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Mariska Hargitay left close to tears as she offers rare insight into home life

Mariska was supported by best friends Ali Wentworth and Debra Messing

Mariska Hargitay attends the Colleagues Spring Luncheon 2023
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
April 26, 2023
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Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay was left close to tears on Tuesday April 25 as she was honored with The Colleagues Champion of Children Awards, and supported by best friends Ali Wentworth and Debra Messing. The award honors those who have made a lasting impact on the lives of children and was given put at the 33rd Annual Colleagues Spring Luncheon and Oscar de la Renta Fashion Show.

In an emotional speech, the mom-of-three gave fans a rare glimpse into her home life before being surprised with a proclamation from the City of Beverly Hills, and donations totally $310,000 for her Joyful Heart foundation.

Mariska Hargitay speaks onstage during the Colleagues Spring Luncheon 2023 © Stefanie Keenan
Mariska became emotional as she spoke to her peers

"I'm truly honored to be here and it's hard to find the words… I am in a room with like-minded women," the TV star began before sharing that how, last Saturday, her family of five managed to sit down together to watch a film, choosing 14 Peaks, a 2021 documentary about Nepali mountaineer Nimsdai Purja who embarks on a seemingly impossible quest to summit all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter peaks in seven months. 

"But the thing that left me with the deepest impression was what happened after," she shared. "My son said, 'What is the most courageous thing ever done??' And I thought about it and I told him I didn't know and it was impossible to know. I said, 'Andrew it's hard because the majority of courageous acts committed without anyone ever witnessing them. They happen privately, without fanfare.' 

"Little acts are the greatest displays of courage." 

Mariska Hargitay posed for pictures© Rodin Eckenroth
Mariska posed for pictures
Mariska wore Oscar de la Renta as she poses for pictures© Stefanie Keenan
Mariska wore Oscar de la Renta

Welling up, Mariska - whose mom was late 50s bombshell Jayne Mansfield, continued: "I told you I was honored to be in a room of like-minded women and I say this because all of us, in all ways, occasionally recognized but often not, are responding to a call to lead courageous lives.

"I want to tell you, with all my heart, I see you and applaud you and recognize you and celebrate you."

Ali Wentworth, Mariska Hargitay and Debra Messing lark around on red carpet© Rex
Ali, Mariska and Debra have been friends for years
 Ali Wentworth, Bridget Gless Keller, Mariska Hargitay, Ashley McDermott, and Debra Messing take a selfie© Stefanie Keenan
Ali, Bridget Gless Keller, Mariska, Ashley McDermott, and Debra take a selfie

Mariska is known for her no-nonsense presence on Law & Order: SVU, but when off camera, she has a lot more fun in her than fans would think - and she showed that off on Tuesday when Ali joined her on the red carpet. 

The pair were all giggles as they took selfies with Debra, and helped each other fix their outfits.

Mariska poses with Mayor of Beverly Hills Lili Bosse © Stefanie Keenan
Mariska poses with Mayor of Beverly Hills Lili Bosse
Mariska Hargitay speaks onstage ues)© Stefanie Keenan
Mariska was overjoyed

The Colleagues is a nonprofit corporation; since their founding in 1950, the Colleagues have contributed more than $40 million to serve Los Angeles’ most vulnerable children. 

Mariska was honored thanks to her work with her own foundation, Joyful Heart, which aims to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.

Bridget Gless Keller hugs Mariska Hargitay on stage
The Colleagues President Bridget Gless Keller honors Mariska
Ali Wentworth, Mariska Hargitay, and Debra Messing pose for pictures© Stefanie Keenan
Ali , Mariska , and Debra have been friends for years

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