‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Mariska Hargitay Shares Sweet Birthday Tribute to Co-Star Chris Meloni

by Caitlin Berard

Earlier this month, Law & Order: SVU and Organized Crime star Chris Meloni celebrated his 61st birthday. And what’s a birthday party without your best friend there to celebrate? So, of course, Chris Meloni’s longtime best friend and Law & Order co-star, Mariska Hargitay was there to help Meloni ring in his 61st trip around the sun in style.

Both Law & Order stars enjoy sending the fandom into a frenzy with their off-screen friendship, so Hargitay posted an image of herself embracing her friend on her Instagram page. With his back to the camera, Chris Meloni’s glittering jacket emblazoned with the numbers “21” and “61” is clearly visible.

The latter number is Chris Meloni’s age, while “21” is for Meloni’s daughter, Sophia, who turned 21 a week prior. Sophia Meloni is also Mariska Hargitay’s goddaughter.

“Happy 61 Chris Meloni,” the SVU star wrote in the caption of the post. “You’re aging like a fine wine cheers.” Along with the sweet message, Hargitay added the hashtag #HeStillGotIt.

Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni Talk Chemistry on ‘Law & Order’

More often than not, developing a palpable chemistry with co-stars takes time and effort. For Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni, however, it was (platonic) love at first sight on the Law & Order: SVU set. The chemistry between them was so strong, in fact, that in an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Hargitay revealed that it felt like fate.

“You never think that, after being a struggling actor for so long, that any show’s gonna go,” Hargitay said. “But this was a unique audition for us because when we met, there was a certain chemistry, so I actually wasn’t nervous at the audition.”

That said, even with her instant connection with Chris Meloni, Mariska Hargitay never thought that Law & Order: SVU would become one of the longest-running shows in television history. “You never think what happened [with the show’s fame] would happen,” she added. “You can’t dream it!”

Inevitably, the topic of a potential romantic relationship between Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler came up. Though fans have always held out hope that Benson and Stabler would end up together, neither Hargitay nor Meloni feel it’s a strong possibility.

“It’s such a complicated relationship that I think we just want to respect the complexity and the nuance of it,” Hargitay explained. “He’s in a new job and he’s sort of unbalanced. What we do know is that Olivia loves him, will always love him, will always be there. They have a bond like no other.”

“In the future, I don’t not see it,” Meloni added. “That might be very satisfying for a lot of people, I’ll leave it at that.”