In an interview in next week's National Enquirer, the Star Trek captain talks openly about Nerine Shatner's battles with the bottle--and his struggles to help her.
"I fought and fought to save my wife from the serpent of alcoholism--but I failed," the 68-year-old actor tells the tabloid.
Nerine Shatner, 40, was found drowned in a pool by her celebrity husband at his Studio City, California, estate, last week. Police have termed the drowning accidental. Results of autopsy-related toxicology tests are pending. But William Shatner, at least, seems to know what they'll show.
"Nerine would hide bottles of alcohol all around the house where I couldn't find them, and even hide her vodka in water bottles," Shatner says in the Enquirer.
According to the actor, who once hosted the reality trauma series Rescue 911, his nearly two-year marriage to Nerine Shatner was shadowed by her alcoholism from Day One. Even before Day One.
Prior to their marriage in November 1997, the former Nerine Kidd pleaded with Shatner to make her his third bride and "help me beat my addiction."
But best intentions, medication and two rehab stints--including one tenure at the famed Betty Ford Clinic--didn't help. Egged on by a psychiatrist, Shatner says, he finally tried "tough love."
Court papers show Shatner filed for divorce in October 1998. But he never really left her--until just days before she drowned. Shatner tells the Enquirer he told Nerine he was going to leave her for good.
But still he hung around--taking her to dinner the night before her death. During the meal, Nerine sipped vodka on the sly and, later, snuck yet more vodka into their home and "chugged the entire bottle" before coming to bed, Shatner says.
On August 9, Shatner left to visit his daughter, Leslie, in Orange County. "I told Nerine I didn't want her around children in that condition," he says.
Checking up on his wife in the afternoon, the housekeeper reported that Nerine "was lying drunk in bed." Shatner discovered her at the bottom of their pool at about 10 that night.
The actor's frantic 911 emergency call was released by authorities yesterday. On the day after her death, a shaken William Shatner told reporters Nerine "meant everything to me."