Mariska Hargitay has a long and fruitful career in film and television. The 58-year-old actress, who plays Olivia Benson on Law & Order, has achieved actual stardom. However, a terrible catastrophe also occurred in her past.
Hargitay has endured the horrible accident for many years. However, what matters most is that the Golden Globe-winning actress has also been successful in finding love and building a loving family.
Mariska and Peter Herman have been blissfully wed for seventeen years. However, he made her cry on their first date. This tells you everything you need to know about Mariska Hargitay’s life and the difficult circumstances she overcame.
Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield’s daughter Mariska Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, California. With two devoted parents, it was meant to be a beautiful upbringing. However, Jayne, Mariska’s mother, tragically died in an accident when Mariska was 3 years old.
Mariska Hargitay – tragic passing of mother Jayne Mansfield
Jayne Mansfield’s career had already started to falter at the time. She was let go by 20th Century Fox in 1962—two years before Mariska was born—and went on to participate in a number of TV shows and game shows.
In the 1960s, Mansfield chose to go out beyond Hollywood and appeared in a number of films from Germany, Italy, and Britain. She also started performing live on stage in nightclubs while touring in the US and the UK.
Don Arden, the renowned music promoter and father of Sharon Osbourne, organized a tour in 1967. She was giving a performance at Batley one week.
The tour of the UK was the last Jayne Mansfield did. While driving from a nightclub appearance in Mississippi, en route to New Orleans, she passed away in a car accident when her vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer. Jayne was only 34.
Sam Brody, Mansfield’s ex-boyfriend at the time, and their driver all perished in the collision. The adored Hollywood star was interred in Pennsylvania’s Fairview Cemetery next to her father.
She had three kids in the backseat sleeping, but they all got out of the car safely. Mariska Hargitay relocated to be with her father Mickey Hargitay after that, and despite being a very small child, she will never forget it.
“Losing my mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul,” she explains. “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.”
Mariska Hargitay went on to study at Marymount High School, where she was active in theatre groups.
Constantly compared to her mother
She decided to attend UCLA in California to study theater, and shortly after that, in 1984, she made her acting debut in Ghoulies. Following that, Hargitay spent the 1980s acting in a number of TV shows in an effort to pursue a career on a larger platform. But unlike her mother, who was infamous for doing so, she didn’t alter either her name or the color of her hair.
Mariska Hargitay was constantly compared to her late mother, despite the fact that she now had a job.
People told her to adopt her mother’s seductive looks, alter her name, and modify how she looked. Mariska once declined to appear in a naked scene in the film Jocks (1986). It hasn’t been simple being a Hollywood legend’s daughter. And on sometimes, it even has been a burden on her.
“I used to hate constant references to my mom because I wanted to be known for myself,” Mariska Hargitay mentioned. “Losing my mother at such a young age is the scar of my soul.”
She has always been aware of the terrible accident, and she will always remember her mother. Mariska Hargitay, on the other hand, has a radically different perspective on the incident and claims there was no accident at all.
“There are no accidents,” Hargitay told James Lipton in an interview. “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 – ‘Law & Order’
“It’s also helpful in acting. You have to accept what is and try to figure it out. I think my philosophy is what can I learn from this situation and how can I grow. Because that’s the most important thing to me is growing,” Hargitay added.
In 2018, Hargitay spoke further on the tough loss. She explained that she’s gotten candid about it again, trying to avoid pain, loss, and feeling things.
“But I’ve learned instead to really lean into it because sooner or later you have to pay the piper,” she said. “I’m not saying it’s easy, and it certainly hasn’t been for me. There’s been a lot of darkness. But on the other side, things can be so bright.”
Mariska followed her mother into the acting business. And she sure looks very much like Janye!
After 15 years of acting, Mariska Hargitay scored her significant breakthrough role. In 1999, she starred as Olivia Benson in NBC’s police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The show is still running, with Mariska appearing in more than 500 episodes.
