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Mariska Hargitay’s Son Wonders Why Strangers Adore His Mom: ‘Why Does Everyone Say I Love You?’ (Exclusive)

Mariska Hargitay's son Andrew, 12, is one of her three children with husband Peter Hermann

<p>Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images</p> Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay pose with their children, August Miklos Friedrich Hermann, Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann and Amaya Josephine Hermann at the 2023 Stuttering Association For The Young (SAY) Benefit Gala

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay pose with their children, August Miklos Friedrich Hermann, Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann and Amaya Josephine Hermann at the 2023 Stuttering Association For The Young (SAY) Benefit Gala

She plays the tough detective who gave heart to Law & Order: SVU, earning her street cred and much affection wherever she goes in New York City. But not everyone knows why Mariska Hargitay elicits such excitement throughout the five boroughs.

In a recent interview with PEOPLE, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the NBC series, which returns on Jan. 18, Hargitay shared a sweet story about her son Andrew, 12, who doesn’t yet watch SVU.  (He is one of three kids she shares with husband Peter Hermann, including August, 17 and Amaya, 12.)

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<p>Mariska Hargitay/instagram</p>

Mariska Hargitay/instagram

Related: Why Mariska Hargitay Is 'So Grateful I'm an Older Mom': 'When I Was Younger, I Wasn't as Present' (Exclusive)

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

Time will no doubt tell, now that her character Olivia Benson is the longest-running character on a prime-time drama in TV history.

<p>Peter Kramer/NBC via Getty</p>

Peter Kramer/NBC via Getty

Meanwhile, Hargitay shares how Andrew recently discovered a Japanese anime fantasy film — in which she had a voiceover part —Tales From Earthsea, from 2006.

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

Related: Mariska Hargitay Shares Rare Selfie with Lookalike Son August, 17, from African Safari

“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,” she reflects, “because I keep learning things are worth the wait.”

Law & Order: SVU returns to NBC for its 25th season on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 9 p.m. ET.

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Read the original article on People.