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Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann’s love story, in their own words

From their first time meeting on the set of "Law & Order: SVU" to their life with three kids today, here's what to know about Hargitay and Hermann.

It started with a job.

Mariska Hargitay met her future husband, Peter Hermann, when he appeared as a guest star on Season Three of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

On the long-running show, Hargitay, 58, plays Olivia Benson, the captain of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit. Hermann, 55, appeared as defense attorney Trevor Langan in the episode, appropriately titled “Monogamy.” (Hermann has also appeared in "Younger" and that famous Persil ProClean commercial).

The two started dating shortly after their initial encounter in 2001, and in 2004, they got married before welcoming three kids, August, Amaya and Andrew.

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson, Peter Hermann as Trevor Langan in "Law & Order: SVU."NBC

In a March 2018 interview with People, Hargitay opened up about the life that she's created with Hermann.

“My husband is my North Star, and my kids are my teachers," she said.

“Our family is so perfect, or at least perfect for me,” Hargitay added. “Together we’re just this whole, happy, joyful, chaotic, crazy unit. I’ve never known anything that was more right.”

Here's a timeline of Hargitay and Hermann's relationship, and what they have said about each other and their family in interviews.

They met on 'Law & Order: SVU' in 2001

Hargitay and Hermann met in November 2001, per InStyle, when he guest starred on Season 3 of "Law & Order: SVU." Since then, he's appeared in other episodes in the 24-season show.

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay
The couple on an episode of "Law & Order: SVU" episode in 2022.NBC

During a January appearance on “The Drew Barrymore Show,” Hargitay recalled their first encounter and said that she was "nervous" to be around him because he was so "handsome."

"It was distracting," she said.

Hargitay noted that her first thought after meeting Hermann was, "Who is that Clark Gable Superman guy that I need to marry today?"

Hargitay laughed about how her friends kept telling her that she should put herself out there more because no one was just going to show up on “Law & Order: SVU" and marry her. To their surprise, and to hers, that's exactly what happened.

"I was like, 'Oh yeah,'" Hargitay said to Barrymore.

Their first date was to church

Months after meeting on “Law & Order: SVU," Hargitay said that she and Hermann were having a discussion about religion, per InStyle. She said Hermann then asked him to church.

Faith is important to both Hargitay and Hermann “I think God is very much in us. Faith is a huge part of our life. And I think everything happens for a reason,” Hargitay told SF Gate.

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann
Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann went to church on their first date.Nicholas Hunt / WireImage

During the sermon, Hargitay told TODAY she got emotional — not because of the church environment, but because of their connection.

“I cried because I was feeling something that I’d never felt before, but I kind of knew what it was and I always say people, well, you know, when you’re a little girl, your parents and your grandparents and everyone goes, ‘When you’re in love, you’ll know.’ And I did,” she said. “And before I did I’d never felt that. And so when I was sitting in church, it was so hilarious, because Peter was like, ‘Oh my god, she’s so moved.’”

They got married in 2004

In August 2004, Hargitay and Hermann got married in Santa Barbara, California, in front of 200 guests, per People.

I think we both knew, sort of, what we found," Hargitay later told People in 2019. "We sort of knew that we found the right one. I never thought it could be this good, and I never knew that I’d be reminded on the journey, that I’d marry the right one. That I waited and married the right one and it’s better than I thought it was. Because sometimes you take a snapshot and you go, ‘I can’t believe this is my life.’"

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann
Peter Herman and Mariska Hargitay during Entertainment Weekly 9th Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party at Elaine's in New York.L. Busacca / WireImage

They welcomed their son August in 2006

In June 2006, Hargitay and Hermann welcomed their first child, son August Miklos Friedrich Hermann.

"Nobody wanted to be pregnant more than me," the "Lake Placid" star told SELF magazine in 2007. "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.”

In a 2019 interview with Traveling Mom, Hargitay said having a child made her and Hermann more "compassionate toward other people."

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay
Peter Hermann, Mariska Hargitay and their three children in 2013.Michael Tran / FilmMagic

"You go from being that person who would get annoyed at the sound of a crying baby, hoping it would just go to sleep, to the one who is completely empathic toward the parents, hoping the baby is OK and wondering if there is anything you can do to help," she said. "Now, we’re all in the same boat. We’re on the same team, which is one of my favorite things about becoming a parent. I feel like I’m in the club now."

They adopted daughter Amaya in April 2011

In April 2011, Hargitay and her hubby adopted their first kid, daughter Amaya Josephine Hermann.

“I’m deliriously happy,” Hargitay told People at the time. “From the minute she was born, she was just surprisingly alert and so full of love.” According to People, the couple's daughter was born in the United States.

Before Hermann and Hargitay adopted her, they were "considering both international and domestic adoption" for their second kid.

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay
Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay adopted their daughter in 2011.Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

“We talked a lot about mixed-race adoptions, and we are very excited that we are now a multi-racial family. We’re just so happy she’s here," Hargitay said.

As for August? The "Tales from Earthsea" star noted that the then 4-year-old took to being an older brother easily.

“He calls her his baby because he says the whole thing was his idea," she said. "He always talks about how he’s going to protect her. He’s going to be a great big brother.”

And adopted son Andrew months later

In October 2011, Hargitay and Hermann adopted their third child, son Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann, just four months after they became parents to Amaya.

In an interview with People, Hargitay said that she barely had any clothes to give him because she gave all of August's old clothes to her godson, who was born a few months before Andrew.

“It was so hilarious," she said.

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay, Peter Hermann and their family in 2019.Thomas Concordia / Getty Images

But thanks to her friends, Hargitay was able to clothe her baby in a few onesies that they brought over.

While Hargitay and Hermann were considering adopting another child, Andrew's adoption came more quickly than anticipated. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Hargitay explained they received word of a premature child, and that saying yes was a "no-brainer."

“It was like … a miracle. And I don’t use that word lightly. I’ve never made a bigger decision so quickly," Hargitay aid.

Once the paperwork was finalized, Hargitay told People they felt "so lucky" to be parents again.

“We never in a million years thought it would happen this quickly, but something inside of us knew that this was right, and we said, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’" she explained to People. “We knew this was our guy. Everything about it felt right. It felt divinely right.”

After taking Andrew home, Hargitay felt more joy than she could ever imagine.

"I always describe it as this angel that fell out of the sky, because he was a little unexpected," she told People in 2019.

“It’s something that happened very quickly, when adoption can take a long time,” Hargitay added. “We were so beautifully and surprisingly … not because we’re not in sync, but surprisingly in sync about something so huge. So momentous.”

They celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary earlier this year

In August 2022, Hargitay and Hermann celebrated their 18-year wedding anniversary.

To commemorate the occasion, Hargitay shared a throwback black-and-white photo from their wedding and a recent black-and-white photo of them embracing in what appears to be a boat.

“Eighteen years. Grateful. In love. Together,” she wrote in the caption on Instagram.

Image: Mariska Hargitay and her husband Peter.
Mariska Hargitay and her husband Peter Hermann celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary. @therealmariskahargitay / via Instagram