Astronaut Wives Club Finale

Astronaut Wives Club Finale Recap: Which Couples Survived the Program?

If you thought the Ashley Madison leak ended a lot of marriages, you obviously didn’t see Thursday’s Astronaut Wives Club finale.

No, seriously, this was one of the very last lines of the series: “Of the 30 space couples in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, only seven marriages survived.” And, sadly, one of our favorite out-of-this-world twosomes were casualties of that marital bloodbath.

Here’s a quick rundown of where each of the couples ended up by series’ end:

* Trudy got an offer to expand her and Gordon’s air-courier business, and while he initially opposed it, his opinion became considerably less important after she divorced him. She decided to fly solo, so to speak, and start her own courier company, which became a huge success.

YVONNE STRAHOVSKI, WILSON BETHEL* After making a splash with her television debut (“To hell with the pineapple cake!”), Rene got her own nationally syndicated talk show where she was free to discuss real issues — and didn’t have to smash any more eggs into diaphragms. She didn’t get back together with Scott, despite their lingering chemistry, but they remained on good terms until his death in 2013.

* Marge found her calling as a ringleader for future clubs of astronaut wives, eventually developing the nickname “Mother Marge.” And despite her loyalty to NASA, Marge also supported Betty’s lawsuit against North American Rockwell, which ended up working out for her and the two other women who lost husbands in Apollo 1; Betty never remarried after Gus’ death.

* John Glenn, as you’re hopefully aware, went on to have a successful political career, serving as a senator from 1974 to 1999. Annie, meanwhile, spent her time as a spokesperson for a number of different causes.

DOMINIQUE MCELLIGOTT, LUKE KIRBY* The whole Louise-and-Max thing eventually fizzled out, with her telling him, “I’m glad that we met when we did, that things worked out and that we made the choices we did.” She ended the series married to Alan, who was also the only man in the group to make it into space. Their marriage lasted for 53 years, and they died within weeks of one another.

* And because I’d like this mini-recap to end on a positive note, I’ll finish with Wally, who became a famous TV spokesperson and remained married to Jo. Win, win!

Your thoughts on the Wives‘ last hurrah? Grade the finale below, then drop a comment with your full review.


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67 Comments
  1. wrstlgirl says:

    I would love a second season :-(

  2. Sam says:

    I really liked this show but Louis’ voice was so annoying!

    • Priyam says:

      I think she was supposed to be annoying, because she always tried to be this perfect 50’s wife. Hope they have a second season, because the book covers wives from different programs too,, but will miss this initial bunch especially Betty, Trudy, Rene and my fav Jo! :)

  3. leash10 says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Though I’m sad it’s over, I actually kind of like how they made it just a 10 episode summer series. Throughout the show, I kept looking up the astronauts so I had read about most of the divorces before I found out tonight. That didn’t make it any easier though. :(

    • K says:

      Me too! I was constantly looking up the storylines during the show!

    • Katherine215 says:

      Same here! I was most sad about Rene and Scott, though that was partly because I love both actors, haha. This show was so darn good.

      • same here! my god, I would’ve wanted Rene and Scott to stay together but well, life is life lol. read a lot on the astronauts, and their wives, too. And I keep obsessing over Gus and Ed Chaffie’s recorded messages from when the capsule exploded. really sad :( read the book, as well. loved this one.

      • wrstlgirl says:

        Yep, I was following the time lines and jumps with Google. I learned a few things that I never knew before. It was fun!!

      • leash10 says:

        Yeah me too!I also loved Trudy & Gordo. She was so feisty. I was wrecked when Gus died too. (My NASA history knowledge was limited). Joanna did an amazing job. Really, they all did.

        • Katherine215 says:

          I came to love all of them by the end. Cried buckets for Betty when Gus died, cheered when Trudy took Gordo back (then was sad when they eventually divorced), all of it.

      • Allison says:

        Me too! This show prompted me to learn a lot more about the space program and those astronauts in particular than I probably ever would have known since it happened long before I was born. I was also sad about Rene and Scott, even though I had read up about what happens with them so I knew it was coming. I was happy to hear they remained on good terms even after they divorced. It really does seem like they just got to a point where he couldn’t pursue his career/dreams where she needed to be and she couldn’t pursue her career/dreams where he needed to be. How sweet was it when Scott said “You don’t just say goodbye to your best friend”. Awwwww :)

    • wgsecretary says:

      I did the same thing! It looks like a lot of viewers did. I also knew who ended up divorced and I found out about some of the deaths early. Of course, I’d heard of all the big names, but I was born in 1980. So, I didn’t live through it or commit everyone to memory in history class. I’m sure some aspects were embellished for dama’s sake. But, I really enjoyed the show and learned some things about the space program I wasn’t aware of before. I’d also like a second season, but I’m not sure I’d feel the same watching a new group of wives. I really enjoyed the story of the original ladies.

