Things You Might Not Know About Mariska Hargitay And Peter Hermann’s RelationshipPublished on October 11, 2018. Updated April 19, 2021
Mariska Hargitay is one of TV’s most popular leading women after starring on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Olivia Benson for 20 seasons, yet she somehow manages to stay out of the spotlight. While it is easier for stars with non-famous partners to keep a low-profile in their personal lives, Hargitay is actually married to handsome actor Peter Hermann! The duo make for one incredible couple and after nearly 15 years of marriage they are just as strong as ever. Check out these things you didn’t know about the pair, their love story and their relationship now:
12. How They Met
Like quite a few other celebrity couples, Hargitay and Hermann met on set! After having previously appeared on Law & Order in 2000, Hermann joined Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2001 as defense attorney Trevor Langan. Although Hermann definitely noticed Hargitay, she approached him and tried to break the ice with a joke, which apparently didn’t go over very well. “He didn’t think I was funny,” she told InStyle. Meanwhile Hermann insists he was just trying to play it cool around the show’s leading lady.
11. Dating Disaster
Despite their rocky start, a romance sparked shortly after and the pair began dating, but one important date didn’t go as well as Hermann would have hoped. After a few months of dating, Hermann hoped to show Hargitay his Manhattan apartment, but his plan got derailed by rats! “When we were dating, I finally got up the courage to show her my apartment,” he recalled. “One night we were walking down 36th Street to my apartment. All of the sudden, there was this sound and it sounded like fingernails on glass. Then we looked down, and all of the sudden, the street was moving and it was a herd of rats.” He continued, “The only thing that I could say to the woman I loved, and whom I would eventually marry, was, ‘New York!’ She was like, ‘What is your problem?!’ She was terrified. Needless to say, that night I didn’t show her my apartment.”
10. The Engagement
After beginning to date in late 2001, the pair did not rush anything and dated for three years before Hermann finally popped the question. He proposed with a weathered platinum band set with nine round diamonds, designed by N.Y.C. jeweler Karen Karch for Push. Hermann chose the style because it was meant to symbolize that although he knew they would encounter hard times and rough patches as a couple, they would always make it through to happiness.
9. The Wedding
Only a few months after the engagement, the pair were married on August 28, 2004 at the Unitarian Historical Chapel in Santa Barbara. The ceremony was held in front of 200 guests and was organized by wedding planner Yifat Oren who said, “They’re mad about each other. And they’re hilariously funny together,” adding that their nuptials were “really magical” and “enchanting.” Hargitay wore a blush Carolina Herrera dress with fresh flowers in her hair and the couple were serenaded by a gospel choir singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” before everyone headed to Montecito for the reception. They celebrated with a 6 ft. tall bright orange, magenta and green cake with “M & P” on top.
8. Finding Love
Since Hargitay was 40 and Hermann was 37 when they tied the knot, the actress has opened up about waiting so long for marriage, revealing it was all because she knew Hermann was the one. “I had been engaged before, but what I felt for Peter I had never felt before — it was knowing that someone else put you first and that you put him first,” Hargitay said back in 2010. “A lot of people have doubts on their wedding day, but I was never so sure and happy. We were going into the unknown together and were taking care of each other the way you’re supposed to when you are married.”
7. Starting A Family
Following their 2004 wedding, both stars knew they wanted to become parents and in late 2005 Hargitay became pregnant with their first child. On June 28, 2006 they welcomed their son August Miklos Freidrich. “Nobody wanted to be pregnant more than me,” the actress said after welcoming her son. “From the minute I found out, I was wearing full-on maternity pants. My stomach was totally flat, mind you, but I was just so excited.” The pregnancy wasn’t easy for the actress though. Because she was 42 at the time, it was considered a higher risk pregnancy and August ended up being born a week overdue via an emergency c-section weighing 10 lbs. 9 0z. because of Hargitay’s gestational diabetes. “This pregnancy was really hard for me at the end,” she said, adding that she had gained 54 pounds. “I wasn’t mobile.”
