Chris Hadfield was born in Sarnia Ontario in 1959, and dreamed of being an astronaut after watching the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Helene Walter lived with her mother in Oakville in a single parent family. She went to the same high school as Chris and they met while performing in a play together. Helene said. “I was only 15, but we knew that we were special together,”
Helene's dream was to become an actress, but she opted instead for the reality of accounting at Ryerson University. Chris graduated in mechanical engineering from Royal Military College in Kingston and trained as a fighter pilot.
They married in 1981 in Kitchener and have been happily together for 34 years. The togetherness, though, would take a holiday for months at a time when Chris was on a mission in space. Talk about a long-distance relationship! Chris and Helene have three children, Kyle, Evan and Kristen, and early in their marriage she made a decision to put her career on the back burner to raise their family and support his dream.
Helene now manages the company they formed together, is experienced at doing house renos, speaks Russian, and is even good working with electricity.
Chris joked about their accomplishments in an interview ,"A lot of people who meet us remark that it can't be easy being married to a highly driven, take-charge overachiever who views moving house as a sport, and I have to confess that it is not — being married to Helene has at times been difficult for me."
In an interview with Chatelaine magazine Helene commented on their marriage; “One of my biggest complaints, though, is that it sucks being the spouse of the person who does everything perfectly. I do a lot of stuff well, but he does almost everything better. That said, I’ve always understood him — and that’s why we’re still married.”
As well as having a good life together, they have interests apart, some of them rather out of the norm. Helene explained their differences. , “If I say, ‘I want to walk the Inca Trail with a friend,’ he says, ‘Yay,’ When he says he wants to go and fly a Sabre fighter plane, I say, ‘Yay.’ We ‘yay’ each other.”
Chris has published an autobiography, 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth' which became a New York Times best-seller. The dedication he included says it all: "To Helene, with love. Your confidence, impetus and endless help made these dreams come true."