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Martin Henderson Movies and TV Shows: Why We Can’t Get Enough Of The ‘Virgin River’ Star

You'll never guess the famous face who helped him out in his early Hollywood days

We know and love him as Jack Sheridan on the Netlix hit Virgin River, but actor Martin Henderson has been leaving his mark on the film and television scene for more than 30 years, appearing in some of our favorite movies and TV shows.

As a matter of fact, stardom first came for him not on the Hollywood scene, but rather in his home country New Zealand, with a role on the down-under soap opera, Shortland Street. He got the gig when he was just 17 and played the character of Stuart Neilson from 1992 to 1995. After his time on the series came to an end, he made the move from New Zealand to Australia, starring in soap operas like Echo Point and dramas like Sweat, alongside none other than Heath Ledger.

Other Australian works he lent his talents to included Home and Away and Big Sky. In 1997, Martin Henderson made the leap and moved to the United States to study theater in New York and hopefully, break out into Hollywood in movies and TV shows.

Henderson’s humble Hollywood beginnings

Henderson began a two year program in the city at the Neighborhood Playhouse, but halfway through, he decided Los Angeles was the home for him and made yet another move across the country. Linking up in LA with his pal Heath, in a 2007 interview with AAP, he shared the ways in which his friend helped him out when he was down on his luck in his early days in California: “It can be very tough that town (Los Angeles) and there were many moments when he and I would talk about it and he could relate. It was so good to have a mate that could relate to it,” Henderson said of Ledger. “By the end of that year, I was just broke and on the bones of my arse. He was very supportive and generous, giving me some money that he got on the movie The Patriot.”

Heath Ledger and Martin Henderson, 2002
Heath Ledger and Martin Henderson, 2002

Finally making a name for himself

Luckily, things started picking up for Martin Henderson when in 2001, he was cast in Windtalkers, the first of many movies and TV shows that were to come. In 2002, he starred in the thrilling now-cult-classic horror film, The Ring.

Martin Henderson and Monet Mazur at the premiere of 'The Ring,' 2002
Martin Henderson and Monet Mazur at the premiere of The Ring, 2002Getty

Later came roles in Perfect Opposites, Torque and Bride and Prejudice. He even made an appearance in Britney Spears’ music video for her hit song, “Toxic.”

Work became more steady for Martin Henderson, as he worked alongside big names in Hollywood such as Cate Blanchett in Little Fish and Jordana Brewster in the TV film adaptation of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. He even spent some time on the stage in the West End production of Fool for Love with Juliette Lewis.

Recent Martin Henderson movies and tv shows

In 2015, he began a two-year stint on the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Nathan Riggs. When asked about the possibility of his character’s return after his departure in 2017, Henderson said, “I would never close the door. In my mind it’s been left open-ended enough. This is the third time that Shonda and I have worked together. I think providing an exit for the character where there’s a possibility for him to return is always nice. It was always a short-term thing and I was happy to spend a few years doing the show. For now, it’s about exploring some other areas and I think that suits me.

Martin also starred in the 2016 Christian film, Miracles from Heaven, alongside Jennifer Garner.

Actresses Jennifer Garner and Kylie Rogers, actor Martin Henderson, actress Courtney Fansler, director Patricia Riggen and actress Queen Latifah attend the premiere of 'Miracles from Heaven,' 2016
Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson, Courtney Fansler, Patricia Riggen, Queen Latifah, Miracles from Heaven, 2016Getty

Becoming Jack Sheridan on Virgin River

Henderson began his role as Jack Sheridan on the Netflix hit show, Virgin River, in 2019. He stars opposite Alexandra Breckenridge, Tim Matheson, Annette O’Toole, Colin Lawrence and other accomplished actors in this sweet, cozy, yet sometimes dramatic series.

Henderson’s character is an ex-US Marine who owns the local restaurant and bar and takes a liking to town newcomer Melinda Monroe, played by Breckenridge. The two eventually form a relationship that takes them on a series of ups and downs throughout the course of the seasons.

Henderson spoke highly of his fictional partner, saying, “She’s such a cool person and such a good actress. She’s so honest with who she is, and that shows on screen. I think it’s a huge part of why we’ve succeeded in bringing this relationship to the screen.” He continued, “I speak for myself, anyway. I just have such a big amount of respect for her as a person and as a performer. You can’t really fight that stuff when you genuinely dig someone. So, we’re lucky. The audience is lucky. It’s always fun to hear what might come out of her mouth at any time.”

Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan, Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe in episode 509 of 'Virgin River' movies and tv shows
Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan, Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe in episode 509 of Virgin RiverCOURTESY OF NETFLIX

Speaking about his character, Henderson said: “Jack shows up for everyone, yet he’s wrestling with all this other stuff. And it’s relatable because everybody, at some point in their life, has had to confront their own trauma or loss or neglect or abuse. Unfortunately, it just seems to be a pretty common experience, and to watch a character go through that is interesting.”

Henderson continued, “Not that we’re changing the world or anything, but I think it’s responsible storytelling to show a character who admits that they’re having trouble and need help and getting help and digging in and doing the work. Even if it’s one person that’s sitting there in Wisconsin that sees it on a Tuesday night and is dealing with something and if they can relate…I think that’s really cool to be putting that out there.”

Is Martin Henderson married?

Martin Henderson is reportedly in a relationship with Penny Hay, an interior designer from New Zealand. In the past, he was romantically linked to model Aisha Mendez, as well as Demi Moore. While there’s no saying whether marriage is on the horizon, he did joke with Glamour when talking about his fictional Virgin River proposal: “I’ve never proposed to someone, but I hope when I propose, I kind of know what the answer’s going to be. I would hate to be in a situation where you’re like, ‘I don’t know, it’s 50-50, but I’m going to ask her anyway,'” he said with a laugh.

Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan in episode 412 of 'Virgin River' movies and tv shows
Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan in episode 412 of Virgin RiverCOURTESY OF NETFLIX

As far as children, Henderson is a proud dog dad to a pup, named Sammy, that he often shares with his fans via Instagram.

Martin Henderson poses with a photo of his dog, Sammy, in a photo posted to his Instagram movies and tv shows
Martin poses with Sammy in a photo posted to his Instagrammartinhendersonofficial/Instagram

Keeping an eye out for Martin Henderson

The fifth season of Virgin River just dropped on Netflix on September 7, so if you haven’t already, be sure to check it out — and see what’s in store for Jack Sheridan!


Want more Virgin River? Read below!

From ‘Vampire Diaries’ to ‘Virgin River’ Catch Up With Actor Daniel Gillies + Find Out What He’s Doing Now

We Can’t Wait for ‘Virgin River’ Season 5 — Here’s Everything You Need To Know

‘Animal House’ to ‘Virgin River,’ Tim Matheson Shares Secrets From 62-years in Hollywood

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