Jeri Ryan captivated Star Trek fans in the late 1990s with her standout portrayal of former Borg drone Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager. With her signature skintight catsuit and icy blunt delivery, Seven of Nine became one of the most popular characters in the Star Trek universe. Ryan’s nuanced performance humanized the character and showed her gradual rediscovery of her own humanity after being disconnected from the Borg collective. Here’s what she’s been up to.
She was born Jeri Lynn Zimmerman, into a military family on February 22, 1968. Her father, Gerhard Florian Zimmerman, was in the Army, so Ryan lived in many parts of the U.S. including Maryland, Georgia, Kansas, Hawaii, and Texas. When her father retired in 1979, they relocated permanently to Paducah, Kentucky.
After graduating from Northwestern University Chicago with a degree in theater in 1990, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career – and did start landing roles relatively soon.
In 1990 Jeri Ryan competed in the Miss America pageant where she would represent Illinois and place third runner-up. For the talent portion of the contest, she would perform the song “On My Own” from Les Misérables.
Her first acting credit occurred in 1991 when she guest starred as Pam on Who’s the Boss and later Felicia Kane in the Flash and she would also make an appearance on Matlock.
Her first big break wouldn’t be until 1997 when she landed the role of Juliet Stewart in the TV series, Dark Skies.
One of her first regular roles was on the short-lived TV show Dark Skies where she played the role of Juliet Stuart. The show was created to capitalize on the popularity of sci-fi shows like The X-Files.
Unfortunately, it was canceled after one season due to low ratings. It would be the cancellation of this show that would eventually lead to Ryan’s biggest role yet: Star Trek: Voyager!
Jeri Ryan would join the cast of Star Trek: Voyager in 1997 during its fourth season. She would take on the role of Seven of Nine, a former member of the Borg who struggles with her humanity. The character would become popular with fans and would remain a part of the show until its cancellation in 2001, appearing in 100 episodes altogether.
Jeri says she declined the role several times before eventually accepting the role from the producers, because she feared she would be pigeonholed in the Star Trek universe for the rest of her career.
The character was introduced to the show as a contrast to Kate Mulgrew’s character of Captain Janeway, much like Spock was to Captain Kirk in the original series. However, once Jeri Ryan tried on her costume for the role, it was apparent that this wasn’t the only reason for adding her to the cast.
Seven of Nine’s Catsuit
The show’s reason for Seven of Nine’s catsuit was that the suit helped her regenerate skin.
In an interview in 1999, Jeri Ryan said she there was no question as to why her character was added to the show. She said it was clearly for the sex appeal.
Fans praised her performance as Seven of Nine, notably how she was able to balance the cold, emotionless Borg side of her character with the flashes of emotion that would humanize her from time to time, making her character much more than just sex appeal to draw in viewers.
On-Set Feud With Kate Mulgrew
Not everything on the set of Star Trek: Voyager was great for Jeri Ryan. Her addition to the show in its fourth season led to on-set issues between her and co-star Kate Mulgrew.
Garrett Wang, who played Operations Officer Harry Kim, said the feud was fueled by jealousy. Kate Mulgrew was the star and face of the show at the time. She appeared on covers of magazines and was on talk shows, but as soon as Jeri Ryan appeared on the show, all the attention was redirected. All the press and the media shifted toward Jeri Ryan.
Kate felt the show was no longer about the first female captain anymore and was relegated to the sex appeal of Seven of Nine.
Jeri commented at a Star Trek convention that the Paramount publicity department went into overdrive promoting Seven of Nine, because they felt it was their chance at pushing Star Trek: Voyager into the mainstream.
She also went on to say that Seven of Nine became the focal point of the show and was the a-storyline and b-storyline of almost every episode of the show.
Although Kate complained that Jeri should be written off the show, the writers and producers refused. Kate then openly became hostile toward Jeri and even suggested that Jeri should not be able to use the bathroom during filming, because of how much time it takes for her to get in and out of her costume.
Jeri Ryan commented that the situation with Kate Mulgrew was very difficult and working on the set was not fun, specifically the first season. She went on to say that she would get nauseous before getting on set because the situation was so stressful.
Mulgrew was silent about the issue for years, refusing to address the rumors. However at a convention in 2018 she addressed a fan’s question and said that although she was disappointed with the direction of the show, where producers and writers dropped the first female captain narrative and instead focused on Jeri Ryan’s beauty and sexuality, she still commended Jeri for putting in a ‘very solid performance’ that drew in viewers.
What did Jeri Ryan do after Star Trek Voyager?
After leaving Star Trek: Voyager, Ryan joined the cast of Boston Public from 2001-2004, however, that was one of her longer-lasting gigs for a while.
