Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann – their enduring love affair proves that there’s some truth in the old adage, “When you meet the one who’s right for you, you’ll instinctively know it.”
How Did Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann Meet?
It probably comes as no surprise that Hargitay met her future husband on the set of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, the NBC procedural where she has reigned supreme for over two decades as Captain Olivia Benson and he recurs as defense attorney Trevor Langan.
But what may shock, is the fact that their initial encounter was an awkward one. While trying to break the ice with the first time guest star, Hargitay told a joke that landed with all the grace of a falling anvil. “He didn’t think I was funny,” she would laughingly recall decades later.
But, as filming of the episode progressed, the two bonded over their religious beliefs and deep and abiding faith. When the shooting finally wrapped, Hermann invited Hargitay to join him at a church service.
According to the actress, “We went to church together, and it was like getting hit with a lightning bolt,” and she admits to being so, “overwhelmed” that she, “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.”
After returning home, Hargitay phoned one of her closest friends and confided, “This is it. This is the man I’m going to marry.” Though the pair began to date in earnest, it (admittedly) took Hermann a little longer to feel the full impact of cupid’s arrow.
Realizations and A Wedding
“It was Mariska’s …40th birthday,” Hermann remembers. “And I actually saw Mariska with all of the people that she loved around her. It was like seeing this person who was now in the soil, that she was just dying to be planted in it… Which was this abundance of people and this abundance of love and I thought, ‘I want to be part of that soil.’”
Not long after, Hermann popped the question – with a specially designed “weathered” platinum band with nine round diamonds set inside. The ceremony was held at the Unitarian Historical Chapel in Santa Barbara, the setting of that long-ago first date, on August 28, 2004.
Hargitay was escorted down the aisle by her father, Mickey – actor, bodybuilder and the 1955 Mr. Universe. “I recited my vows so loudly you could have heard them in Oregon. But Mariska’s were quiet and small,” says Hermann.
Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann Start A Family
On June 28, 2006, the duo welcomed a bouncing baby boy into their lives. But, August Miklos Freidrich’s birth was fraught with complications. During the pregnancy, Hargitay was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and her plan for a natural birth was scuttled when August had to be taken via an emergency C-section.
Still, the Hargitay-Hermanns were determined to expand their brood. “I’m not gonna lie,” Hargitay told Good Housekeeping during a 2012 interview, “There were wrenching moments. I say to everybody, ‘Adoption is not for the faint of heart.'”
In time, and after a number of disappointments, they finally gained their second baby – Amaya Josephine. They began the process again, certain that it would take years before they were presented with another opportunity. Six months later they adopted Andrew Nicolas. “It was like…a miracle. And I don’t use that word lightly.”
When asked by People magazine to explain the secret behind their (then) 18-years-long relationship – 15 of which they had spent as man and wife – Hargitay and Hermann agreed that it was the laughter.
“I never thought I would have this much laughter in my life,” Hermann told the publication. “Not just actual laughter, but also the way that Mariska is just the embodiment of laughter — of joy.”
Lest anyone think it’s all moonlight and giggles though, Hargitay firmly and humorously interjected, “not that we don’t fight.” Picking up where his missus left off, Hermann added, “It’s the way we find our way back to each other.
“It’s this fantastically, wonderfully ridiculous way that we can swing back and forth any number of times in any given day. But fundamentally we know we have the same destination…And we know we’ll get there together.”