  4. fairmont1955 says:

    They did a great job of moving this show from women-being-competitive to supporting each other.

  5. Bwhit says:

    I had looked up what happened to each couple when I got invested in the show but it still was sad to see how many didn’t make it. I really liked this show and the actors did a fantastic job. I really hope Odette Annable (after she has her baby ;)), Wilson Bethel and several others get cast in shows soon, they are so fun to watch!

  6. drhenning says:

    Alan was the only one to make it to the Moon not space…. They obviously all went into space… Golf has not been the same since!!!

  7. Katherine215 says:

    This show was fantastic. I loved all of the women and their relationships with each other and their husbands. It was not at all what I was expecting and I’m so glad. I’d have loved a second season but it was pretty clear it was a one-off when they sped through the 60s. So glad I watched!

  8. Anne says:

    Fantastic end to a really enjoyable summer miniseries. I particularly appreciated that they managed to show Louise’s contentment with her choices and marriage without writing off the real affection and bond between her and Max- both of those relationships mattered in her character arc, and I’m glad they were both shown as such. (Seriously, how cute was the “when we were twenty” exchange?)

    • Adele Mac says:

      That was very cute when Louise told Max he wouldn’t have liked her when she was 20. I loved the electricity between the two of them. I thought their dance in the barn was a very romantic scene. There was a point at which I wished she’d gone for it with Max because of all Alan’s cheating. But she was the epitome of the perfect adtronaut

      • Adele Mac says:

        …my comment was sent before I finished it! Louise was the epitome of the perfect astronaut wife & she did say in that one scene to Alan that despite all he did, she only wanted him….that there was no other choice for her.

  9. Me says:

    The flag on the wall was hung BACKWARD you idiots!

    • Meak says:

      I know it seems that way, but it wasn’t. A flag is always supposed to be with the union (blue) moving forward as if it is on a staff. Hanging on a wall, the union is on the top left. You can find all the info in Chapter 1, Title 4 of the United States Code.

      • jen says:

        That’s exactly how it was backwards. We are watching a scene where we are landing on the moon and the flag on the wall in Command Central is hanging backwards. The stripes are vertical and the stars are on the right. As you stated above…the union should be on the top left.

  10. Rcgish says:

    I loved this show! I grew up in Florida and was fortunate to see many Apollo and space Shuttle Launches from across the river in Melbourne. It’s a part of my life and my fascination has not waned although our government has. I loved seeing this from the wives point of view.

  11. Diana says:

    I lived through this exciting time as a budding aviator and space program “groupie”. The series really shed light on the not-so-Stepford wives on the cover of Life magazine. Most touching note: Alan and Louise dying within weeks of each other. Most surprising: Wally and Jo staying married. He was a “player” of the first water (personal knowledge).

    • Adele Mac says:

      I, too, was very touched by the fact that Alan & Louise died so close to one another. My parents were married 55 years & died 1 year & 2 days apart, both the week before Christmas.

      • It’s wonderful that you had both parents in your life for so long. It is not that unusual for an elderly spouse to die soon after the death of the other. Almost like part of their life force died with their partner.

  12. haylbass says:

    they all made it to space. i think you meant alan was the only one to make it to the moon

  13. jo says:

    want a second season …the history we never saw is good

  14. John Zeger says:

    I’m going to really miss these women.

  15. Amanda says:

    I wish they would’ve slowed down the timeline so we’d have a second season! It was so good!

  16. Adele Mac says:

    I loved this show. I really looked forward to it each week. I started watching it because I was born in the 50’s & enjoy seeing the clothes & homes & other things that look like those that existed in the times that I grew up in. I got so much more. It was great to see the evolution of each wife. To be honest, I didn’t know tonight was the last episode!! I will really miss this show. I can’t believe it wasn’t more positively received…

  17. Bev says:

    Loved the show; didn’t know this was the series finale :(

  18. nina says:

    The Slaytons’ marriage was not among those surviving. They divorced and he remarried. Scott remarried three more times. Dunc and Max were fictitious, although based on actual people. All the Mercury Astronauts went to space, not just Shepard. Proofread much? :)

    • Barbara Golder says:

      Is there anywhere online where you can find mistakes that were made on this show in terms of the authenticity of the time period? For instance, Renee pronounced David Suskind’s name incorrectly. I’m sure there were other blunders? would love to know them!

  19. Lucille says:

    I enjoyed the series very much. Would like mor

  20. Shira Simon says:

    The closing monologue said that in 1975 Deek was cleared for flight, meaning they ALL went to space. Alan Shephard was the only Gemini astronaut to go to the moon.

  21. MarleysMom says:

    Sorry to see it go, really enjoyed the show. Being 61 I remember the accidents, successes and the walk on the moon. As a school kid we always watched the launches in the class room. I don’t think kids today care a thing about the past and space like I do. I even made it to see the last (my 1 and only time) space shuttle go up.It was thrilling.

