Jeri Lynn Ryan (born February 22, 1968) is an American actress known for playing the shapely Borg Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager and for her relationship with Jack Ryan.
Ryan was born as Jeri Lynn Zimmerman in Munich, Germany to American parents. She has one younger brother, Mark. Her father was in the United States Army and raised the family on military bases all over the country including Kansas, Maryland, Georgia and Texas. Finally, at the age of 11, her family settled down in Paducah, Kentucky . After Ryan graduated high school in 1986 as a National Merit Scholar, she attended Northwestern University, where she was a member of Alpha Phi sorority. While in college, she enrolled in beauty pageants and swimsuit competitions to pay for tuition. Despite having her first two years of tuition payed for, she was expelled from the university due to Northwestern's strict rules on failing grades. In 1989, Ryan became Miss Illinois and won the Miss America swimsuit competition, while coming in fourth for the Miss America title in 1990. Ryan graduated college in 1990. She stands 5 ft 8 in tall.
After college, Ryan decided to pursue her dream of an acting career. Her husband encouraged her and even gave her a plane ticket to Los Angeles. She moved there and made her first acting debut as an extra in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, but was cut out of the final version. She continued to act in commercials and eventually TV shows like Melrose Place, Matlock, and The Sentinel as well as TV movies like Co-Ed Call Girl. Her big break came when she won a regular role as an extraterrestrial investigator named Juliet Stuart on the TV show Dark Skies. The show was cancelled after one season, but the role drew the attention of the science-fiction community.
In 1997, Ryan was cast to play Seven of Nine, a Borg drone freed from the collective on the science fiction series Star Trek: Voyager. The role drew her instant fame and her wardrobe made her a sex symbol among some science-fiction fans. It also drew criticism from some fans who felt that character was created to add sexuality to the show, and who felt that a disproportionate number of episodes that followed her addition to the cast focused on her character to the exclusion of others. However, her appearance also coincided with higher ratings and more positive critical reviews of Voyager, which were partly attributed to better screenwriting and partly due to her character being both intrinsically interesting and well-acted.
After Voyager ended in 2001, Ryan joined the cast of Boston Public in the role of Ronnie Cooke, a frustrated lawyer who quits to become a high school teacher. The show's producer, David E. Kelley, wrote the role specifically for her. The show was cancelled in 2004.
Ryan has recently appeared in movies such as Down With Love.
In 1990, while dealing blackjack at a charity event, Ryan met investment banker and future political candidate Jack Ryan. The couple married in 1991 and had a son, Alex, in 1994. Throughout their marriage, Ryan and her husband took turns commuting between Los Angeles and Chicago for their careers, but finally divorced in 1999. Ryan had mentioned in an interview for Star Trek that the frequent separation between Chicago and Los Angeles had been difficult for their marriage. The reasons behind their divorce were kept sealed.
In 2004, details of her divorce proceedings with Jack Ryan were unsealed by a California judge despite appeals by both parties to keep them sealed, claiming that the information could be harmful to their son if released. It was revealed that, six years before, she had accused Ryan of attempting to coerce her into sexual acts with him in public, and in adult clubs in New York, New Orleans, and Paris. This information led Jack Ryan to withdraw his Republican candidacy for an open United States Senate seat in Illinois. Ryan had previously enjoyed a strong showing in the polls, and the Republican party was left without a strong replacement candidate, so the unsealing of the Ryan's divorce records may have made the difference in enabling Barack Obama to win the election.
After her marriage ended, Ryan began a relationship with Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise executive producer Brannon Braga. Her most recent TV appearances have been as a recurring character, Charlotte, on the hit show, The O.C..
In February of 2005, Ryan announced the opening of her restaurant, Ortolan. Located on Third Street in Los Angeles, California, the restaurant serves French food with a modern interpretation. Ryan opened the restaurant with her boyfriend, Chef Christophe Eme.