Things you didn't know about Mariska Hargitay's marriage

Mariska Hargitay is one of the most recognizable faces in television, having starred as the gritty, commanding cop with heart, Olivia Benson, on NBC's hit series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for nearly two decades. But did you know she's married to Younger star Peter Hermann? The two share an almost fairy tale love story, and after more than 15 years together, their amazing relationship is basically the envy of every broken marriage in Hollywood. But how much do you really know about these two? Here are things you didn't know about their marriage...

Their meet cute was super awkward

These two haven't always had such incredible chemistry. The power couple met on the set of Law & Order: SVU in November 2001 when Hermann debuted his recurring character, defense attorney Trevor Langan. Hargitay, who has starred on the series since 1999, attempted to break the ice with the new kid on set with a joke. But as she told InStyle, "He didn't think I was funny." Yikes, talk about leading with a bad first impression.

They bonded over religion

After getting off on the wrong foot, Hargitay and Hermann's eventual romance was more of a slow burn than love at first sight. But the two eventually found common ground in their shared faith. Following a deep discussion about religion, Hermann suggested they attend a service at his church together. As Hargitay told InStyle, "I just about passed out when I saw him there. I thought, 'That's my husband.'"

As the SVU star told Good Housekeeping in 2010, their strong Christian faith has continued to play a vital role in their relationship. "It was pretty sacred and profound in our life," she said. "It completely set the tone for our relationship and our marriage."

Their wedding was magical

The cute pair married three years later on August 28, 2004 in Santa Barbara, Calif. According to People, the ceremony was held in front of 200 guests, including the bride's former SVU costar Christopher Meloni, at the Unitarian Historical Chapel. 

"I recited my vows so loudly you could have heard them in Oregon," the smitten groom, then 37, told InStyle. "But Mariska's were quiet and small." The gorgeous affair was organized by wedding planner Yifat Oren, who told People, "They're mad about each other. And they're hilariously funny together," adding that their nuptials were "really magical" and "enchanting." 

Mariska, then 40, wore a blush-colored Carolina Herrera dress and fresh gardenias in her hair. She and Hermann were serenaded by a gospel choir singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" before heading over to their reception at an estate in Montecito. The celebratory evening was complete with a 6-ft.-tall, brightly-colored wedding cake, which sported a crystal "M&P" on top. 

"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 Good Housekeeping 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."

Expanding their family

Hargitay and Hermann always wanted to have kids, and were granted their wish when they welcomed their biological son, August Miklos Freidrich, on June 28, 2006. "Nobody wanted to be pregnant more than me," the new mom told Self in 2007 (via People). "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."

"When I first heard August's cry, that's when I lost it," she told TV Guide in 2006 (via People). "You have so much love that you didn't even know about." But given Hargitay's age at the time, 42, it turned out to be a difficult pregnancy. August was delivered a week overdue via emergency c-section following a stalled labor, and weighed a whopping 10 lbs. 9 oz. due to the actress' 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." 

"For me, it was never about how I looked," Hargitay told Self Magazine. "I'm a mom now...I feel like a superhero. After my c-section, I had a pouch on my belly for a long time, which has started going away, but all I can say is that it was a badge of honor. I was so proud of it. I felt like I joined the coolest club in the world — the mom's club."

They adopted two more children

When Hargitay and Hermann decided to further expand their growing family, Hargitay had trouble getting pregnant, so they turned to adoption. "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."

As Nicki Swift previously reported, the couple adopted two children six months apart in 2011, following several heartbreaking attempts that had fallen through. "Peter and I both envisioned this big family because we both come from that," Hargitay continued. "Plus, we just had so much love to give."

In April 2011, they welcomed newborn daughter Amaya Josephine, whom Hargitay helped deliver. Soon after, the two refiled to adopt another child, but since they had already been vetted, their application was approved within days. They welcomed three-month-old son Andrew that October. "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!" the mom of three continued. "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!"

Mariska loves being a mom and wife more than anything else

Above all of her accomplishments as an actress and humanitarian, Hargitay is proudest of the roles she plays in her happy home. "Being a wife and mother is my life, and that gives me the most joy," she told Closer Weekly in 2017.

It's also given her the chance to reconcile with her heartbreaking past. As Nicki Swift previously reported, Hargitay's mother, film actress Jayne Mansfield, was killed in a tragic car accident in 1967. "In some ways, being the daughter of a Hollywood icon has been a burden," the SVU star, who was only three at the time of her mom's untimely death, continued. "I used to hate constant references to my mom because I wanted to be known for myself. Losing my mother at such a young age is the scar of my soul." However, as a mother now herself, she added, "I understand [my mother] in a new way that gives me peace. Now I understand the love she had in her, and it makes me feel closer to her."

