Mariska Hargitay’s Beautiful Daughter Amaya Is Adorable

Mariska Hargitay is a famed actress known for her leading role as Detective Olivia Benson in NBC’s hit television series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” As the daughter of bodybuilder and actor Mickey Hargitay and actress Jayne Mansfield, acting was in her blood. Mariska made her film debut in 1985 when she starred as Donna in the horror-comedy film “Ghoulies.” Mariska’s small-screen career was prolific compared to her big-screen appearances. The “Law& Order: Special Victims Unit” star’s recurring role in “ER” jump-started her fame and ultimately led her to her iconic role as Olivia Benson.

According to, Mariska took a different approach to her career than her mother, who branded herself as a sex symbol. Instead, the rising star sought roles that highlighted strong, confident women. The award-winning actress told People that she also performed her own stunts along with acting in the hit series. Mariska’s dedication and hard work paid off. According to Screen Rant, Mariska’s Benson is the longest-running prime-time live-action character of all time.

Along with her thriving career, Mariska became an activist. According to IMDB, after starring as Ellie Harrison in the television movie “Plain Truth,” Mariska began to receive mail from movie fans who also experienced abuse. Inspired by the women sharing their stories, Mariska founded the Joyful Heart Foundation aimed at helping survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

Mariska met her husband Peter Herman while on the set of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” The couple wed in 2004 and welcomed a baby boy named August in 2006. Mariska was 42 when she got pregnant with her son. Mariska’s age negatively impacted her pregnancy and she was uncertain of having another child after giving birth to her son. So the couple turned to adoption to create the family of their dreams.

Although Mariska loved being pregnant, during her last trimester, she developed gestational diabetes. According to Mayo Clinic, gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. It affects women over the age of 35 at a higher rate.

In an interview with People, the “Leaving Las Vegas” star recalled how hard her pregnancy was during the last stage due to the illness.

“This pregnancy was really hard for me at the end,” she said. “I wasn’t mobile.”

Although Mariska and Herman envisioned having a large family, the actress told Good Housekeeping that they feared she wouldn’t be able to get pregnant again and sought out adoption.

“August wanted siblings, and Peter and I both envisioned this big family because we both come from that. Plus, we just had so much love to give,” she told the outlet.

Mariska and Herman sought out an adoption lawyer to begin the process. After several failed attempts, the couple found a woman who lived near New York City. After meeting the woman, Mariska and Herman finalized the adoption plan. The couple was present in the delivery room, named the baby, and even took her home. Two days later, the birth mother changed her mind.

“It was nothing short of devastating,” Mariska explained. “But … it was probably the greatest, happiest ending. I mean, it was so painful for us, but it was deeply joyful and deeply right for her.”

Mariska still keeps in touch with the woman, and even though she has never seen the baby again, she feels “forever connected to her.”

Even though Mariska was devastated, she told Good Housekeeping that she “felt honored to be part of the process.”

Shortly after their adoption fell through, Mariska and Herman’s lawyer reached out to them with another woman expecting a baby. The Emmy-winning actress recalled first speaking with the prospective birth mother through a phone call.

“We were blown away,” Mariska said. “She was very powerful, soulful, and thoughtful.”

After abruptly losing their first baby, the couple was extremely hesitant. But the birth mother reassured the couple during her pregnancy journey that this was the right decision. Although doctors initially told the couple that the baby would be a boy, it turned out to be a girl. They were thrilled!

The Golden Globe-winning actress was welcomed also into the delivery room during the birth of her daughter.

“I basically pulled Amaya out. Peter and I held her, and then the birth mother and I hugged for a long time,” she recalled. “That was profound. That was one of the most meaningful moments I’ve ever had in my life.”

Mariska described life with newborn Amaya as “dreamy.” However, the couple planned to adopt again, preferably when Amaya was 18 months old. So six months after they took home their baby girl, they jumped at the opportunity to adopt a premature baby boy.

“It was a no-brainer,” Mariska said. “It was like … a miracle. And I don’t use that word lightly. I’ve never made a bigger decision so quickly.”

The couple named their new son Andrew.

The mother of three looked back fondly on her journey to creating her family and added, “Adoption was a bumpy ride — very bumpy. But, God, was it worth the fight.”

Amaya’s birth mother is African-American, but according to Mariska, race was a “non-issue.” She told Good Housekeeping:

“We were excited to have a multiracial family, because that’s what the world is, and we want our family to reflect a realistic microcosm of the world.”

As for the child’s name, Mariska recounted that she and her husband had something else in mind at the beginning.

“We were thinking of Maya first. We loved the name. And we wanted her to have the same initials as me. But then I thought, No; she needs to have the same initials as her brother. So we added the ‘A,’ and we thought: Amaya! So feminine! It just rolls off the tongue,” Mariska explained.

Shortly after Amaya was born, Mariska also sat down with People in December 2020 to describe what life has been like with the new addition to their family.

“It’s very soothing to the heart. I feel like she really completed our little family of four,” Mariska gushed. She added Amaya wasn’t as difficult as most other babies appeared to be.

“You never know what you’re going to get with the second baby and so I was sort of nervous about it. She’s so zen and so peaceful. I can’t quite believe how easy she’s been — her disposition. She’s not fussy, she doesn’t cry much … she’s just very peaceful. I feed her, she sleeps. It’s pure magic. I feel very blessed,” Mariska said.

She said her older son August was also very fond of his new little sister. “Today I actually took (Amaya) to pick him up from school. He was very excited when he introduced her to all of his classmates. It’s very sweet, he’s very proud of her,” Mariska said.

Have you thought about adoption, or have you adopted a child? If so, how was your experience compared to Mariska Hargitay? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your friends and family!

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