Once she left Boston Public, she mainly had bit parts here and there, including roles on The O.C. and Boston Legal.
She was a recurring cast member as Jessica Devlin on Shark from 2006-2008, and as Kate Murphy on Body of Proof from 2011-2013.
Before filming Body of Proof, Jeri was able to watch two real life autopsies. She said, although it was morbid and she was sad for the deceased, it was absolutely fascinating.
She also played Veronica Allen on the TV series Bosch for three years, ending in 2019, and since reprise her role as Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Picard, which is still set to air its next season in 2023.
What is Jeri Ryan doing now?
In 2020, Jeri Ryan reprise the role of Seven Of Nine in Star Trek: Picard, starring alongside Patrick Stewart and several other notable Star Trek alumni. In the first season she was a recurring character and in the second season she became a main cast member.
Star Trek writer, James Duff, approached Jeri about the idea and she eventually warmed up to it.
She had initially planned to stay away from Star Trek forever after the series ended in 2001. The decision was influenced by the tension that existed between her and Kate Mulgrew during the filming of “Voyager.” Ryan even mentioned in a 2019 interview that scenes with Mulgrew made her nauseous.
Despite her determination not to return, the fan base’s love for her character and a different version of Seven of Nine offered in “Star Trek: Picard” changed her mind. Ryan expressed immense satisfaction with the opportunities and character development she received in “Picard,” describing it as a “delightful surprise.” The way her character’s storyline concluded in the third and final season of “Picard” has left Ryan open to playing Captain Seven of Nine in a potential spin-off named “Star Trek: Legacy.” Though not yet in production, the series has generated excitement among fans.
Ryan’s initial rocky start with Star Trek has transformed into a fulfilling experience, and she acknowledges that returning to the role was the best decision she made for her character. Her journey illustrates how a character can evolve and how an actor’s relationship with a role can change over time, leading to new and unexpected opportunities.
You can often find Jeri at Star Trek conventions. In 2022, she attended the 56-Year Mission Las Vegas convention, the London Film and Comic Con and the The Sci-Fi Summit in New Jersey and she will be attending the Destination Star Trek convention in Germany in September.
Jeri mentioned on a podcast that she didn’t attend conventions for a while because of issues with stalkers. She said she started attending again after convention organizers beefed up security for her. She revealed that at one convention, the security was on top of it and located a stalker immediately and removed him from the convention.
Her Marriage to Jack Ryan
Around the time she graduated college, Jeri met Jack Ryan, who at the time was an investment banker, at a local charity event. About a year later, they were married and went on to have a son, Alex, who was born on August 15, 1994.
Jeri’s marriage to Jack Ryan wasn’t without its controversy, as they both agreed to have their divorce records shared with the public since Ryan was pursuing a political career in the U.S. Senate.
However, a Los Angeles judge would also reveal the couple’s child custody files, which revealed accusations Jeri levied against Jack about him requesting her to perform sexual acts on him in public.
Though Jack Ryan publicly denied the allegations made against him, it put an end to his political career and gave the edge to his main opponent, Barack Obama.
Jeri Ryan’s Marriage to Christophe Émé
Like with her first marriage, Jeri met her current husband at another charity event. While attending a chef charity event in 2003, Jeri met French chef, Christophe Émé.
After four years of dating, the couple got married in June 2007 in a small, intimate ceremony at the Logis-de-Poelier in France.
Émé is a Michelin rated chef who is most known for appearing on the television show, Iron Chef America: The Series.
Both he and Ryan co-owned Ortolan, a popular French restaurant in Los Angeles.
Ortolan is named after the French bird that is controversially prepared in French cuisine by being drowned in brandy and eaten whole.
Before being consumed, diners cover their head and face with a towel to retain the aroma of the bird.
The French government banned the use of the Ortolan in cuisine in 1999 to preserve the species, as it numbers in the wild was getting dangerously low.
Jeri recalls in an interview that during her time on Star Trek Voyager, fans of the show would often send her art and one of the most memorable pieces of art she received was of an Ortolan bird, drawn in the style of a Borg.
Jeri Ryan has two children: a son, Alexander Ryan, from her first marriage to Jack Ryan.
Alex was born on August 15, 1994. When he was 17 years old, Alexander was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum and makes it hard for someone to communicate.
When he was 21 years old, he participated in the College Internship Program, which helps young adults with disabilities learn how to be self sufficient. In the program he lived in an apartment building with other young adults and they learned how to manage a household, build effective social skills and secure steady employment.
Gisele Lynn Eme
She also has a daughter, Gisele Lynn Eme with her current husband, who was born on March 2, 2008. At the time of her birth, Ryan was 40 years old.
Gisele is currently in middle school and enjoys riding horses in her free time.