This Girl Lost Her Mom at 3 Then Became a Famous Actress with a ‘Perfect’ Family

The young girl depicted in the cover image grew up to become a successful and renowned actress in Hollywood. She was born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, California, to two legendary entertainers of Tinseltown.

Prior to her rise to fame, she pursued theater at UCLA and landed her breakthrough role in 1985’s “Ghoulies.” During her early years, she balanced acting classes with waitressing gigs.

Although she had sporadic TV appearances, it was her recurring role in “ER” that propelled her career. This led to her iconic portrayal of Detective Olivia Benson in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” where she showcased her versatility as an actress, embodying a compassionate investigator handling sensitive cases.

She even performed her own stunts, eventually becoming one of the highest-paid actresses on television. Her stint on “Law & Order” earned her Emmy and Golden Globe accolades and inspired her to become an activist.

Receiving letters from fans who had experienced abuse, she founded the Joyful Heart Foundation to support survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. Besides her acting prowess, she is multilingual, fluent in Hungarian, Spanish, French, and Italian.

This actress is none other than Mariska Hargitay, now 59, who, before her Hollywood success, navigated through tragedy at a young age. One of the most impactful events in her life was the tragic loss of her mother, Jayne Mansfield, in a fatal car accident when Mariska was just three years old. Jayne’s untimely death occurred on June 29, 1967, in a collision with a trailer truck.

Reportedly, Mariska and her siblings were with their late mother in the car during the accident. According to a source, the family was en route to New Orleans, Louisiana, for a morning interview that Jayne was scheduled to attend.

Fortunately, Mariska and her siblings survived the tragic car crash, albeit with injuries. Losing such an influential figure at a young age left Mariska deeply affected. She described the loss of her mother in an interview as “the scar of my soul.”

Following the devastating loss, Mariska and her brothers went to live with their father, Mickey Hargitay, a renowned actor, businessman, and former bodybuilder. Despite the circumstances, Mickey strived to provide them with a relatively normal childhood, and Mariska even participated in sports and competitions.

Mickey was already divorced from Jayne and married to his third wife, Ellen Siano Hargitay, at the time of Jayne’s passing, making Ellen Mariska and her siblings’ stepmother. Mariska affirmed that Ellen wholeheartedly embraced her role as a mother figure, despite not having biological children of her own. She expressed gratitude for Ellen’s love and swift acceptance of them as her own children.

After enduring significant losses, including her beloved father’s passing in 2006 at the age of 80, Mariska has persevered through adversity. Despite the extensive grief, she continues to push forward. She described her ability to keep going and transform adversity as her “superpower,” emphasizing the gift of resilience cultivated from experiencing trauma early in life.

While Mariska acknowledges that she is still navigating the emotional aftermath of her experiences, she finds solace and happiness in her cherished family. Since 2004, she has been a devoted wife to her husband, Peter Hermann, 56, who has been a supportive presence in her life as she grapples with grief and change.#

The lovebirds have maintained a strong bond since meeting on the set of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” cherishing each other deeply. Reflecting on his wife and their relationship, Peter shared, “I never thought I would have this much laughter in my life. Not just actual laughter. But also the way that Mariska is the embodiment of laughter—of joy.”

With a marriage spanning almost two decades, Peter highlighted the key to their enduring relationship. He explained that regardless of the challenges they face, he and Mariska always find their way back to each other. They remain focused on their shared goals as a couple and maintain a clear vision of their journey together.

Their journey also includes their three children: August Miklos, Amaya Josephine, and Andrew Nicolas. Mariska and Peter adopted Amaya and Andrew within six months of each other in 2011, while their eldest son, August, was born in 2006.

Having experienced life in a blended family herself, Mariska understands the diversity and beauty of familial relationships. She expressed her love for her family, describing them as “perfect, or at least perfect for me.” Together, they form a harmonious, joyful, and sometimes chaotic unit that feels just right to her.

In another interview, Mariska emphasized how motherhood has been transformative for her, helping her overcome negative emotions from her childhood and aiding in her healing process. With her supportive husband and children by her side, she has created her ideal family unit.