Jeri Ryan: A Star Trek Comeback For Seven

Jeri Ryan made her acting debut on an episode of Who's the Boss? and parlayed that into a career guest-starring on shows like Matlock and Melrose Place.

By Liana Keane

Jeri Ryan made her acting debut on an episode of Who’s the Boss? and parlayed that into a career guest-starring on shows like Matlock and Melrose Place. It was in 1997 though that she became a legitimate celebrity, when she was cast as Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager.

The Star Trek: Voyager Years

Jeri Ryan

Jeri Ryan became an instant phenomenon when she joined the cast of Star Trek: Voyager. She’d been acting in television for years by the time she landed the role of Seven so sure, she knew her way around in front of the camera. Her character soon became the primary focus of the entire show, and Ryan was up to the challenge.

It wasn’t easy though. Talking about the challenges of playing Seven of Nine, Jeri Ryan says the worst thing about it was the costume. She explains, “The corset wasn’t a lot of fun. Not being able to go to the bathroom without the entire crew knowing it, and having to make production shut down. That was a bit of a downside.

Going to the bathroom was, apparently, really a huge problem. Jeri says, “If I had to go, it was on the radio, ‘Jeri’s going. 10-1. That’s 20.’ Because, you know, I had to have somebody dress me and undress me. It was a 20-minute thing to get me undressed, go to the bathroom, get dressed, go back to set. It was a thing.

Seven of Nine

Jeri Ryan’s first season on the show she hit a real snag when she got so ill they had to shut down the entire production. Ryan reveals, “I actually got so sick my first season on the show because I felt so bad that it was a production shutdown, so I would just not drink all day. And I got really ill. [Laughs.] It’s not a good thing to do.

Jeri Ryan After Voyager

Jeri Ryan

After Voyager ended in 2001 Jeri Ryan got work in movies like Dracula 2000, but she primarily found success on television. There she became a steadily working character actor, doing guest spots on Boston Legal, Leverage, Psych, Law & Order, NCIS, and a host of other well known dramas.

Jeri Ryan became a series regular on the show Shark, doing 34 episodes as Jessica Devlin. Later she became a regular on show Body of Proof doing 42 episodes as Kate Murphy. Jeri even got to express her passion for cooking, appearing on the show Iron Chef: America as a judge.

Jeri Ryan Involved In Controversy

Jeri Ryan

After Star Trek, Jeri Ryan was thrust back into the limelight for less happy reasons. In 1999 she divorced her husband Jack Ryan. They have a son together, Alex Ryan born in 1994. Unfortunately, the drama around their marriage wouldn’t end with their divorce.

In 2004 Jeri Ryan’s ex-husband Jack Ryan went on to run for the US Senate and during his campaign court documents from his divorce with Jeri were unearthed. Those documents revealed that Jeri and Jack had frequented swingers clubs in New York, New Orleans, and Paris. Jeri described one of the locations as “a bizarre club with cages, whips, and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling.”

Jeri Ryan claimed she didn’t really want to go to these swinger clubs, and that Jack coerced her to go and participate in public sex acts. The revelation ended Jack Ryan’s political career.

Jeri Ryan Now

MacGyver

In recent years Jeri Ryan’s career has found a resurgance. She has found more steady work on television as a series regular on the reboot of MacGyver. She has also returned to the world of Star Trek, appearing on Star Trek: Picard as Seven of Nine, where she’s set to become a regular in Star Trek: Picard season 2.

In 2003 Jeri Ryan met a French chef named Christophe Émé. The couple married in 2007 and in 2008 Jeri gave birth to their daughter. They currently live in Los Angeles, CA.

Now 52-years-old, these days Jeri Ryan is really into gourmet cooking. In 2005 she opened a gourmet restaurant in LA called Ortolan with her then-future French Chef husband. The restaurant closed its doors in 2011, but Ryan remains a devotee of gourmet cooking.

THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF SEVEN

It has been over 20 years since Jeri Ryan’s run on Star Trek: Voyager ended. As Seven of Nine, Ryan joined the series at the beginning of season 4 and immediately became one of the most popular characters in Star Trek lore. But once the series ended, Ryan never thought it would be a character she’d ever return to. “Never in a million years,” Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter. “After Voyager ended, if you asked me if I would play this character again, I would have said, “Absolutely not.” I was convinced that I had said goodbye to her, and that chapter was done.”

It took nearly 20 years, but that chapter now has a new chapter. Ryan joined the cast of Star Trek: Picard during the series first season’s fourth episode and has not looked back since although her return wasn’t without hesitation. “This has been such a gift, even more than I expected it to be because I was a little hesitant when I signed on to do Picard. Ideas sound great on paper, but until you start seeing fully realized scripts and how the characters are really being developed, you just don’t know. It’s a leap of faith. So, it has been such a gift on so many levels to be able to revisit this character and continue this huge amount of her journey and massive arc.”

It’s an arc that has seen Ryan’s Seven [SPOILER ALERT] go from Seven to being separated from the Collective and return as a human. “So, this season was the first time in her life since she had been assimilated that she was just human. She got to see how different life could have been and would have been, and how differently she’s treated without those visible Borg parts.” Not only was she given her human life back in season 2, but Ryan was also given a love interest as well and maybe one you’d not expect.

Ryan’s Seven fell in love with Michelle Hurd’s Raffi Musiker and before the two started their on-screen journey, both Ryan and Musiker wanted to be clear with the producers as to what that would look like. “Michelle and I, when talking to the producers, said we wanted a realistic portrayal of these two women who are very mature and very driven and very independent. They’ve had lives and careers. And that it wasn’t going to be “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy,” they’re in a relationship with a white picket fence, because that is not who these women are. So, we wanted that relationship struggle. They do love each other.”

We won’t give away any more detail about where their relationship is heading in Star Trek: Picard’s final season, but rest assured, Seven will be back. “Yes, you’ll see Seven again, I can tell you that,” said Jeri Ryan. “I think the fans will not be disappointed. The season is huge, and it is a very worthy sendoff for all of these characters.”

JERI RYAN AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Jeri Ryan is not shy about her social media postings. She is very active on Twitter and Instagram and a lot of her postings have a political slant to them.

Besides Star Trek: Picard and social media, Jeri Ryan does have one more project in the works. It is an animation film called Unplugged and in it, Ryan voices C.J. Skye. The story, which sounds kind of dark for an animated feature, follows a deeply depressed 27-year-old rocker named Dayna Clay, who decides to give her guitar to a fan and walk away from her successful career. Her depression takes her to the brink of suicide. Ending up in the South Dakota Badlands, Dayna finds possible love and a mentor to help her through her troubled times. The animated film is based on the 2002 Paul McComas novel of the same name.