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Mariska Hargitay is one of the most popular actresses on television. Her long-standing role on Law & Order: SVU has endeared her to viewers all over the world, and her character, Olivia Benson, is credited as one of the strongest female role models in the history of police procedural drama.

Hargitay has also managed to stay away from tabloid drama and lives a happy, well-adjusted life with her husband. Join us as we break down Hargitay’s first forays into acting and how she ultimately met and married the man of her dreams. 

How did Mariska Hargitay get into acting?

Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson in Law & Order: SVU | Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Many fans know that Mariska Hargitay was born to famous parents. Her mother, Jayne Mansfield, was one of the sexiest stars of the 60s, often compared to Marilyn Monroe due to her curvy figure and over-the-top vivaciousness. Mickey Hargitay, the famed bodybuilder, was Hargitay’s father.

When Mansfield was tragically killed in a car accident in 1967, Mariska Hargitay was raised primarily by her father at his home in California.

In spite of the early tragedy in her life, Hargitay rose to fame rather early in life. She had a wide variety of interests at school, including cheerleading, student government, and beauty pageants. Ultimately, it was acting that appealed to her the most, and she started getting roles in several different television shows, including a recurring guest stint on ER.

However, it wasn’t until 1999 that Hargitay was to come across the role that would define her career – playing Olivia Benson in Law & Order: SVU. Hargitay has become the face of the show, along with her co-star Christopher Meloni, and many fans follow the show exclusively due to her brilliant portrayal of Benson.

What does Mariska Hargitay’s husband do?

Law & Order did more than provide a fabulous career opportunity for Mariska Hargitay. In 2002, an actor named Peter Hermann guest-starred on Law & Order and had a few scenes opposite Hargitay. The two immediately hit it off and Hermann asked Hargitay out on a date to attend church with him.

As Hargitay tells it, it was at the church ceremony where she realized that he was the one for her, and she had an emotional breakdown in the middle of services. They became inseparable after that.

As for Peter Hermann, he was not born into Hollywood royalty but has enjoyed great success in the entertainment industry through hard work and determination. Prior to his guest appearance on Law & Order, Hermann appeared in shows such as Guiding Light and Beautiful People. He has experienced his greatest success later in life, however, with a starring role in the hit series Younger.

How long have Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann been married?

After several years of dating, Hargitay and Hermann tied the knot in 2004. They both knew that they wanted a family, and ultimately had three children – a son named August in 2006, a daughter that they adopted in 2011, and another son that they adopted later that same year. 

The pair recently opened up to spill the secrets behind their fifteen-year marriage, admitting that while they do have fights just like every married couple, the trick is knowing how to see the silliness in everyday moments. Hargitay and Hermann love to laugh with each other, and credit each other’s sense of humor as a boon to their marriage.

Hermann gushed about his wife, saying that ultimately, they have the same goals and purpose in life and that they know they will get there together. In a world where a new celebrity divorce is announced every day, Hargitay and Hermann’s relationship is truly refreshing and inspiring.