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Mariska Hargitay’s son doesn’t understand why we’re all so obsessed with his mom

Mariska Hargitay poses with her family 2023
JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY

Somehow, Law and Order: SVU has been airing on NBC for 25 years. And that means, for those of us of a certain age, Mariska Hargitay has been a steady, comforting presence in our lives. She’s a tough-as-nails detective with a soft side. She’s a feminist icon. She’s someone we’ve literally grown up looking up to.

But in a recent interview commemorating the show’s 25th anniversary, Hargitay revealed that her 12-year-old son, Andrew, really doesn’t get the hype. I guess it’s understandable, since he’s so young he hasn’t even been alive for half of the lifespan of the show which made his mom a legend. And, she revealed, he doesn’t watch SVU yet — which is probably for the best, since 12 might be just a little young for some of those scary episodes.

“He thinks I play a cop on TV, end of story,” Hargitay said in the interview. “So he asked ‘Why does everyone say I love you’ when we’re walking down the street?”

Oh, he’ll learn in time.

Meanwhile, she’s having fun with Andrew while he discovers her other work as a famous actor, like a small voiceover part she had in the 2006 anime fantasy film Tales From Earthsea.

“I did this movie so many years ago. I just did a little voiceover, no big deal,” Hargitay shared. “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.”

She continued, “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.’ And that’s what’s exciting about life, that in many ways, we’re getting ready our whole lives for things, because I keep learning things are worth the wait.”