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Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay candidly opens up about losing her mother at age three

The SVU actress is the daughter of Hollywood starlet Jayne Mansfield

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Eve Crosbie
Eve CrosbieTV & Film Writer
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Law and Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay has candidly spoken about the trauma of losing her mother, Hollywood starlet Jayne Mansfield, when she was just three years old.

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Tragedy struck in 1967 when her mother sadly died from injuries she sustained after crashing into another vehicle. Mariska and her two brothers were sleeping in the car at the time and fortunately survived. Jayne was only 34. 

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Discussing the heartbreaking loss in a new interview with Glamour magazine, Mariska revealed that she felt “frozen” during her childhood but subsequently turned her trauma into her “superpower”. 

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She said: “I think I learned about crisis very young, and I learned very young that [expletive] happens and there’s no guarantees, and we keep going. And then we transform it. That’s been kind of my superpower, and the gift of having trauma early in life. I’ve spent the last 50—how old am I?—57, so 54 years sort of trying to figure out what happened and why, and what am I supposed to do with it?”

law and order jayne© Photo: Getty Images

Mariska as an infant with her mother Jayne Mansfield, father Mickey Hargitay and siblings

She continued: “I clearly was in that frozen place for a lot of my childhood — of trying to survive, actually trying to survive. My life has been a process of unpeeling the layers and trust and trusting again.”

Following the tragic events, Mariska was raised by her father, Mickey Hargitay and his third wife, Ellen Siano. The actress has previously spoken about her stepmom and the influence she had on her life. “I called her mom. She really claimed us,” Mariska told Good Housekeeping.

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”She never had biological kids of her own, and to this day we are her kids. So we were blessed that she really embraced us and loved us so quickly. And I was very fortunate to have a maternal figure in my life after such a horrific accident.”

Mariska herself is both a biological mother and adoptive mother; she and husband Peter Hermann welcomed their first child together, a son named August, in 2006. Five years later, in 2011, they decided to grow their family again, this time choosing to adopt a baby girl named Amaya Josephine. Less than a year later, they adopted another child, a baby boy named Andrew.

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