Tragic Details Found In The Autopsy Of William Shatner's Wife

Star Trek actor William Shatner has been married four times, and three of those marriages ended in divorce. He most recently split with horse trainer Elizabeth Martin in 2020 (via The U.S. Sun). His shortest marriage of all, though, concluded in 1999 when Shatner found his third wife, Nerine (born: Nerine Kidd) drowned in the pool at the home that the couple shared in Studio City, California (via Biography). Nerine Shatner, a model, was only 40 years old when she died. Details revealed in his wife's autopsy only deepened the "Star Trek" star's tragedy. 

Shatner and Kidd married in 1996, and Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock of "Star Trek," was the best man at their wedding (per Closer Weekly). Shatner later revealed in his 2018 memoir "Live Long And ... What I Learned Along the Way," that finding his wife's dead body was one of the worst moments of his life, and as a result, the Captain Kirk actor found himself "twisted in grief ... I was completely lost." A recording artist as well as an actor, Shatner also paid tribute to his late wife on the song "What Have You Done" from his 2004 album "Has Been." Of that recording, he said (via The Irish Times), "I couldn't get through it. It took me several tries."

Nerine struggled with substance use disorder

It's unlikely that WIlliam Shatner was surprised to find that his deceased wife had high levels of alcohol in her system when she died by drowning. As revealed in her post-mortem report, her blood alcohol level was more than three times California's legal driving limit, at .28 percent, as People explains. Nerine was alone at the time that she died and she also had sleeping pills in her system, based on 1999 reporting from Los Angeles Times; People specified it was the sedative Valium. Foul play was ruled out in the drowning death. It's believe she dove in the pool and hit her head. Nerine had been a successful model and commercial actress in Europe and in New York before she met Shatner, as the Los Angeles Times goes on to report.

At the time that Nerine Kidd's autopsy report was revealed, Los Angeles police detective Mike Coffey, who worked the case, said (via Los Angeles Times), "The totality of the whole investigation indicates an accident ... Drinking was definitely a problem for her. Everyone knew she was an alcoholic. She just couldn't beat her problem." Shatner later opened up about his late wife's addiction to alcohol, admitting he was well aware of his wife's substance use issues when she died. Shatner's long-time friend and "Star Trek" co-star Leonard Nimoy had even attempted to help Nerine find treatment, as Closer Weekly goes on to note. 

Nerine Shatner's neck was broken

In his 2018 memoir "What I Learned," Shatner wrote that he fought to help Nerine with her alcoholism. "Nerine would hide bottles of alcohol all around the house where I couldn't find them," Shatner also said (per New York Post). He was advised by her own psychiatrist that the best way to help her was to divorce her, as the "T.J. Hooker" star later explained (via Yahoo! Money). Nerine Shatner's official cause of death, as listed on her autopsy report was "drowning associated with neck trauma," as People revealed in 1998. Nerine Shatner's neck was also broken, which likely happened when she dove into the pool. 

After Nerine Kidd's death, Shatner also revealed that her addiction to alcohol was almost too much for their marriage to overcome. He had filed for divorce in an effort to motivate Nerine to seek treatment, and refused to have a child with his third wife, which she so badly desired, until she could manage sobriety. "Nerine begged for us to have a baby ... I told her we could not until she proved she could stay sober for six months," Shatner said (via New York Post). In the time leading up to her death, Nerine Shatner was so under the influence of alcohol, she accused her husband of infidelity.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Shatner contemplated suicide in the aftermath of Nerine's drowning

In addition to two cracked vertebrae and high levels of alcohol, Nerine Shatner's face and neck were bruised. She was naked when her body was found in the pool. She was known to drink a combination of Gatorade and vodka. In his 2018 memoir "Live Long And ... What I Learned Along the Way," Shatner wrote more about her death: "This was the type of pain that makes you think either I'm simply going to die or I'm going to kill myself. The intensity was so strong that for a time I told myself that rather than living with that pain, it is much better to feel nothing."

Shatner went on to honor his wife's memory, establishing the Nerine Shatner Foundation to help other women manage sobriety, as the star revealed to The Irish Times in 2021. At that time Shatner said, "Women come up to me and say: 'You saved my life.' But not me; it was Nerine. She did that." Though never a suspect, Shatner was questioned in the drowning death of his wife, but was able to produce adequate supporting evidence of his whereabouts when Nerine Shatner's drowning death took place.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.