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Mariska Hargitay reveals youngest son's baffled reaction to mom's fame and fan encounters

The Law & Order: SVU actress shares three kids with her husband Peter Hermann

Mariska Hargitay poses for a portrait at "Time's Up" during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios on April 28, 2018 in New York City
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
17 January 2024
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Mariska Hargitay may have spent the last 25 years starring on Law & Order: SVU – with more years to come – but her youngest son has yet to meet her beloved alter ego, Olivia Benson.

The legendary NBC mainstay has a lot to celebrate this month, between the premiere of SVU's 25th season and another milestone: her 60th birthday.

In honor of the very celebratory start to the year, the actress has opened up to People about her work on SVU, reflected on difficult experiences in her personal life, and spoke candidly about turning 60.

WATCH: Mariska Hargitay shares bittersweet message while lounging on the beach

The latest anecdote from Mariska is about her son Andrew, 12, and how unused he still is that his mom is one of the most famous faces in television.

Mariska and her husband Peter Hermann – the pair tied the knot on August 28, 2004 after meeting on the set of SVU, where the actor had the recurring role of defense attorney Trevor Langan – share three kids. They welcomed son August Miklos, 17, in 2006, and they adopted his siblings Amaya Josephine, 12, in 2011 as well as Andrew four months later.

"He thinks I play a cop on TV, end of story," the mom-of-three revealed about her youngest son's knowledge of her more than 400-episode legacy as Olivia, the longest-running character in a primetime drama in television history.

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay attend the Joyful Revolution Gala hosted by Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation at Spring Studios on May 22, 2017 in New York City© Getty
Mariska is celebrating her 20th anniversary with Peter this summer

She then hilariously revealed: "He asked, 'Why does everyone say I love you' when we're walking down the street?"

MORE: Mariska Hargitay's teenage son's appearance has fans saying the same thing in rare photo with famous mom

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Still, while Olivia is definitely her most popular role, that's not to say Andrew isn't acquainted with some of his mom's other work.

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay pose with their children, August Miklos Friedrich Hermann, Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann and Amaya Josephine Hermann at the 2023 Stuttering Association For The Young (SAY) Benefit Gala at The Edison Ballroom on May 22,© Getty
The pair share three children

In fact, Mariska shared the tween recently discovered a starkly different role of hers from almost 20 years ago, voicing the character of Tenar in the English version of Japanese fantasy anime film Tales of Earthsea (2006).

MORE: Mariska Hargitay is drop dead gorgeous in a figure-hugging black gown for emotional red carpet appearance

She said: "I did this movie so many years ago, I just did a little voiceover, no big deal," before revealing: "And then my son, who loves anime now, he found out that I was in this movie. He said, 'What? You're in this movie?' And we sat and watched it. And I'm sitting on the couch with my 12-year-old son who, first of all, the movie's good, but he just thought it was the coolest thing."

Mariska Hargitay is seen on the film set of the "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" TV Series on September 21, 2022 in New York City© Getty
Mariska has held the role of Olivia Benson since 1999

"So for him to see me in this movie that he loves, he said 'Mom, it's such a cool character.' And it was this moment of, had I known that, almost 20 years ago, that I would have this moment with my son that was so bonding and sacred, I just sat there going, 'I don't know that life gets better than this moment,'" she endearingly said.

"That's what's exciting about life, that in many ways, we're getting ready our whole lives for things," she added, noting: "Because I keep learning things are worth the wait."

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