6. Expanding Their Family
Despite a difficult pregnancy and delivery with their son, both Hargitay and Hermann were excited to continue to expand their family, but unfortunately they faced problems becoming pregnant again. After their struggle, they decided to turn to adoption, which also proved to be a difficult and emotional process for the couple. “I’m not gonna lie,” she told Good Housekeeping in 2012. “There were wrenching moments. I say to everybody, ‘Adoption is not for the faint of heart,'” but added that it was definitely “worth the fight.” After having their hearts broken when a couple of their adoptions fell through, things changed for the family big time in 2011. In April, 2011, the pair adopted Amaya Josephine right from birth and only six months later adopted a baby boy, Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann, in October who was only a few months old at the time. Hargitay explained that soon after the birth of Amaya the pair quickly refiled to adopt again anticipating there would be a wait like before, but instead they were approved immediately and received word on Andrew in no-time. “It was a no-brainer,” Hargitay explained. “It was like…a miracle. And I don’t use that word lightly. I’ve never made a bigger decision so quickly.” “August thinks this was all his idea!” she also revealed. “He said, ‘I want a baby sister,’ and Amaya came. Then he said, ‘I want a baby brother,’ and Andrew came. August is feeling pretty good and pretty powerful!”
5. Their Religion Is Key
Although Hargitay admitted that things didn’t get off to a great start when her joke fell flat with Hermann, things between them changed quickly over one conversation about their faith. After a very deep discussion about their faith and religion, it was Hermann who suggested that they should attend a service at his church together, and that is when things in their relationship became much more serious. “I just about passed out when I saw him there. I thought, ‘That’s my husband,'” Hargitay said of the importance of their church “date.” After finding such a strong common ground with their Christian faith, the pair knows that it is a keystone of their relationship. “It was pretty sacred and profound in our life,” she said. “It completely set the tone for our relationship and our marriage.”
There is no denying that both Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann are talented, but it turns out their skills go beyond acting. Since both stars are multilingual, they are raising their children to be the same and it is truly impressive. For the first 10 years of his life Hermann lived in Germany and he only learned English after his family returned to the States. “I think I got in right under the wire: Language patterns solidify at 10, 11, 12, so I was able to learn English fairly easily, with no accent. I didn’t do speech or vocal work to get rid of the German accent; I was just lucky.” He added that German is a very active language in his house and he was working on teaching it to August, and now Amaya and Andrew as well. Meanwhile Hargitay doesn’t speak German, but is fluent in Hungarian, Italian and French, and together the two stars are ensuring their children are multilingual.
3. Marriage Secret
Like with any lasting marriage, the couple always gets asked what their secret to happiness and a successful marriage is, and sometimes there is no secret and that is exactly what Hargitay and Hermann will say. Instead it comes down to putting in the work and commitment. “There is no secret,” Hermann told Entertainment Tonight. “We’re all just working through it—whether it’s a relationship that exists in the public eye to some degree or doesn’t. Our son plays basketball, and his coach says, ‘Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals,’ and I think when it comes to relationships, the fundamentals, in the end, are not that complicated.” He added, “That doesn’t mean that they’re easy, but they’re not that complicated. It’s fundamentals—kindness, listen well, fight fair.” Hargitay added in a separate interview that being honest and listening is what has made their relationship so strong. “We’ve said really honest things to each other — about how we feel and what we want — and I’ve thought for sure we were going to break up. And then we laugh, we can make a joke about what we talk about, and it becomes a part of the repertoire of the relationship. It’s not this secret you carry anymore. We have it out in the open. It dissipates any bad feelings, because you know the person heard you and it registered,” she revealed.
2. Making Time
While the pair insists they don’t have a secret to making their marriage work for well over a decade, they did reveal that when it comes to both being actors with very different schedules, they have had to make rules for their relationship. The biggest one is that they never spend any more than two weeks apart from each other because after that they feel they would start living separate lives. “I don’t always know what he’s thinking, but we want the same things. We trust that the other person wants what we want and share the same values. That’s our gift. Even if we don’t talk all day, we are connected.” Hargitay added that while they don’t necessarily cut out time for “date night” what is most important is total family time.
1. Opposites Attract
When it comes to Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay’s marriage and family, things seem perfect, but of course nobody’s life is perfect, and the pair are a classic case of opposites attract. The actress said they balance each other out, “I bring him out, he brings me in; he slows me down, I make him go faster,” she explained before adding that they are “really different” which can make some things difficult. “Sometimes we want to do really different things, and that is hard to navigate. We have to sit down and figure out how to carve this time out for you and this for me, because we need both. That’s just the way we are, so let’s just make peace with it.”