Instagram | @therealmariskahargitay

8+ Cool Things About 'Law & Order' Star Mariska Hargitay Fans Didn't Know

You know her as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU. But who is Mariska Hargitay in real life?

Well, Taylor Swift named her cat after her character, for one. For two, she has two adopted children and her mother was a famous bombshell.

Are you interested to learn more? Here are 10+ cool things about the TV star.

1. She's on the longest-running TV drama:

The crime show is on its 21th season and shows no signs of slowing down.

Hargitay once told E! that she's okay being tied to the character, Olivia Benson, for so long.

"It's been nothing but a privilege to play her."

"The character has taught me so much and obviously changed my life and…was the impetus for The Joyful Heart Foundation and has completely taken my life in a different direction, an extremely fulfilling one."

2. Taylor Swift named her cat after her SVU character:

Instagram | @oliviabenson

Not only that, but Mariska is part of Taylor's infamous squad!

She appeared in the singer's "Bad Blood" music video, along with the rest of the squad, such as Karli Kloss, Gigi Hadid, and Selena Gomez.

Taylor even donated a very generous amount to Mariska's Joyful Heart Foundation.

The singer had done so to make good on her promise after she won her countersuit against the former DJ who had allegedly groped her in 2013.

3. She met her husband on *Law and Order*:

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Her now-husband, Peter Hermann, had a recurring role on the show in 2001.

While sparks flew, it wasn't until they attended church together that Mariska knew she had found The One.

"I just about passed out when I saw him there," Hargitay told *InStyle*.

"I thought, That's my husband."

They dated for several years after that before finally getting engaged in 2004. Their relationship is too adorable, and we could not be happier for them!

4. Her improv teacher was Kathy Griffin:

This took place at the Los Angeles's Groundlings theater company.

During one class, Griffin almost injured Mariska by having the class do a trust fall exercise. Only thing is, no one caught her...

"To this day, whenever I see Mariska, and it's probably been ten times, I apologize," Kathy wrote in her autobiography.

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"I let her down that day. Let her fall down, if we're being specific," she wrote.

The ladies worked together again in 2010 when Kathy made a cameo on SVU.

5. Her mother was actress Jayne Mansfield:

She was the '50s and '60s-era bombshell that rivaled Marilyn Monroe. Isn't that incredible?

Tragically, she passed away in 1967 from a car accident that also killed Mansfield's driver, boyfriend, and lawyer.

Mariska was actually in the car that killed her mother, along with her two brothers who also survived.

Instagram | @therealmariskahargitay

"Someone once said about [remembering] my mother: 'All you have to do is look in the mirror,'" she once said about losing her mother.

"She's with me still."

6. She has three kids:

Instagram | @therealmariskahargitay

She has one biological son, August, and two adopted children, Amaya and Andrew.

While Mariska has always been private about their kids, she isn't shy to express her and her husband's decision to adopt.

"Having lost my mom at a young age, I then grew up with my stepmom, and I have half siblings, and so I know that families can be built in all sorts of different ways—that there isn’t just one way to create a family and that it isn’t just about biology."

"The easiest answer is we just wanted a bigger family and we feel incredibly blessed."

7. She speaks multiple languages:

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She's got beauty and brains.

The actress speaks English, French, Hungarian, Spanish, and Italian.

Fans have seen her language skills on SVU whenever Benson needs to interrogate a suspect who doesn't speak English.

8. She was almost one of the Power Rangers:

When the original actress who played Dulcea fell sick while filming Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Mariska filled in to shoot her scenes.

It was a fitting role since Dulcea was a warrior queen.

"I was so excited because I was going to Australia to play this queen,” Mariska recalled about the experience.

Instagram | @therealmariskahargitay

But in the end, the original actress recovered.

This meant that they cut all of Mariska's scenes from the movie. Such a shame!

9. She often feels like a cop in real life:

Instagram | @therealmariskahargitay

There are times where she doesn't know where Mariska ends and Olivia begins.

She told E!: "They're just becoming so enmeshed and entwined, and I think that's a good thing. You know what?"

She thinks this is actually a good thing since Benson is a role she's proud of playing.


"Nineteen years later and I'm finding myself deeply inspired and committed and finding new places to go and challenged. I want to be challenged. As long as that's happening, I'm very happy and very fulfilled."

10. She's a huge advocate of sexual assault survivors:

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In 2004, she even launched her own foundation called the Joyful Heart Foundation.

Since its establishment, it's raised more than $33.5 million for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

She has even testified on Capitol Hill on behalf of these survivors.

Instagram | @therealmariskahargitay

She urged Congress to support the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which aims to provide justice in the criminal system for those who have been sexually assaulted.