Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) eventually found happiness with Laris (Orla Brady) at the end of Star Trek: Picard season 2, ending his string of failed romantic relationships in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In typically convoluted fashion, Q (John de Lancie) forced Picard to confront his inability to be loved by creating a dark dystopian reality, where he was a solitary and brutal military leader. In traveling back in time to fix his family history, Jean-Luc finally came to terms with the childhood trauma that had prevented him from forming long-lasting romantic relationships.
Picard season 2 built toward a spiritual sequel to the TNG episode “Tapestry”, which found Jean-Luc inside his own psyche, piecing together fragmented memories of his mother’s suicide. Because he subconsciously held himself responsible for the death of his mother, Picard found it impossible to commit and settle down. In confronting and understanding his trauma, Jean-Luc was able to return to the present to ask Laris for a second chance at love, which may be disrupted by the return of Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), the most important of his TNG love interests. Following this revelation, here is every one of Picard’s The Next Generation love interests – before Laris – explained in detail.
Dr. Beverly Crusher
It remains to be seen if Picard season 3 will resolve the romantic tension between Jean-Luc and Beverly, but arguably, it was concluded in TNG season 7, episode 8, “Attached”. Escaping prison on an alien planet, the two discover they’re psychically linked and learn of the mutual attraction between them. It’s revealed that Picard, as captain of the Stargazer when Beverly’s husband Jack was killed decided not to act on his feelings out of respect for his dead friend. Upon returning to the Enterprise it’s Beverly, rather than Jean-Luc, who decided not to take the relationship any further, deciding to keep their friendship platonic.
However, the TNG finale “All Good Things” revealed an alternate future where Picard and Crusher had been married for a time, suggesting the feelings are still there. As “All Good Things” contains many elements that would feature in Picard – Jean-Luc running the vineyard and the possibility of developing Irumodic syndrome – it’s entirely possible that the final season will revisit the romantic tension between Crusher and Picard. Showrunner Terry Matalas has promised a great story for Dr. Beverley Crusher in Picard season 3, so it could very well be the resolution of decades of unrequited love.
It’s hypocritical of Q to chastise Jean-Luc for his inability to be loved when he seduced one of Picard’s potential partners in TNG season 4, episode 20, “Qpid”. However, revisiting “Qpid” in light of Picard season 2 suggests a different reading altogether. Like Laris, Vash is another woman with whom Picard was romantically involved, having met her in season 3, episode 19, “Captain’s Holiday” and bonding over their shared love of archeology. However, Picard is unable to vocalize his attraction to Vash, leading to serious tension between the couple when she arrived on the Enterprise to discover he’d never mentioned her to the crew.
Intervening in the lover’s squabble, Q staged an elaborate Robin Hood adventure so that Jean-Luc could prove his love for Vash. It’s not a million miles away from his creation of the Confederation in Picard following Jean-Luc’s inability to voice his attraction to Laris. Picard and Vash decide once again that their lives are incompatible, and she left with Q, before dumping him a few years later in the Gamma Quadrant.
While Dr. Crusher and Vash are two of the Enterprise captain’s greatest lost loves, there’s another woman from his past who is often forgotten. In 2342, Jenice Manheim and Jean-Luc Picard were briefly in a romantic relationship before he shipped out, possibly on the USS Reliant. Jean-Luc and Jenice met again in TNG season 1, episode 4, “We’ll Always Have Paris” when her husband Paul inadvertently caused death and destruction on the planet Vandor IV. Reunited, Picard apologizes for abandoning her at the Cafe de Artistes without telling her why. His reason was that he was too afraid to meet her, something which chimes with the fears revealed in Picard season 2.
In TNG season 5, episode 21, “The Perfect Mate”, Picard finds his ideal match, but predictably, there are complications. Kamala (Patrick Stewart’s future X-Men co-star Famke Janssen) is an empath who senses what men desire and becomes exactly that. There’s therefore potential that this isn’t a genuine love between Picard and Kamala, given that she’s adopted everything he wants in a partner – a love of literature and archeology.
Kamala is promised as a bride in a diplomatic exchange between two warring nations, so Picard is torn over his attraction to her. Deciding to do his duty as a Starfleet officer, Jean-Luc stands aside to let the archaic tradition take place. As Kamala’s already bonded herself with Picard, she has inherited this sense of duty and also decides to marry as planned, bringing a sad end to another of the Enterprise captain’s ill-fated romances.
