Kim Cattrall: 'I don’t want to be in a situation for even an hour where I’m not enjoying myself'

The actor, 62, on losing her brother, awful things directors have said, and having enough of Sex and the City

My parents were a huge influence on the person I’ve become. Mum was a secretary and dad was a construction engineer. They were scousers, real grafters and emigrated to Canada when I was a baby. Dad was always telling me, “You can do anything.” So I grew up thinking that if he believed in me, I could do whatever I put my mind to.

My mother’s childhood was shocking and dramatic. Her father abandoned my grandmother, leaving her in terrible poverty, struggling to bring up three children. As I’ve got older that’s inspired me to want to tell stories about real women who are not Superwoman but need extraordinary powers to survive, like my grandmother.

When my first marriage fell apart I didn’t know if I was going to be OK for a long time. I’ve always been more insecure personally than professionally. When we met we had the same goal, but then he couldn’t see that my need to work and express myself was as important as his. I realised I wasn’t going to change his mind and I couldn’t compromise who I was.

I’m still in a state after losing my younger brother Chris to suicide last year. He was only 55 and the shock of his death was so extreme that I can’t fill that void. It’s made me more aware of how fragile we all are. It can happen to any of us.

The tragedies in my life continue to shape me. Now I don’t want to be in a situation for even an hour where I’m not enjoying myself. I want to choose who I spend time with personally and professionally. It’s my life. I lost my dad seven years ago, to Alzheimer’s, and Mum has just turned 90. I’ve become aware there’s only so much time left.

I went past the finish line playing Samantha Jones because I loved Sex and the City. It was a blessing in so many ways but after the second movie I’d had enough. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just replace me with another actress instead of wasting time bullying. No means no.

I was booked on to the ill-fated Pan Am 103 flight that was bombed over Lockerbie. I cancelled the day before and booked a later flight so I had time to go to Harrods and buy Mum a Christmas present. It didn’t really sink in until much later.

People have said really unspeakable things to me. A director once told me years after being dropped suddenly from a TV pilot that it was because I didn’t give the network boss a hard on!

Otto Preminger wasn’t very sensitive when he directed me in my first movie [Rosebud, 1975]. I was 17 and he said I reminded him of Marilyn Monroe… for her lack of talent rather than her looks. I literally ran from that experience.

I was mistaken for Justin Trudeau’s mother on 60 Minutes when they flashed up my picture instead of hers – I dated his father briefly way back. Weeks later Justin introduced me to his mum at an event and said, “Meet my mother, Kim Cattrall!”

I’d like to be remembered as somebody who was entertaining and honest. I pretend for a living so it’s nice in the real world to be truthful. I like to think my honesty is the Liverpudlian in me.

Kim Cattrall stars in Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans, in cinemas now.

In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email or


Ruth Huntman

The GuardianTramp

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