After her parents' divorce, her mother married Paul Forste, a truck driver and account executive who was a part of Parker's life from an early age. She has said that even while her family lived in Cincinnati , her mother emulated a New York lifestyle. There, her mother and stepfather helped Parker develop her career as a child actress.
In , the family moved to the newly opened planned community on Roosevelt Island , in the East River between Manhattan and Queens , and later to Manhattan. Parker held the role for a year. The show lasted just one season, but Parker's performance, as a shy teen who showed hidden depths, was critically well received. In the three years that followed, she was cast in four films: In , Parker appeared in Flight of the Navigator , a Disney science fiction film. Story ; both the movie and her performance garnered positive reviews.
Her role of Sarah Sanderson in Disney's Halloween film Hocus Pocus was a higher grosser at the box office but received negative reviews. Also in , she starred as a police diver opposite Bruce Willis in the film Striking Distance. The following year, she appeared opposite Johnny Depp in the critically acclaimed movie Ed Wood  as Wood's girlfriend Dolores Fuller. The film Miami Rhapsody , in , was a romantic comedy in which she had a leading role.
In , she appeared in another Tim Burton -directed movie, Mars Attacks! The show's creator, Darren Star , wanted her for his project. Despite some doubts about being cast in a long-term television series, Parker agreed to star. Parker said in that she "will never do a television show again. It was revealed that a script had been completed for such a project. At the time, Parker said such a film would likely never be made. The executive producer was Lisa Kudrow , and the series featured Parker, husband Matthew Broderick , Kudrow and others.
Parker runs her own production company, Pretty Matches, which has been creating content for HBO and other channels since Ballet" that takes viewers behind the scenes with dancers of the New York City Ballet. As well as serving as the honorary chair, Parker will choose the books for the platform and will post discussions of each pick from her own book club.
In August , Parker signed a lucrative deal with Garnier to appear in TV and print advertising promoting their Nutrisse hair products. A rising star at the time, Stone's replacing of Parker was a puzzling move to the public. The company then stated that "While Gap will always seek partnerships with celebrities, musicians and rising stars, we don't have any future plans to sign a single person to a multi-season deal like the unique and special relationship we enjoyed with Sarah Jessica".
In , Parker was a guest on Project Runway for the second challenge. They met on the set of Firstborn. Downey had a drug problem, which affected their relationship. Parker has said, "I believed I was the person holding him together. The couple's son, James Wilkie Broderick, was born in Their middle names of "Elwell" and "Hodge" are from Parker's mother's family, which she discovered while researching her ancestry for the first episode of Who Do You Think You Are? The family also spends considerable time at their second home near Kilcar , a village in County Donegal , Ireland, where Broderick spent summers as a child.