Mariska Hargitay: Confessions of a Late Bloomer

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The Best Is Yet to Come

"That's one of the reasons our marriage works," says Hargitay during a break on the set later that day. Hermann is the Ricky to her Lucy: He's smooth, diplomatic, and disarming, she's hotheaded and hysterically funny. Even when the couple disagree over such things as how much TV August should watch -- he says none at all, she says turning on Sesame Street or Finding Nemo is okay -- the clashes never run too long or too deep. "One of us usually cracks the other one up within 15 minutes," she says. "It's as if we're saying, 'I love you more than this fight.'" And at the end of the day the two share the most profound thing: August.

He's the reason she may consider leaving the show. "I just want to see my kid," she says. While August has been weaned on the set -- Hargitay transformed her office there into a mini romper room full of pirate ships, puzzles, and Pampers -- he's started preschool two days a week, which means their moments together are already becoming fewer. Not surprisingly, her favorite time of day is tucking him in at night, saying prayers together as a family, and getting to curl up with him solo. "He says, 'Dada, get out!'" she imitates him, pointing to the door. "And I'm all his."

Would she like another child? "We're trying," she says. Then her production assistant announces, "It's a wrap," and Hargitay breaks into that huge smile again. She races back to her trailer, cutting through traffic and waving her fake badge. "Hold it! Police!" she screams, laughing. Then she slips out of her costume and into a pair of faded jeans. As she contemplates the weekend -- and the year ahead -- this late bloomer knows that the best is yet to come.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, January 2009.


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