While Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay portray a passionate couple as Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson, the actor enjoys coming home to his off-screen blue-eyed wife of 26 years, Sherman Williams. The lovely couple will be empty-nesters soon as their kids are almost grown-up.
Christopher Meloni and Sherman Williams met in Los Angeles in 1989 when she was in her twenties. Williams had short, bleached white hair and wore cat’s eye sunglasses the day they crossed paths.
“This I’ve got to meet,” Meloni thought to himself, and so he walked over to her and started flirting with his future wife. “And concluded she was an eleven on a coolness scale of ten," said the actor.
(L) Christopher Meloni and wife during Entertainment Weekly's 1st Annual "IT List" party at Milk Studios in New York City, New York. (R) Christopher Meloni and Sherman Williams. Photo: Getty Images and Instagram /@instagram.com/chris_meloni
THEY BUMPED INTO EACH OTHER THRICE
However, one thing stood out, Williams had a boyfriend. After that, they went their separate ways, and time passed. One afternoon Meloni was driving in the Hollywood Hills when he heard someone calling his name. It was Williams.
She invited him to a party she was hosting, and he accepted the invitation. Once again, Meloni concluded that Williams was “cool, funny and sexy,” but she still had a boyfriend.
Christopher Meloni and Doris Sherman Williams attend the "No Time To Die" New York Screening at iPic Theater on October 07, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images
The “Law & Order” star returned to New York but was soon back in Los Angeles. He bumped into the production designer for the third time around.
Meloni thought it was no longer a coincidence and left a note at her house. The stars were at last aligned. “But wouldn’t you know it?” he once recalled, saying:
“Just then, three women dropped into my lap. And, you know, three in hand are worth one in the bush. So I let Sherman slide.”
It took another two years for the pair to start dating, another six months for them to start living together, and another four years for them to marry.
On what Williams saw in her now-husband was his resilience. She recounted that they attended three parties given by three sets of her friends for their first date.
According to Williams, the first event took place in West Hollywood, and all the men in attendance were gay. “Chris passed with flying colors,” she revealed.
At the next party, given by Beverly Hills snootballs, “Chris kept his manners in check and held his own,” said Williams. They went to a costume designer’s party in the Hills at the last event, where they drank beer from a tub on the porch. “And I thought: ‘I can take him anywhere,’” she added.
THE COUPLE'S SPONTANEOUS WEDDING
As for Meloni, during an appearance on the TV show “Harry” in January 2018, daytime host Harry Connick Jr. asked him how he knew Williams was the one, and he admitted that he did not know, but his mother did while explaining:
“I didn’t. My mother did. She had never done this before. The first time she met my wife, then-girlfriend, she goes ‘as soon as I saw her, I was like Oh my God, Chris is going to marry this one.’”
The two eventually walked down the aisle, and their nuptials took place on the beach in Malibu. The theme was medieval, and there were fluttering banners.
A nondenominational minister officiated the ceremony as the bride and groom held out their goblets, removed the shot glasses inside, and knocked back hits of tequila.
Because Williams was working on a film, she raced to the airport and jetted off to Miami. However, commuting frustrated the newlyweds, and they had to find a place they both loved.
Williams, 62, loved being in LA while her spouse preferred the streets of New York more. The 60-year-old explained why he needed to be located in the Big Apple:
“I need to say, ‘I’m in New York City.' I’m not a mystic, but I have a spiritual connection to New York. This is where the shell fell off.”
His wish was granted, and his wife made what he calls “a great sacrifice,” and the couple settled in New York. As fate would have it, gigs started lining up for him.
In 1999, the TV star landed his most prominent role as Detective Elliot Stabler in NBC’s popular franchise “Law & Order.” Meloni’s big break on the TV show brought him and his family prosperity.
Williams and Meloni were afforded a modern glass-and-steel high-rise New York apartment consisting of multi-windows in Hell's Kitchen, including a Connecticut retreat, travel, and freedom for his beautiful wife to explore painting.
MELONI & WILLIAMS’ SERENE MARITAL LIFE
Meloni told Architectural Digest in August 2017 that he was his wife’s “biggest fan” when it came to her artistry ability, whose oils “are mostly realistic, figurative pieces.”
Williams admitted that her husband waited on her to put her creative skills to the paintbrush, especially for something she would agree to hang up.
Born in NYC in January 1960, Williams is also an Art Director and has 17 credits under her belt. Before discovering the film business, she studied Fine Art at the California College of the Arts.
Williams worked for fourteen years designing sets as an Art Director and Production Designer for film and television before relocating to NY.
She credits her teacher and master painter Sharon Sprung for inspiring her to paint portraits. On her website shermanmeloni.com, she has sixteen portraits that have been commissioned.
Apart from being creative, she is also a doting mom of two to daughter Sophia, 20, and son Dante, 18. Williams and Melonie welcomed their eldest child in March 2001 and their youngest in January 2004.
In March 2014, Meloni openly talked about his approach to fatherhood which is more persuasive than forceful. He gave an example about his daughter, who came to him and Williams and told them that there was no dance offered at her school, so she would not have a sport.
“We said, ‘You have to do something.’ She decided on ballet, and we guided her on how to do that," Meloni revealed. On what kind of father he is, he disclosed that his kids would call him a little crazy, adding:
“I’m very physical, very affectionate. I’m also disciplined and focused on education. That’s one thing that was instilled in me, one place in life where there’s no compromise.”
Meloni shared what worked for him was empowering his children and that from his perspective, power enables kids to mature because it requires critical thinking on their part. In the end, “they feel engaged in a decision, which makes them feel engaged in the family process," he added.
During an appearance on “The View” once, the “Happy!” actor divulged that the most challenging thing that he had to learn about being a dad was finding a fine line between giving kids a structure, helping them grow, and letting them be without imparting his problems onto them.
His daughter, Sophia, is already going through a stage whereby she receives romantic gestures. She revealed one encounter on a written piece called “View From the Bottom,” published in February 2019.
Sophia wrote about the dangers of communicating with strangers online, sharing she had 32 emails from a boy who courted her. While the youngster admitted that she was aware of communication risks between her and the unknown user, she would continue to chat with him regardless.
While on the love subject, her father said he was not a fan of drama involving extramarital affairs. “Affairs, drama - that’s complicated stuff, said Meloni, adding:
“I’m not a fan of complicated. There’s so much energy expended in personal drama, in having a dramatic life. People get addicted to the drama.”
He further explained that Williams also tries to protect herself from the world's cruelty, real or imagined. She noted that aside from the mere fact that they like each other, the strength of their marriage lies in four factors:
“Space, respect, trust, and freedom. We laugh a lot.”
At the end of the day, when her husband comes home from a 14 to 15 hours a day shooting, what matters to Meloni is what awaits him back home.
“I love my children beyond all reason. They’re my joy, even when they’re wild with kid energy, he said. Meloni shared that his wife loved him while the mother of two added, “I appreciate how much he appreciates me.”