Inside Blue Origin spaceman William Shatner’s 4 marriages and how he found one wife dead in their swimming pool

IN Star Trek he played handsome heartthrob Captain James Tiberius Kirk who smooched 19 women during the show – and off-screen William Shatner’s love life was just as juicy.

The 90-year-old, who made history yesterday by becoming the oldest person to go into space, has tied the knot four times and is now single again.

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William Shatner made history by becoming the oldest person to have gone into spaceCredit: Reuters
The Star Trek actor took off on Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin New Shephard rocket yesterday

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The Star Trek actor took off on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin New Shephard rocket yesterdayCredit: Reuters

After his spaceflight on Jeff Bezos’ £72million-a-ride ($100m) Blue Origin New Shepard rocket he said he hoped to “never recover” from the experience so he could “maintain what I feel now”.

This isn’t the first time the actor has been “so filled with emotion”.

In his romantic life, William has experienced extreme highs and lows, including finding love with a woman 27 years his junior, hefty divorce settlements concerning horse semen for breeding and discovering his third wife’s body in their swimming pool.

Here, we recap his turbulent relationships.

Divorce after kids

William’s first marriage was to Gloria Rand, a Canadian actress, who starred in four TV shows in the Fifties.

They tied the knot in 1956 and had three daughters – Leslie, Lisabeth and Melanie.

The actor left her while filming the final season of Star Trek: The Original Series and they divorced by the time the show ended in 1969.

Little is known about what happened next to Gloria, who was reported to be extremely private and did not appear to return to acting.

William with his first wife Gloria Rand, who he shares three daughters with

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William with his first wife Gloria Rand, who he shares three daughters withCredit: Eyevine

Horse semen row

Four years after William’s divorce, he tied the knot for a second time marrying Marcy Lafferty – the daughter of a prominent American TV producer.

Prior to meeting the star, the New York-born actress appeared in several TV series including the original Hawaii Five-0. 

She bagged a part in the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture, alongside her husband, where she played Chief DiFalco.

Marcy was married to William for 23 years – the longest of all his marriages – before they split in 1996.

One of the unusual clauses of their divorce settlement was that she would receive horse semen from three of his prize stallions every year.

Marcy Lafferty, William's second wife, sued the actor in 2013 for breaching their divorce settlement

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Marcy Lafferty, William’s second wife, sued the actor in 2013 for breaching their divorce settlementCredit: Alamy

This was chosen as a form of payment as William had made a large chunk of his fortune – now estimated at £72m – from horse breeding.

But in 2013, Marcy took the actor to court for breaching the divorce agreement by not sending samples that were in a “fresh, cooled format”.

The lawsuit read: “Potential buyers of the breeding privileges do not want the semen in a frozen format.”

Marcy’s lawyer Thomas Ezzell explained that this led to “a lower percentage of successful impregnations” and risked her losing tens of thousands of dollars.

“You know, you only get one shot at this, so to speak,” he told a Kentucky newspaper. 

‘Soul mate’ tragedy

In a heart-breaking turn of events, William’s two-year marriage in 1997 to ex-model Nerine Kidd, was cut short by her death in 1999.

Ahead of them tying the knot, the actor had doubts and was warned it wouldn’t work because she was an alcoholic.

In his 2008 autobiography Up Till Now, he wrote: “I married Nerine… against the advice of many and my own good sense.”

Even his Star Trek co-star colleague Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock, told him marrying her was a bad decision.

In 1999, William told the National Enquirer that he confronted Nerine about her drinking but she begged: “Marry me and help me – help me beat my addiction.”

He went through with the wedding – with Nimoy as his best man – but the day after realised the reality of their difficult situation.

I fought and fought to save my wife from the serpent of alcoholism – but I failed

William Shatner

In his book, William wrote:  “I woke up about eight o’clock the next morning and Nerine was drunk. 

“She was in rehab for 30 days three different times. Twice she almost drank herself to death.”

Nerine, who was jailed twice for drink driving, was taken to Alcoholics Anonymous by Nimoy but “refused to quit” booze. 

In 1999, shortly after William filed for divorce, he returned home to find her dead at the bottom of their swimming pool.

A coroner ruled she accidentally drowned after taking a cocktail of alcohol and valium – a drug she had used while trying to stop drinking.

Shortly after her passing, William told the National Enquirer: “I fought and fought to save my wife from the serpent of alcoholism – but I failed.

“Nerine’s own psychiatrist told me that for her own good I should divorce her… [and] said, ‘If you love her, you have to leave her.’”

On a 2013 episode of Larry King Now, William lamented the loss of his “beautiful soulmate” and “the love of my life”.

William and Nerine Kidd, who was found dead in the couple's swimming pool in 1999

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William and Nerine Kidd, who was found dead in the couple’s swimming pool in 1999Credit: Getty

Hefty divorce settlement

William found love again with horse trainer Elizabeth Martin, who was 27 years his junior, and the pair married in 2001.

During their time together, several tragedies made him reassess his life and priorities – including the death of his close friend and confidant Nimoy in 2015.

One year later, William was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and spent the next three months struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

He told NBC: “I was told by a doctor that I had a terminal disease and that I was going to die.

“My initial reactions to the diagnosis were, I suppose, quite common – denial, fear, anger as well as a dose of being insulted.”

The news dramatically changed him and over time he recognised he had “lived a long life” but he “certainly wasn’t ready for it to end”.

He decided he was “going to fight” cancer until the very end – but all was not as it seemed when he visited the doctor.

Nothing makes me sad at this age. It’s all good here!

William Shatner

“Then they told me it was a mistake and I have never looked at life the same again,” he wrote in his 2018 autobiography Live Long And… What I Might have Learned Along The Way.

Three years after his scare, William’s marriage to Elizabeth seemed to be on the rocks.

It was reported that they were living apart in 2019 and they divorced a year later. 

He claimed to harbour no ill-feeling towards his former partner of 18 years despite rumours of a messy divorce.

Elizabeth won ownership of the couple’s homes in Versailles, Kentucky, and Malibu, California, court documents revealed.

As part of the settlement William was awarded two of their horses – Renaissance Man’s Medici and Powder River Shirley – along with “all horse semen” and equipment. 

Last year, he refused to elaborate on the split and maintained there was nothing dramatic about it.

He said: “Nothing makes me sad at this age. It’s all good here. It’s all good. I wish everyone well.”

William with his fourth wife Elizabeth Martin, who was 27 years younger than him

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William with his fourth wife Elizabeth Martin, who was 27 years younger than himCredit: Getty

‘Nothing to lose’

After the divorce was finalised, many questioned whether William would look for love again.

Last year, the star was asked how he felt about being considered a “hunk” by some fans and he told the Mirror: “A heartthrob at 89?

“How does it feel to be a heartthrob at 89? Well, it heightens my blood pressure!”

In the wake of his fourth failed marriage, William became fixated on a new goal – going into space and even pitched a TV show about it. 

Everybody in the world needs to see this

William Shatner

Ahead of the spaceflight on Wednesday, he admitted to not being bothered if the journey killed him.

“You can look at it from many points of view, one is I feel that I’ll be coming back but if I don’t what have I got to lose?” he said.

Yesterday, William was overwhelmed with emotion and gushed: “It’s extraordinary, extraordinary. It’s so much larger than me and life.

“To see the blue color whip by you, and now you’re staring into blackness… everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see this.”

Moment William Shatner, 90, is left awestruck as he floats in Blue Origin capsule saying ‘Oh Jesus’

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