  22. Thank you ABC for a great show, I looked forward to Thursday nights all week long !!!!! the actresses and actors were a wonderful cast, could not have done better in their roles. I loved seeing the clothes, cars, houses and furniture, it took me back in time to a happier place. I sure hated to see it end but thank you so much for having a program the whole family could watch and what a history lesson for me even tho I was in high school and the generations that were not born yet. I was a young woman then and it made me understand what a great time it was to live during that time . I do watch ABC more than any other network and thank you for your programming.

  23. JB says:

    Sorry I missed most of the series. Judging it by the title I thought it was a fictional “Sandal”-type series that ABC loves.
    I did catch a few episodes and enjoyed it.

    A few year a met a former astronaut at an airshow, he was here flying his WWII fighter. His wife flew with him, a not very comfortable ride for a woman of her age. I interviewed her for my TV station, she was great, sharing her husband’s passion but certainly her own woman.

    I grew up on air bases back in that time period, many of the wives were like that, not the vapid “Barbie” types usually portrayed in the recent series set the 60s.

  24. 50sfan says:

    I loved this show! So sorry to see it end. Wish there could have been a second season.

  25. C&A says:

    Wife & I Love this show, watched every episode, but our ABC station WKBW pre-empted the finale for football ! couldn’t believe this….grrrr….

  26. Mary Dyer says:

    Best programing I’ve seen in a very long time and don’t think a second season would fare as well. Leave it alone as a work of perfection. Having said that, I would love a documentary about the real families and what happened to each one of the original 7, second 9 and the 14.

  27. This was the epitome of good summer programming. Enjoyable and fluffy, yet made me want to read the book. I am happy with this being a one-off, although it would be enjoyable to see Sally Ride’s story.

  28. NP says:

    Did anyone catch that ABC’s announcer said season finale, not series at the beginning? Is there hope? (Don’t see how since they rushed so much)

  29. Truly enjoyed this show. I know a second season is highly unlikely, but I would love it if they would take other groups of women in current history and build miniseries around them. It was fun watching something based on real events. Reminded me about a lot of things and I loved revisiting the style and fashions of that period!

  30. Beth says:

    Like the show, but disappointed in the lack of attention to details, such as the American flag not facing the correct way in the control room, during the moon landing.

  31. Toxigal says:

    “She ended the series married to Alan, who was also the only man in the group to make it into space.”

    I think you mean “To the moon? not “into space”. All 7 mercury astronauts made it into space.

  32. Marv Chomer says:

    I saw the episode with Wally Shirra’s son being all patriotic and wanting to fight in Vietnam. I wanted to see what ever became of him so I googled him and found out he is a sexual offender that got busted on his way to Thailand to have sex with young boys. Look it up! Wow!

  33. Jeri says:

    This was good. Glad I watched, sorry it’s all over.

  34. Sally Galvan says:

    Very much enjoyed the series and looked forward to every Thursday night this past summer! It felt good to step back into the 60’s; besides recapping the astronaut’s flights into space which I always followed and kept the entire family glued to the tv, it was also great to see how they dressed back then and how they all put a great emphasis on appearance — very unlike nowadays! I was born in 1949 so I grew up with that same sense of importance of appearance. It was so refreshing to see clean, well made-up faces and perfect hairdos! I hated to see the program end 😥

  35. Please correct this line… ” She ended the series married to Alan, who was also the only man in the group to make it into space.” Alan was the only Mercury Astronaut to make it to the moon. I know the ratings have been poor but I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the show. I was born in 1960.. so though fascinated with the space program really didn’t understand a lot of it and though this “is” TV it did bring back memories – and reminded me of an amazing time of our country’s history…

  36. Willis says:

    “…Alan, who was also the only man in the group to make it into space.”

    Surely you meant to say “make it into space AGAIN”? Oh, and then there was that John Glenn thing in 1998, which oddly enough, they didn’t mention in the wrap up either.

  37. latroyson says:

    I just hate that this is happening finally put something worth watch on TV then u take it away they should have at least shot for another season SO PO!

  38. Ann Smith says:

    I loved the series. The casting, the sets, the story line were all handled wonderfully. I hope the astronaut wives are comfortable with it. As a viewer, the series made me respect them for what they had to do to make things work.

  39. Sarah says:

    I love it! Only wished there was more of it! I hear that the creator is going to do a 1920s and 1060s woman’s take, I can not wait!

  40. Melissa says:

    Alan was the only of the group to make it to the MOON.

  41. Dedee greenleaf says:

    I’m going to miss this show. I grew up during that time and loved watching what I grew up through. Sorry to see it end.Never heard much about the families so thanks for that!

  42. Dedee greenleaf says:

    I hope it comes out on DVD soon.

  43. Yoko says:

    The book the show is based on is excellent. Read it.