‘Law & Order SVU’: Mariska Hargitay’s Breakup With Peter Hermann Before Their Marriage: ‘I Was Heartbroken’

Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay and Younger star Peter Hermann have been married since 2004. Although they seem to have a great relationship, Hargitay says they broke up a few times before getting married. One of their breakups took place after Thanksgiving and the actor says she was “heartbroken.”

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann connected over a conversation about God

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay | Tony Barson/FilmMagic
Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay | Tony Barson/FilmMagic

Hargitay and Hermann first met on the set of Law & Order: SVU during a season 3 episode titled “Monogamy.” Hermann says he was so taken by Hargitay that he came into her dressing room after his scene was over so they could talk. They knew they had something special after their conversation.

“You came into my dressing room,” says Hargitay in the book What Makes a Marriage Last by Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue. “Nobody does that. And then we talked for like three hours about God. That’s where the conversation went.”

Hermann says he and Hargitay connected on a deep level. He was reluctant to go home when his Law & Order: SVU scene was done. “I knew very quickly that we had dealings with each other, business with each other,” he told Donahue and Thomas. “And it was very telling that at the end of that episode I didn’t want to leave.”

They discovered they had different expectations

Hargitay describes their early dating years as “magic.” She also says she was “crazy about” Hermann. However, their relationship got rocky after they realized they had different expectations. They didn’t see eye-to-eye on major issues.

“We saw the world differently,” says Hermann. “You end up opening your heart fairly wide when you marry someone, so I was proceeding with great care, sort of inching my way forward.”

Hargitay still remembers the day she realized their relationship was ending. “I remember it was Thanksgiving, and he came to my house,” said Hargitay. “I had all these people over–it was beautiful and a very big deal—and he was the first to leave. I thought, Wait, what? Are you in or are you out? I’m in, but I’m only in if we’re both in. I was in love and ready to really move forward.”

Hermann says he left early because he needed more time to make a decision about their relationship. They later broke up and went without speaking for three months.

Mariska Hargitay talks about her ‘heartbreak’

Hargitay was hurt by the breakup, but things eventually turned around. “I was brokenhearted,” Hargitay told Thomas and Donahue. “And this is true: On the day that I woke up and thought I might be okay—that I was over him and could continue life as I knew it—all of a sudden I got a letter from Peter. It was an unbelievably beautiful letter that explained a lot. And then he asked me out for Valentine’s Day.”

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