Mariska Hargitay has been married to Peter Hermann for over 18 years, during which they have raised three children—two adopted, one biological—together.

Understandably, the “Law and Order: SVU” star is always attempting to find new ways to balance her family and work life. Even so, she calls having her family around “happy chaos.”

Most people cannot hear Mariska Hargitay’s name without thinking of her character Olivia Benson on NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU.” The role did not only earn her fame but also helped her to find her true love with co-star Peter Hermann.

For Mariska Hargitay, the day she met Peter was a memorable one. Speaking on The Drew Barrymore Show, she revealed that she was very nervous when seeing him for the first time.

Hermann came to the show in its third season as a guest star in November 2001. They eventually married, and it was years later that Hargitay opened up publicly about her first impressions of Hermann.

Hargitay has explained that she found Hermann “distracting” on set because he was so handsome until she eventually relaxed around him.

“He was very handsome, and it was distracting,” Hargitay recalled. “Then he would come back the other day, and all the producers would look at me and give me eyes. I’d never been like that to anyone ever. It was funny because I was single, I was 35, and my friends were like, ‘Mariska, you need to get out more, nobody’s going to show up on your show and ask you to marry them.’”

Today, Mariska and her husband Peter Herman have been happily married for 18 years. But on their first date, he made her cry. 

Their first date was a few months after they first met and were in a church. The unique date must have served the couple well, as it was then that Hargitay knew that Hermann was the one for her. The star has even explained that she burst into tears during the sermon after feeling something for Hermann that she had never felt before.

Eventually, the pair married in August of 2004 with 200 guests in Santa Barbara. August 2022 marked 18 years of happy marriage for the happy couple.

And even 18 years later, the two still find the energy to dance the night away. Recently, they even posted a video of themselves teaming up on the dance floor at a close friend’s western-themed wedding.

The video understandably went viral after being posted. Fellow celebrities and friends commented celebrating the couple and praising their dance moves.

The couple is clearly proving that you do not have to be young to have a happy, exciting relationship together.

Tragedy shaped her

Mariska Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, California, to actor Mickey Hargitay and actress Jayne Mansfield.

It was supposed to be a wonderful upbringing with two loving parents. However, when Mariska was 3-years of age, her mother, Jayne, passed away in a tragic accident.

“Losing my mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul,” she told Redbook in 2009. “But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I did to be here.”

The horrible accident has always been with her, and the memory of her mother will never fade. However, Mariska Hargitay has had a very different look at the accident, which she said wasn’t one at all.

“There are no accidents,” Hargitay told James Lipton in a 2014 interview on Inside The Actors Studio. “And I believe God has a plan. Although I don’t understand it, I do trust it. And I learned to make peace with what is.”

Mariska Hargitay children

When Mariska Hargitay, the queen of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and her husband Peter Hermann were ready to have children, they knew they wanted a large family.

In 2006, the couple welcomed their first child. Their son was born after an emergency cesarean section, Mariska was 42 at the time.

“I’m not a fan of surgery…but I wanted a healthy baby,” she said.

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August is a family name from Peter’s side; members of the Hermann family have been using it for more than 200 years.

August is Mariska and Peter’s only biological child.

After the birth of her first child, the Law and Order star didn’t know if she would be able to have another successful pregnancy.

So she turned to adoption, something Hargitay had thought of since she was a child. The adoption process started in 2010 – but it was a painful one.

Mariska Hargitay relied on her faith in God.

“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. I don’t know if I’m going to get pregnant and have twins. I don’t know…,’” she told Good Housekeeping in 2012.


“‘If somebody’s going to leave a baby on my doorstep.’ But I really did think that down the line, Peter and I would adopt a child. That was always part of the plan.”

Little did they know that their second child would almost fall right into their lap. In 2011, they adopted Amaya Josephine after attending her birth.

The birth mother, who was Black, told the couple she knew she was making the right choice.

“She said, ‘I know this is right. You are this baby’s mother.’”

“I basically pulled Amaya out,” Mariska told Good Housekeeping a year after her birth. “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.”

A few months after adopting Amaya, Hargitay and Hermann welcomed a second son, Andrew Nicholas.

Mariska and Peter didn’t hesitate for a second when they got a call from their adoption lawyer, who said that there was a baby boy available for adoption. Andrew, who was born two months premature, joined the family in 2011.

The first son August, who was four-and-half years old at the time, also fell in love with the newest addition to their family.


“He is over the moon,” she said. “He calls her his baby because he says the whole thing was his idea. He always talks about how he’s going to protect her. He’s going to be a great big brother.”

As Mariska was very young when her mother passed away, becoming a mom herself brought her closer to the guardian she lost so early in life.

“Being a wife and mother is my life, and that gives me the most joy,” she said. “I understand [my mother] in a new way that gives me peace. Now I understand the love she had in her, and it makes me feel closer to her.”

Today, Mariska’s children have grown a lot. August, 16, is attending high school. Still, his situation has been different from the other children in his school – mainly because Mariska struggled to balance her busy acting schedule with being a mother.

”I get jealous that other people get to take August to school and pick him up. It’s hard for me to go to his school and not know all the parents. They all know one another and it’s a community,” Mariska once confessed.

Amaya Josephine Hermann has now turned 11 years old and according to Mariska, her daughter has a very strong personality.

”My daughter is the boss of me,” Mariska told People and added:

”She is so strong, her independence inspires me.”

Mariska has also revealed how Amaya has protected her brother Andrew, 10, against bullies.

“We adopted Amaya, and Andrew, I always describe [him] as this angel that fell out of the sky,” Mariska shared, per PopSugar.

In general, Mariska and her husband try to keep their children out of the spotlight – but sometimes you can see Amaya and her brothers on Mariska’s Instagram page, where she usually shares pictures of her kids.