“I read the script, and I knew in my gut that I had to do this role,” she recalled on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “I read it and just, chills, and knew that I had to do it.”
However, before she got the role, Hargitay’s agent warned her about taking it, saying it might be “too dark.” But that wasn’t a concern of Mariska’s at all.
Starred in over 500 episodes
She received a callback after the audition, but it turned out that another female was also present. Hargitay plays a detective on the show, and she was already acting in the part before getting it.
Mariska thought back to the time when she confronted Dick Wolf, the originator, and corrected him.
“I walked in, and I go, ‘Listen, you’re confused. Here’s the deal. I’m pretty sure this is me,’” she recalled. “‘This is my part; I’m serious. We’re past this, let’s not even waste your time.’”
The firm stance taken by Mariska Hargitay worked out perfectly. She has played Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU since since she was cast in the role.
But as they were shooting the pilot episode, her efforts with the creator came back to pretty much haunting her.
“I found out the other girl was for another role, and she was in the pilot, too!” Mariska Hargitay explained, adding that she was upfront about possibly destroying the other actress’s career. “I did, she knew.”‘
The hit primetime show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has helped Mariska carve a successful career, winning both a Golden Globe as Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In addition, she’s been nominated for eight more awards.
Mariska Hargitay – family, husband & children
In 2004, Mariska married actor and producer Peter Hermann. The couple met two years earlier, as Peter worked on Law & Order as both an actor and a producer on season three. Now, they have been happily married for 17 years.
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 the first time.
“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.’”
Peter made his future wife cry on their first date as she asked her to go to church with him.
“And I was moving, and I said, ‘Peter, I would love to, but not today. I am moving today.’ He was like, ‘Oh come on; it’s an hour. It’s an hour.’ It was so funny, I just couldn’t resist, so I went to church,” she recalled on The Drew Barrymore Show.
“And it was that day I remember we went to church… and I am crying, and he thinks I am so moved by the sermon, and I am crying because I am like, ‘I know I am going to marry him. I found my husband. I love him.”
In retrospect, it’s possible to conclude that Mariska Hargitay experienced it. They developed their friendship gradually, just like other people do, so things may have gone in a different direction.
After many years of dating, Mariska suddenly began to have misgivings. She showed up for work one day broken, according to her co-star Christopher Melani. Meloni claims that after a protracted and thoughtful discussion, Mariska and Hermann decided it would be best for them to part ways. It was an extremely difficult moment, and both Mariska and Hermann were crying as they conversed.
”And she’s sobbing, and the whole time, the [thought] bubble in my head was just: ‘You’ll be married within five months.’ That’s all I was thinking. I knew. I knew,” Christopher Melani recalled.
And as we all know, the duo worked through their differences and decided to spend their lives together. During Hargitay’s 40th birthday, Hermann looked at his partner realized what he really wanted:
“I think I got a look at what she is like when she is planted, when she is in the soil she’s designed to be planted in. And I wanted to be that soil. Something like that!”
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.
Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann welcomed their first child, August, in June 2006. But when Mariska gave birth to their first child at 42, neither knew if she would be able to have another successful pregnancy.
So the couple were open to adoption, something Hargitay had thought of since she was a child. During the painful adoption process, 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 remarked.
“‘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 third 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.’”
Hargitay said her child’s race was a “nonissue” to them, and “we were excited to have a multiracial family, because that’s what the world is, and we want our family to reflect a realistic microcosm of the world.”
“I basically pulled Amaya out,” Mariska mentioned 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 adopted son, Andrew Nicholas.
August, who was four-and-half years old at the time was 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.”
However, like most kids, he still wasn’t satisfied. He now wanted a little brother.
As she was very young when her mother passed away, becoming a mom herself has 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.”
When their stars were positioned next to one other on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013, Mariska Hargitay and her mother Jayne Mansfield were reconnected in a sense. Who knows, though? Possibly in the future, her kids will join her and her mother on the renowned walkway.
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