According to “The Astronaut Wives Club” executive producer Stephanie Savage, the season finale is the last chapter for the Mercury 7 wives. She tells Variety there are no plans for a Season 2 — but the wives still went on to do important work even after the Apollo 13 launch.
The truth is, a Season 2 of the show would have led to the dissolution of more marriages and may not have whipped up the magic nostalgia of the show’s limited run. Here is what the real Mercury 7 wives got up to following the Apollo 13 space mission in 1970.
Betty Grissom was the first of the Mercury 7 to lose her husband — which was depicted on the show. Every year she still pays tribute to her husband and other astronauts that have lost their lives at NASA’s annual remembrance day. She and her son Scott Grissom have publicly stated over the years that they believe Gus was murdered on the Apollo 1 test launch. Though she still pays tribute, Grissom has remained skeptical of NASA’s spending habits.
“I have never considered the space shuttle much of a space program,” Grissom tells The Indy Channel news station on the 50th anniversary of her husband’s original space flight. “I did not approve of them going back to the moon for the second time, which I guess that’s what got canceled. I think it should have been canceled. If, you know, you go and spend all that money and then did nothing but brought back those moon rocks.”
Rene Carpenter eventually divorced her astronaut husband Scott and continued her career in journalism. By 1975 she had her own talk show called “Everywoman.” It had rave reviews and for a time Rene was more famous than her astronaut husband. Unfortunately, she lost the show in 1976 during a firing purge.
She continued her activist spirit by starting a long career with the Committee for National Health Insurance and remarried real estate developer Lester Shor.
Trudy Cooper divorced her husband in 1971 and went on to create her own courier business. The series shows that Trudy left Gordo because he asked her to give up her business to help him go into space and then didn’t make the Apollo 13 roster. “The Astronaut Wives” book reveals that Trudy may have actually left because of continued infidelity. Despite Trudy being the only one of the Mercury 7 wives to be a licensed pilot, NASA wouldn’t send an American woman into space until 1983. Trudy passed away on March 8, 1994.
Annie Glenn and her husband John are still married. She joined a number of philanthropic organizations that includes: The Ohio Board of Child Abuse, The Board of Columbus (Ohio) Speech and Hearing Center, The Society of Sponsors, The Board of Trustees of Muskingum College, The Advisory Panel of the Central Ohio Speech and Hearing Association, The Advisory Board for the National Center for Survivors of Childhood Abuse, The Board for the National First Ladies’ Library, The National Deafness and other Communication Disorders, and the Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health.
She was also inducted into the National Stuttering Association Hall of Fame.
Jo Schirra died at the age of 91 just one month before the premiere of “The Astronaut Wives Club” TV series. She and Wally Schirra had one of the few marriages to survive the space program. Book author Lily Koppel said in Schirra’s obituary that the competitive astronaut wife continued to live an exciting life well into her 80s, as revealed during their interviews.
“Into her 80s, she said she still swam and took an occasional cocktail and tried to enjoy what she called ‘the gracious life.’ Her home was filled of pictures of the astronauts and their wives and space memorabilia. On her bookshelf was the old Navy primer ‘The Navy Wife,’ with all the rules she once followed to a T,” Koppel says.
Louise’s husband Alan was just the only member of the Mercury 7 to make it to the moon, but when he retired from NASA became the first millionaire astronaut. Despite the show’s depictions of Alan Shepard’s affairs, he and Louise stayed married until his death in 1998. Louise died just a month later from a heart attack while traveling from San Francisco to her home in Monterey, Calif.
Marge Slayton was another one of the astronaut wives to see her marriage crumble. She and Deke divorced after what she calls in the “Astronaut Wives” book, “the lying, the cheating, and the feeling that her husband had abandoned their home for that ‘harlot of a town,’ the Cape.” She passed away in 1989.