't what she thought it would be. Then she tells Big that Aleksandr slapped her during a fight they were having (although it was an accident). Mr. Big becomes protective and immediately begins climbing the stairs to Aleksandr's room to reprimand him (or as he puts it, "kick some Russian ass"). In a desperate attempt to stop him, Carrie trips him and they both fall to the floor. The 2 lovers begin laughing hysterically at each other. The chemistry between them that is evident from the very first episode is validated once more with this scene. They give up seeking out Petrovsky and take a romantic stroll in Paris. Big gives her his jacket and explains that it "took him a very long time to get here." He tells her she's the one and she asks him to take her home to New York. They arrive at Carrie's apartment late at night and she asks him if he wants to come up. He answers with "abso-fuckin-lutely", a memorable line he used in the pilot, which serves as a reminder for the audience that he is still, in fact, the confident, sexy Mr. Big that Carrie has been in love with from their first meeting.
His real name, John, is finally revealed on her cell phone caller ID after she returns to the city and he calls to tell her he is closing the sale of his Napa estate and coming back to New York. Executive producer Michael Patrick King has stated that by never revealing his real name, Mr. Big remains "always slightly out of reach" for Carrie, and this plot device is maintained throughout the entire run of the series. Although we see his name in that final shot, Michael Patrick King makes a point in the DVD commentary that we never hear it spoken in the series. His name is spoken, by Charlotte, during Season 2 when she is reading the wedding announcement in Carrie's apartment.
In Sex and the City, Carrie and Big decide to marry so that Carrie would have legal rights in the fabulous penthouse they purchase together. However, just before the ceremony Big gets cold feet, and bails but, later rethinks this decision. A broken-hearted Carrie attacks him with her bouquet, "It's too late." Later, he attempts to apologize, but Carrie ignores his letters and emails. Finally, after bumping into Carrie in their vacant penthouse closet that he built for her, she falls for him all over again where Carrie narrates "It wasn't logic, it was love" and the 2 quietly marry, at New York City Hall.
Avoiding the name
One interesting moment in the episode "Easy Come, Easy Go" involves Carrie running into Big and Natasha at a furniture show, shortly after Carrie begins dating Aidan Shaw (Carrie quips that she is Aidan's "Booth Bitch"). After introducing her boyfriend, Carrie is about to introduce Mr. Big (presumably by name), when she nervously spills coffee on him instead, derailing the scene and thereby neatly avoiding having to ruin the mystery of Big's name for the audience.
In "Defining Moments", Carrie begins introducing Big to the jazz musician, Ray King (played by Craig Bierko), but is interrupted when Ray tells Big that his drink is "running low."
In "The Caste System", Carrie is asked by Jeremiah, a waiter at a party, who she is with. Angered at Big at this time, Carrie simply responds, "Some guy."
In "Three's a Crowd", Carrie is talking to Big's ex wife "Barbara" when she asks if Carrie is with anyone. Carrie avoids the question so as not to let Barbara know she's seeing him therefore keeping Big's name a mystery.
In the final episode of series 6 Carrie receives a call from "John" which is Mr. Big. This is the first time you see his name.
In the full trailer for the "Sex and the City: The Movie", Big's name is revealed to be John Preston. In the movie, it is the first time we hear Carrie call him "John" instead of Big.