Remembering William Riker & Deanna Troi’s Epic Love Story

Jonathan Frakes as Thomas Riker in Star Trek Nemesis

YouTube Jonathan Frakes as William Riker and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi in Star Trek Nemesis

William T. Riker and Deanna Troi’s love story is one of the most epic in the Star Trek universe. The two spent literally decades figuring out what their relationship was and could be before they decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Star Trek: Picard revealed that almost 25 years after their wedding, Riker and Troi were still happily married and parenting together.

Here are the highlights of their epic love story.


How They Met

Jonathan Frakes as William Riker and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi in Star Trek The Next Generation

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In the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, fans found out that Riker, who was the newly assigned first officer on the Enterprise-D, and Troi, the ship’s counselor, were previously involved. Neither knew until they arrived on Enterprise that they would be serving together. The led to a very awkward conversation in which they assured each other that their previous romance wouldn’t impact their current jobs.

Though their lasting closeness and attraction to each other were apparent in the early seasons, fans didn’t find out more details about Riker and Troi’s romance until the third season. When the Enterprise-D visited Betazed, Troi’s homeworld, to pick up her mother, Troi and Riker went to the surface together.

They reminisced about the times they’d previously spent together on Betazed, which led to the revelation that they met when Riker was stationed on the planet, before his assignment to a Starfleet ship. They began dating soon after they met and stayed together for a few years.


The First Breakup

Jonathan Frakes as Thomas Riker in Star Trek The Next Generation

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Throughout the series, small details about Riker and Troi’s relationship were divulged here and there. However, fans never really got a full picture of what happened between them. The reason they weren’t together was one of the great mysteries surrounding the two characters.

Fans didn’t find out why they broke up all those years ago until season six. The crew of the Enterprise-D headed to a science station to retrieve the data logs from the ship Riker used to serve on, the USS Potemkin. When they reached the surface, they found an exact duplicate of Riker, who’d been living there for eight years. The duplicate insisted that a transportation glitch had stranded him at the station. After some investigation, the Enterprise crew determined that his story was legitimate. The transporter glitch had created a copy of Riker while the real Riker returned to Potemkin.

When the duplicate arrived on Enterprise, it was clear that he was still in love with Troi. The last time he remembered seeing her, they’d been dating and madly in love. Troi had to explain that she and the version of Riker who had returned from the planet had stopped dating years ago. Shocked by this, the duplicate asked what happened. Troi told him that Riker had canceled their vacation plans for work. He chose to put his career first, and soon there wasn’t any time for her. They remained friends, but their relationship ended then and had never rekindled.


Will They or Won’t They?

Jonathan Frakes as William Riker and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi in Star Trek The Next Generation

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Throughout the series, there were several times when it seemed like Riker and Troi might get back together. In the first season, when the crew was infected by a virus that caused them to behave as if they were intoxicated, Troi’s first instinct was to seduce Riker. However, Riker took her to sickbay instead, not wanting to take advantage of the situation.

When they visited Betazed together, they shared a kiss at a spot they used to go to when they were dating, but they were interrupted by Troi’s mother.

In the fifth season, when the crew of the Enterprise-D lost their memories, Riker and Troi tried to piece together what they were to each other. They found several indications that they were very close, and it seemed like their attraction might transcend their memory loss. However, Riker ended up making an unlikely connection with Ensign Ro instead.

On several more occasions, the two frankly admitted that they still felt something for each other. Troi called Riker her Imzadi more than once, a word that Betazoids use the way humans use the word soulmate. They admitted that they knew each other better than anyone else and that intimate knowledge connected them in a way that couldn’t be ignored.

However, they never really gave in to their persistent feelings for each other. The implication was always that they’d made their choice years ago and it would be too risky and potentially painful to go back.


Falling in Love Again

Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi and Jonathan Frakes as William Riker in "Star Trek Insurrection"

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Years later, when both Troi and Riker were serving on the Enterprise-E, they embarked on a mission that took them to the home planet of the Ba’ku. Before they arrived on the planet, Riker and Troi were assigned to examine some crucial data together. As they worked, they grew closer, eventually falling into some of the mannerisms from when they were dating so many years before.

Once the crew arrived on the paradisiacal planet, they discovered that the metaphasic radiation emitted by the planet’s rings regenerated tissue. Anyone who stayed on the planet for any appreciable period of time was healed of any ailments and their aging slowed down. Members of the crew also found that the planet had an almost intoxicating effect. They all felt younger, happier, and as if they possessed more clarity about their lives.

This effect led Riker and Troi to become more amorous with each other as the mission went on. Reminded of their younger, romantic days, and bolstered by the feelings the planet gave them, the two finally admitted that they’d fallen in love again.

When their mission on the planet was complete, Riker pondered whether his feelings had been genuine or manufactured by the planet’s effects. He worried that his feelings for Troi would change once they left the planet. Worf, who had dated Troi for several years, remarked that Riker had always been in love with her, even when they weren’t together. Worf went on to say that all the planet did was allow Riker to feel his love without inhibitions.

So, Riker and Troi were finally together again after years of dampening down their love for each other.


The Happily Married Couple

William Riker and Deanna Troi

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Four years after they rekindled their romance, Troi and Riker were married. They held a ceremony on Earth in Riker’s home state of Alaska. All of their Enterprise crew members were in attendance. The couple planned a traditional Betazed wedding ceremony, which, as Star Trek fans know, involved being completely naked for the duration of the nuptials.

The crew of the Enterprise-E was on their way to Betazed for the ceremony when they were called away on yet another critical mission. Riker and Troi were forced to skip their Betazed ceremony and their Risan honeymoon for their last mission with the Enterprise-E.

When they returned from that mission, Riker took over command of the USS Titan. His new wife transferred to the ship with him. They spent several years exploring the stars together on the Titan.


The Troi-Riker Family

Jean-Luc Picard, William T. Riker and Deanna Troi

CBS All Access

A couple of years after their marriage, Riker and Troi welcomed their first child, Thaddeus Worf Troi-Riker. Thad was born on the Titan and spent his toddler and grade school years running around the spaceship. Several years later, Troi gave birth to their second child, a daughter named Kestra.

Unfortunately, Thad contracted an incredibly rare virus when he was young. Because of the ban on synthetics that resulted from the attack on Mars, there was no legal cure for the disease. The family moved to a planet called Nepenthe because the environment would help Thad live his last years more comfortably. Thad died when he was 15 years old.

Riker, Troi, and their daughter lived an idyllic but isolated life on Nepenthe after Thad’s death. Riker and Troi had both retired from Starfleet and they were solely focused on raising Kestra, until their former captain showed up seeking refuge.

The characters’ involvement in season two of Picard is still up in the air. Fans were generally pleased with Riker and Troi’s appearance in season one, so fans are likely eager to learn more about their marriage and family life in season two.

READ NEXT: ‘Picard’ Showrunner Reveals Full Name of Riker’s Son for the First Time


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