Back in the day, Law & Order: SVU was one of my favorite police procedurals. I abandoned the show during that whole guest arc with Sharon Stone, and then Christopher Meloni left too and I wasn’t going to stick around for only Mariska Hargitay, even though I do love some Mariska. Mariska is synonymous with Det. Olivia Benson, but Mariska has a life away from Olivia too. She’s been happily married to a hottie with a body for 15 years. If you’ve ever watched a TV show which films in New York, you probably recognize Peter Hermann – he’s a tall drink of water and a great character actor who pops up in many TV shows. Mariska and Peter met on the set of SVU and they’ve been together ever since. People Magazine chose to highlight one of the best marriages out there, and I’m not mad about it.
In the celebrity-romance department, lasting relationships are considered especially rare — and few have defied the odds quite like Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann. Sitting down exclusively with PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on stands Friday, the New York City-based couple reveals the key to their 18 years together, 15 of which they’ve spent as husband and wife: the laughter that flows freely between them and their family. (The two are parents to sons August, 12, and Andrew, 7, and daughter Amaya, 8.)
“I never thought I would have this much laughter in my life,” says Hermann, 51, who has reached a new level of stardom in the TV Land hit Younger, playing dashing publishing mogul Charles. “Not just actual laughter,” he adds. “But also the way that Mariska is just the embodiment of laughter — of joy.”
“It’s not that we don’t fight,” adds Hargitay, 55, longtime star of Law & Order: SVU, where she plays the crusading Lieutenant Olivia Benson. But the actress, who also helms the Joyful Heart Foundation for abuse survivors, says seeing the absurdity in certain squabbles has proven to be crucial, as well as finding life’s silver linings.
The pair met when Hermann guest-starred on SVU in 2002 and they instantly clicked. Nearly two decades later, they are remarkably attuned to each other — when Hargitay suddenly furrows her brow, Hermann quickly says, “Bless you,” seconds before she actually sneezes — and their banter is easy and filled with good-natured ribbing. According to Hermann, laughter has and always will unite the pair.
“It’s the way we find our way back to each other,” he says. “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.”
“We know where we’re headed, and it’s good,” he continues. “And we know we’ll get there together.”
I remembered that Peter and Mariska adopted their daughter Amaya, but I totally forgot about the third child, Andrew. That’s sort of cool that a great couple is so lowkey that I totally blanked on how many children they have. Anyway, sometimes it’s just nice to have a nice gossip story. I pray that this cover story isn’t some kind of tit-for-tat PR to hide some shady gossip about them. Oh God, Mariska is the one who broke up Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk, right??! No, I jest. I think they got this cover to help Peter promote his role in Younger.
Photos courtesy of WENN.
I love these two..
I’ve always liked these two. Gorgeous, both of them.
I remember their third child because Amaya and Mariska were on the cover of People once the adoption was finalized. And it was a great story. The way Mariska talked about it was both matter of fact and very touching. And then they announced Andrew shortly after, like a month later.
She is looking more like her mom in these pics…
That man just gets better looking with age!
it’s too bad SVU has been reduced down to nothing but noah storylines – it’s just so emotionally overwrought and dull now. i liked that noah kid better when he was played by the younger actor and didn’t speak.
Handsome man. Great-looking couple.
Yes and yes.
I still miss sexy, angry Stabler…*sigh*
I like this couple. I’m rooting for them.
I haven’t watched new episodes of SVU in awhile, but I have been a background actor on the show several times. I also know a couple people who have worked production on it, and I have to tell you all… Mariska is so nice! And she’s so pretty too. I remember sitting behind her in a court scene and just thinking she had the shiniest, healthiest looking hair. She’s super professional and sweet, and I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about her. So, this story makes me happy. 😊
That’s really nice to hear. And what fun, to be a background actor! I know, I know, there’s a lot of waiting around–a former co-worker used to do that. But pretty interesting for those of us who like to watch TV to hear the inside scoop.
I just came here to say that Peter Hermann was David in Sex & The City, season 6, episode 6 and was one of the people the Jewish moms tried to set Charlotte up with after her break up with Harry. He asks, since she doesn’t want to date, if she just wants to go back to his place to have sex and she says no…and then Harry appears and ends up proposing. I love that episode! 🙂
I remember that one very well.
One of my favorite episodes, not least because of Hermann and also the two girls watching the proposal.
Doesn’t one say “I am so coming back next week” or something like that? 😂
Wonderful couple. Finding your way back to each other by means of humour is ideal, since humour is often the first thing that goes missing when things don’t work out anymore.
Can’t wait to see the next season of Younger.
I still remember years ago when she talked about meeting him for the first time and calling him a “Kraut.”
He can sense her sneezes? Hawt.
Well with Sutton Foster, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor and hawt hot Peter Hermann in the cast list, I have no excuse to not watch Younger.
Their adoption story is so beautiful: they adopted Amaya after their first attempt fell through (the birth mom decided to raise the baby) and then shortly after got the chance to adopt Andrew and did.
Some people get really lucky in love.
He plays Erin Regan’s ex on Blue Bloods doesn’t he?
Yup! Jack Boyle. I like him in that role.
When I worked at the National Gallery of Art’s bookstore, sadly these days a shadow of itself due to inept and bloody minded upper management, Mariska and her husband – and their first child in a stroller – stopped in to buy some modern art postcards. She was in town for the Kennedy Center Honors. She expressed disappointment in the lack of variety of postcards from that part of the collection and my co-worker and I explained that it was due to upper management letting things go out of print and being indifferent to put things back in print or even putting more things in print. (We had to tell her the truth, ya know.) She and her husband were lovely and polite and low key. Nice memory.
I remember when these two got married. Mariska was an older first time bride and she had even said that she had accepted that she was never going to be married, and just remain a single woman her whole life. Then, bam, she met him and fell in love. Very jealous, lol. And happy that it worked for them long term too. They are both catches.
Older? At 40? Great.
She or the writers (but she is an exec producer) have ruined the Benson character. He is an exceptional actor and I really like him in anything I’ve seen him in. But they do make a cute couple and it’s nice to see a relationship got the distance in LaLaland.