Playing a cop prepared Hargitay for motherhood

Portraying her iconic Manhattan detective counterpart on TV didn't just turn Hargitay into a star, the role has had a profound impact on her parenting style. "It really prepared me for motherhood," she told Good Housekeeping in 2010. "Because as a cop, you are in charge of any emergency and you need to stay calm, take control, and get the help and the attention you need to fix it. It's the same thing with being a parent."

"In the beginning, all that authority was a stretch for me to act," Hargitay continued. "Playing this part has developed in me a kind of muscle and a commanding voice that are quite useful as a person and a mom."

The Hargitay-Hermanns are a multilingual bunch

In case their success as actors, partners, and parents wasn't enough to impress you, Hargitay and Hermann both also speak several languages. And they hope to pass this skill on to their children.

"I was born in New York, but I was only here for two months. My parents are German, and I grew up in Germany for my first 10 years," Hermann, who learned English once his family returned to the States, told Broadway.com in 2011. "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."

"I still speak to my parents only in German, and I have endless family over there. German is still very much an active language in our house," he continued, adding that August, then 5, "understands it, but the speaking part is slow in coming."

"We want [August] to be multilingual," Hargitay, who doesn't speak German, but is fluent in Hungarian, Italian, and French, told Good Housekeeping in 2010 — a year before the couple adopted Amaya and Andrew. 

They always make time for family fun

This family of five may just be the epitome of #FamilyGoals, with the loving parents often taking to social media to share their heart-warming adventures with their adorable kiddos. PopSugar even devoted an entire "cutest pictures" slideshow to the Hargitay-Hermanns in 2017.

Some of our favorite moments include mom and dad cheering on the New York Giants with August, and Hargitay making a simple walk in the rain with her two little ones a true moment. And this family certainly knows how to do holidays right. In 2015, the cute clan went trick-or-treating as a unit, all decked out in Inside Out-themed costumes. They're also known to wear matching holiday jumpers to spread Christmas cheer.

We seriously cannot handle the cute.

Making a home

According to Variety, Hargitay and Hermann moved their family to a newly renovated townhouse on the Upper West Side in Manhattan in 2012. Just a couple blocks from Central Park, the spacious, two-level brownstone cost the couple a whopping $10.7 million. As the New York Post reported, their New York City dream home has six bedrooms and nine baths, as well as has "an elevator, an eat-in chef's kitchen and double-height ceilings." It also includes "a sunroom with two terraces, plus a large garden with a built-in barbecue grill." Talk about living it up in style!

Hermann's fame is catching up to his wife's

While Hargitay has undoubtedly been the more famous of the two for most of their relationship, Hermann has maintained a respectable acting career himself. According to IMDB, his many acting credits include a recurring role on Blue Bloods and a starring role in Philomena opposite Dame Judi Dench. He also starred on Broadway in the 2011 Tony Award-winning play War Horse.

But after landing a starring role opposite Sutton Foster on TV Land's Younger in 2015, his level of popularity has blown up. "I was just in Italy, and we were walking with my whole family, and people stopped Mariska to tell her how much they love SVU," he told People in 2017. "And then after this group came over, and I get ready to take their camera, and they said, 'Are you Peter? Are you on Younger?' It was so great!"

They are slightly obsessed with tennis

Between busy filming schedules and parenting their adorable kids, Hargitay and Hermann know how important it is to make some time for themselves and keep their romance alive. Their date nights are often sports-oriented. In particular, the cute pair share a passion for tennis. In September 2016, they attended the US Open in Queens, NY, and Hargitay posted a sweet selfie of the two taking in a match on Instagram. "#Latergram #Tbt #lovelove #usopen2016 #datenight," she wrote in the hashtag-filled caption. "What an insanely fun and thrilling night." The happy couple returned the following year, with Hargitay again sharing the fun on social media.

They're total #RelationshipGoals

After more than a decade together, Hargitay and Hermann are going so strong, they may only rival the likes of Hollywood It Couples Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka or Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi

These two seriously epitomize #RelationshipGoals, and often take to social media to express their love for one another. In August 2017, Hargitay wished her husband a happy birthday in the sweetest way. Sharing a collage of photos of the two on Instagram, she wrote in the caption, "Happy Birthday my Peter #myhome #myheart #mylove." Talk about aww-worthy! Hargitay even has a knack for making the mundane seem romantic. That same month, she shared a snapshot of the happy couple on the road. "Me and my guy," she wrote in the caption. "#TwoForTheRoad #TwoForTheSkies #ComeFlyWithMe #TravelCompanion."

For his part, Hermann celebrated the couple's 13th wedding anniversary on Twitter in 2017. "Can't let the day end w/o wishing my magnificent wife of 13 yrs @Mariska HAPPY ANNIVERSARY," he captioned a photo of the two holding hands, adding, "#Lucky13 #HandInHand." And when a Mariska Hargitay fan account celebrated International Kissing Day by tweeting a pic of the two locking lips in Hawaii earlier that summer, Hermann quote-tweeted the post, smoothly writing, "I thought that was every day....?"

You may want to take a minute to recover from the cute.