Romance has always been a part of Star Trek. Whether it’s Kirk’s dalliances with the “alien of the week” or the more gradual and believable romances of later Trek series, some of the most rewarding episode of Star Trek have a romantic subplot. And often, those romantic feelings between characters translate to romance off-screen. In fact, Patrick Stewart was engaged to a co-star during the filming of one exceptionally romantic episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Here’s a look back at this classic episode, along with a reminder of Captain Picard’s romantic history, both on-screen and off.
Patrick Stewart Was Engaged to Co-Star Jennifer Hetrick While Filming
Some Trek fans are unaware that Patrick Stewart was dating an occasional co-star while filming TNG. The episode Qpid, which originally aired in April of 1991, is sometimes referred to as “The Robin Hood Episode” among fans. The episode centers around the god-like alien entity Q, played by actor John de Lancie, who decides to test Picard’s affection for his love interest, Vash. The character of Vash, a rogueish historical expert, ultimately abandons Picard to travel with Q. The character of Vash had previously been introduced in the third season episode Captain’s Holiday.
According to Screenrant, the real-life couple were together during the filming of Qpid, as well as dating “during the third and fourth seasons of The Next Generation after Stewart’s divorce from his first wife.” In an ironic twist that mirrored their on-screen relationship, Hetrick and Stewart separated before ever tying the knot, mirroring the ultimate split between the characters they played on-screen.
Patrick Stewart Has Been Married 3 Times
While Hetrick and Stewart never walked down the aisle, that doesn’t mean that the two actors didn’t ultimately find happiness. As for Hetrick, she reprised her role after splitting from Stewart, in the Deep Space Nine episode Q-Less, and Stewart went on to find love, divorce, and then re-marry.
The timeline goes like this: Stewart married his first wife, Sheila Falconer, in 1966. The couple had a long marriage, ultimately divorcing in 1990. By 1991, Qpid had aired, and rumors were beginning to fly about Stewart and Hetrick, herself a famous actress thanks to her recurring turns on the smash-hit L.A. Law.
Hetrick and Stewart split before they ever got married, with Stewart later deciding to marry TV and film producer Wendy Neuss for a brief time. The couple were married from 2000 to 2003, before splitting. Stewart married his current wife, Sunny Ozell, in 2013.
Patrick Stewart’s Character Picard Might Have More Romance Coming His Way
While Vash may have been a temporary romance for Captain Picard, fans of the series know that Picard and Dr. Crusher always had a simmering romance that was never fully explored. In the world of the series, part of the reason for the distance between Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard is Crusher’s belief that Captain Picard may have been partially responsible for her husband’s death. Jack Crusher, Dr. Crusher’s husband and father of young Wesley Crusher, served under Picard prior to the events of TNG, a story rarely expanded upon in the series but occasionally touched on in some of the tie-in comic books.
Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation have long hoped for closure in the Picard-Crusher relationship. That ship seemed to have sailed after TNG went off the air, and after they stopped making Star Trek feature films featuring the crew of the Enterprise-D. But now that Patrick Stewart and some of his TNG co-stars have returned to the small screen for Picard, some fans are hoping that Beverly Crusher might finally get the chance to romance Jean-Luc Picard.
TNG fans may have noted that actress Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Crusher, got a COVID vaccination in January. It has been speculated that part of the reason behind production delays on the second season of Star Trek: Picard could be due to the need to get the cast vaccinated. Stewart has reportedly had wardrobe fittings and read multiple scripts for Season 2, which has many fans excited for the eventual release of the show’s long-awaited sophomore season. McFadden recently announced a podcast, but has yet to announce any plans to join Picard, potentially alongside former co-star Whoopi Goldberg. With McFadden having begun vaccination (a two-stage process), this may make her more hireable for season two of Picard, should the show’s writers and producers opt to explore a dynamic that many fans have waited decades to see play out on screen.