‘The Right Stuff’ Fact Check: Did Mrs Carpenter Wear a Floral Dress to the Photo Shoot?

Side-eye beside the Mercury space capsule

What’s worse than wearing white to a wedding? Well, if you’re one of the Mercury 7 wives, wearing a bold floral print to a photoshoot where all the other women have agreed to dress plainly.

That’s what happens in Episode 3 of Disney+ series “The Right Stuff,” when Scott Carpenter’s wife, Rene Carpenter (played by Jade Albany Pietrantonio), shows up the other gals. Imagine the side-eye just before the flash.

But did it really happen? Yes, the platinum blonde Mrs. Carpenter arrived at the wives’ Mercury space capsule photoshoot wearing a sleeveless red floral dress, breaking the dress-code rules, as the other women were dressed in their assigned solid colors: pink, yellow, blue and white.

Readers can see the original photo from the shoot in question, which was done by Life magazine, here.

Rene Carpenter, who later divorced Scott Carpenter (played by James Lafferty in the Disney+ series) died of congestive heart failure in July at the age of 92. She was dubbed “the undisputed prom queen of the early space program” by People magazine.

“The Right Stuff” tells the story of America’s first astronauts: John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gus Grissom and Deke Slayton. Respectively, Patrick J. Adams, Jake McDorman, Colin O’Donoghue, James Lafferty, Aaron Staton, Michael Trotter and Micah Stock play the test pilots who become instant American heroes.

Along with Pietrantonio as Rene Carpenter, the astronauts’ wives are played by Nora Zehetner (Annie Glenn), Shannon Lucio (Louise Shepard), Eloise Mumford (Trudy Cooper), Laura Ault (Jo Schirra), Rachel Burttram (Betty Grissom) and Victoria White (Marge Slayton).

Executive producers include showrunner Mark Lafferty, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson and Danny Strong, among others. “The Right Stuff” is a Nat Geo series made for Disney+.

The first two episodes of “The Right Stuff” debuted last Friday on Disney+. Subsequent episodes roll out weekly.