You probably know Olivia Benson, the most recognizable face of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for nearly two decades, but there are probably quite a few things you didn't know about Mariska Hargitay, the actor behind the character. There's quite a bit of overlap between the actress and her character, and Hargitay herself admits her role on the show frequently meshes into her real life (and vice-versa). There's even an academic paper about how Hargitay's real life and fictional character converge in the zeitgeist. But even before she was ever associated with the long-running procedural, her life had its own share of challenges.
Mariska Hargitay and her family members have faced their mortality more than once. The earliest tragedy in her life resulted in the implementation of a brand-new federal law. She's worked alongside Joe Biden both in real life and as her television persona. And despite being one of the most well-known cops on TV, she has herself been incarcerated (and for the unlikeliest of offenses). These stories about Mariska Hargitay will make you feel so much more for Hargitay and all the characters she saves on SVU.
She Was Present During The Tragic Incident That Felled Her Mother
Her Mother's Passing Contributed To Depression Years Later
Her Stepmother Almost Lost Her Life
She's Been A Tireless Advocate For Sexual Assault Survivors