Lt. Commander Nella Daren
Picard, as captain of TNG‘s Enterprise-D, understood the need to separate romantic and professional relationships. However, he’s only human, as proved by his romance with Nella Daren, the Enterprise’s head of stellar sciences. The two embarked on a romantic relationship in the episode “Lessons”, sparked by their shared love of music. While Will Riker accused Picard of favoritism behind his back, both Jean-Luc and Nella decided on her transferring to a new ship after the captain was compromised by his fear for Daren’s life during a dangerous away mission. Typically for Jean-Luc, he promised to keep seeing Nella, but the character was never seen again.
Star Trek‘s musical character trait for Jean-Luc Picard was first introduced in TNG season 5, episode 25, “The Inner Light”. When Picard was exposed to a probe from the planet Kataan, he experienced a lifetime of memories under the identity of an iron weaver called Kamin. While experiencing 42 years of Kamin’s life in half an hour, he lived a long and happy marriage with Eline, with whom he had two children. As Jean-Luc retained his ability to play the Ressikan flute, and Kamin was also interested in music and astronomy it’s unclear if the latter was a real person or a sentient and adaptive representation of Kataan’s culture.
The probe was launched prior to a supernova tragedy that destroyed all life of Kataan. It was designed to contain the memory record of this lost civilisation and pass it on to the person who encountered it. That person was Jean-Luc and while it’s arguably Kamin, rather than Picard who experiences married life with Eline, the latter retains enough memory of his Kataan counterpart that she surely counts as Picard’s longest relationship, even if they’re technically only together for 30 minutes of real time.
Anij holds the distinction of being the only one of Picard’s love interests that convinces him to resign from Starfleet. Arriving on her home world, Jean-Luc uncovers a Federation plot, helmed by Dougherty, a corrupt Starfleet admiral, to relocate the peaceful Ba’ku, including Anij. Picard and the Enterprise crew help the native Ba’ku to stage an insurrection against the Federation and the forces of the So’na.
Despite their mutual attraction to each other, Anij can’t convince Picard to stay behind. Instead, he chooses to return to Starfleet to help them in their continued battles against the Borg and the Dominion. He promises to use his 318 days of shore leave to return to the Ba’ku home planet, but it’s unclear if he ever did, continuing a long-standing pattern of behavior for Picard.
It wouldn’t be right to miss out TNG‘s Lwaxana Troi in a discussion of Jean-Luc Picard’s love interests. Although the attraction between Lwaxana and Jean-Luc was very one-sided, Deanna’s mother was very keen on the Enterprise captain. In an attempt to rescue Lwaxana, Deanna and Will Riker from the Ferengi, Jean-Luc Picard delivered a stirring romantic speech in order to convince their captors that he would stop at nothing to be reunited with his beloved. It was a bittersweet moment for the besotted Lwaxana, who knew it was all a ruse, and eventually gave up hope for a relationship with Picard.
Arguably, Talinn (Orla Brady) is a surrogate for Laris in Picard season 2, the Romulan Traveler assigned to Jean-Luc Picard’s ancestor Renée to help him come to terms with his childhood trauma. Knowing Q, he picked this specific Picard ancestor to mess with because he knew of her connection to Laris’ own ancestor. Because of this familiarity, Jean-Luc forms an instant bond with Talinn that feels far deeper than it would have been if Renée Picard had a different Traveler assigned to her. Returning to his own time after Talinn sacrifices herself to save Renée, Jean-Luc is finally able to attempt a relationship with Laris, with Talinn’s death acting as a reminder for Jean-Luc not to let love pass him by once again.
A former member of the Romulan Tal Shiar, Laris and her husband Zhaban (Jamie McShane) worked at Chateau Picard and helped him expose the Zhat Vash, a secretive Tal Shiar cabal who were motivated by their hatred of synthetic lifeforms. A year after the events of Picard season 1, Zhaban passed away and left Laris widowed. She continued to work closely with Jean-Luc, and the two formed a closer bond, which developed into romantic feelings for one another.
However, due to Picard’s childhood trauma, presumably exacerbated by living in the family home, he fell back on the recurring excuse from Star Trek: The Next Generation – that he couldn’t pursue a relationsip because of his sense of duty. This avoidance led Laris to prepare to leave Jean-Luc, the vineyard, and Chateau Picard’s wine behind for good, but his experiences in the past with her ancestor Talinn convinced him to try again. Presumably, the couple are still together in Star Trek: Picard season 3, as otherwise Q’s elaborate plot would have been for nothing. That said, the return of Beverly Crusher could provide the biggest challenge for their fledgling relationship.