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Mariska Hargitay Has ‘Perfect’ Family with ‘Law & Order’ Co-star & Kids Who Are Her ‘Teachers'

Busayo Ogunjimi
Feb 08, 2022
11:00 A.M.
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"Law & Order SVU" was not a romantic show, but it became a home for love for Mariska Hargitay. Hargitay married her co-star, and here is a look at their perfect family.

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Playing Olivia Benson on "Law and Order" for years earned Mariska Hargitay accolades and her own family. But, when it comes to Hargitay and her co-star Peter Hermann, "Law and Order" wasn't just for solving crimes.

For Hermann and Hargitay, "Law and Order SVU" became a setting for love. Since starting a romance on the NBC show, the actors' bond has only gotten stronger, and they now have a beautiful family.

THE COUPLE'S FIRST DATE, WEDDING, AND LIFE BEFORE KIDS 

Hargitay and Hermann's romance offset of "Law and Order" can be compared to no other. This loving duo, who met during Hermann's appearance on season 2, has been married for over 18 years.

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Years after meeting, Hargitay spoke candidly about her first date with Hermann in an interview with People. Their first date was enough for the actress to know that Hermann was the one. 

While Hermann made a guest appearance on the NBC show in 2002, he invited Hargitay to attend church. However, while Hermann was presumably listening to the sermon, Hargitay remembered she got "hit with a lightning bolt."

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann with their 3 children at the New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics game at Madison Square Garden on February 24, 2018. | Photo: Getty Inages

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The actress revealed she felt a strong connection towards Hermann and burst into tears in the middle of their date. Although Hermann thought the service moved her, the actress says it was because she realized "he was the one:"

“I just started sobbing. Peter thought I was crying because I was so moved by the service. No, it was because I was just overwhelmed, realizing he was the one." 

Peter Hermann with Amaya and August at the opening night celebration for "Pip's Island" Benefiting the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp on May 20, 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

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The 58-year-old "Jocks" actress also once said about her conviction on the connection she felt with Hermann:

"I cried because I was feeling something that I’d never felt before, but I kind of knew what it was. When you’re a little girl, your parents and your grandparents and everyone goes, ‘When you’re in love, you’ll know.’ And I did."

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay with their daughter, Amaya at the 20th Annual Playground Partners Family Party at Central Park, Heckscher Softball Fields on May 23, 2012. | Photo: Getty Images

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Hargitay and Hermann had a very New York relationship. Once reflecting on the early years of their romance, the "All Is Bright" actor said of walking to his apartment on West 36th street and encountering a literal herd of rats:

"The only thing I could say to this woman I loved, and whom I would eventually marry, was, New York!"

: Mariska Hargitay with children Amaya, Andrew and August at The Children's Museum Of The East End 5th Annual Family Fair on July 20, 2013. | Photo: Getty Images.

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Thankfully, the rat problem did not stop their relationship from progressing, and by 2004 the duo was ready to tie the knot. Hargitay and Hermann got married at the Unitarian Historical Chapel in Santa Barbara.

Hargitay wore a pale pink Carolina Herrera gown for the weddings, with the groom's initials and the wedding date embroidered into the lining.

HOW THE COUPLE BECAME PARENTS OF THREE 

A few years after marriage, the "Law and Order" stars were ready to expand their family. Their first child, August, was born in 2006 when the "Plain Truth" was 42. 

Mariska Hargitay and August at the "Hotel Transylvania" New York Premiere at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International on September 22, 2012. | Photo: Getty Images

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Hargitay and Hermann had plans for a big family, and her age did not stop her desire to have more children. Once speaking on being a mother in a 2012 interview, the actress said:

"I was really letting the chips fall as they might because I do think so much is up to God. I always said, 'I don't know how this is going to end up […] if somebody's going to leave a baby on my doorstep.'"

With Hargitay and her husband's desire to have a big family, and August wanting more siblings, the couple opted for adoption. Unfortunately, their first attempt at adoption fell through, but they eventually got good news from their lawyer.

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Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay with their children August and Amaya at the 2012 Baby Buggy Bedtime Bash hosted by Jessica And Jerry Seinfeld on June 6, 2012. | Photo: Getty Images

The couple's lawyers connected them with another expectant mother with a video call. Speaking on the birth of daughter Amaya, "The Downtown" star revealed she basically delivered her baby girl:

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"I basically pulled Amaya out. Peter and I held her, and then the birth mother and I hugged for a long time. That was profound. That was one of the most meaningful moments I've ever had in my life."

Shortly after the loving couple had baby number two, they brought their second son Andrew home. The couple did not expect to adopt Andrew, but they wasted no time claiming him as their own when the opportunity came. 

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MOTHERHOOD, HARDSHIPS, AND BALANCE 

With a demanding career like Hargitay's, creating a balance between motherhood and work has undoubtedly been a difficult task. Once during an interview in Beverly Hills, the 58-year-old "Leaving Las Vegas" star made it clear motherhood hasn't been easy.

The movie star did not bat an eye as she explained that it has been "hard" juggling her personal and professional life. However, while she is still learning to balance these two aspects of her life, the actress says she gives her full attention to one thing at a time. 

Her husband Hermann has also been a great support and partner through parenting over the years. As Hargitay spoke on her parenting struggle, she couldn't help but acknowledge her husband's great support system.

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But then it turns out Hermann's support system hasn't been able to take away all the stress of being a parent of three, and Hargitay says:

"There are days I go home and cry [...]But now, this is a gift of doing something for 20 years. We're such a well-oiled machine. I go in there, and I'm like, Guys, I've got a kids thing. I'm out.' They're like, 'Got it, boom."

Hargitay  doesn't hate her role as a mother despite the stress she has experienced. On the contrary, Hargitay says her kids have made her a better parent.

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Over the years, being a movie star and a parent has not been easy, but Hargitay says her kids have been her teacher, and her husband is her "North Star." Speaking on her and Hermann parenting teamwork, Hargitay said:

"Peter and I, we’re so different that it’s been amazing how we complement each other. He knows everything I don’t."

The actress says her family is a "happy, joyful, chaotic, crazy unit" and is perfect for her. But, Hargitay has also made it clear nothing has felt more right.

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