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Mariska Hargitay, Mom of 3, Has Been Slammed for Getting ‘Fat’ Yet Loves Her ‘Curves’ & Beams in Form-Fitting Dress

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One Of Law and Order: SVU's Best Casting Choices According To Fans!

Actress Mariska Hargitay was born to two incredibly beautiful people. However, as a child, she was not sure of her beauty. Her body changed significantly after having her baby, with fans criticizing her weight gain and later accusing her of undergoing plastic surgery. Years later, she embraced her curves and at 59, still amazes fans with her beauty.

For fans of the long-running TV show "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," the name Mariska Hargitay is not strange. She became a household sensation for her role as Olivia Benson, who investigates sex crimes, child victimization, and domestic violence, earning herself a place in the who's who in Hollywood.

Her empathetic and passionate role in the crime drama series—which she has maintained since the pilot episode of the show in 1999—has propelled her into indelible fame. Still, it is only one of her many roles in TV. Others include appearing in "Plain Truth," "The Perfect Weapon," and "I Am Evidence."

Mariska Hargitay speaks at the ceremony to honor Ice-T with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 17, 2023 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Her other TV and film roles include "Jocks," "The Perfect Weapon," "Gambler V: Playing for Keeps," "Mr. Universe," "Tales from Earthsea," "Come the Morning," "Hard Time Romance," "Night Sins" and "Welcome to 18," among many others throughout the years.

She is also the winner of numerous awards, including the coveted Emmy Award, several Gracie Allen Awards, the People's Choice Award, and the Muse Award. She has also been nominated for many others over the years for her unmatched contribution to the film industry.

The "The Advocate's Devil" actress, 59, has also achieved a lot more away from her . She is a rape crisis counselor, a title born of her willingness to lend a sympathetic ear to victims of domestic violence and related crimes. She is also  of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which strives to help survivors heal.

Hargitay's Rise to Fame — Where It Began

Actress Mariska Hargitay (as Jesse Smith) in the CBS series, "Downtown," a primetime police drama, September 1, 1986 | Source: Getty Images

While many actors discovered their acting prowess much earlier in life, Hargitay did not harbor any interest in show business. However, being the daughter of two Hollywood bigwigs — bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay and screen siren Jayne Mansfield — exposed her to the spotlight long before she knew what it meant to be famous.

Suffice it to say, her  was already paved for her long before she knew what she wanted to become. After suffering the loss of her mother when she was only three, she was left in the care of her father and stepmother, Ellen Siano.

Mariska Hargitay poses for the CBS police program "Tequila & Bonetti," 1992 | Source: Getty Images

She grew up in Hollywood, which only heightened her chances of becoming an actor. She made her film debut while in high school and competed in the Miss California USA pageant.

After completing high school, she enrolled to study improv at the University of California before venturing into acting. Not long after, she landed her breakout role as Jesse Smith in "Downtown," followed by her role as Donna in the 1985 film, "Ghoulies."

Mariska Hargitay as a guest star on "The Mugging," circa 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Despite her early success as a beauty queen and her undeniable beauty and talent, the actress suffered from a lack of confidence, as did many young actresses at the time. This saw her face a lot of rejection in the film industry.

It took her some time to land major roles, but she hit the ground running when she did. She soon made appearances in a slew of other TV roles, including playing Didi Edelstein in "Can't Hurry Love," Lisa Peters in "Baywatch," and Carly Fixx in "Falcon Crest."

Mariska Hargitay at the 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards | Source: Getty Images

Her  came in 1997 when she snagged a recurring part in the medical drama series "ER," a role that would push her into the industry and establish her as one of the top drama actresses on TV. A few years later, she landed her role as Olivia Benson in "Law & Order: SVU."

The part turned out to be her most successful, setting a record for the longest tenure of a single character by the same actor in a TV series. The actress has also made appearances in spin-offs of the show, including "Law & Order: Trial By Jury," "Law & Order: Organized Crime," as well as "Chicago P.D."

Mariska Hargitay & husband Peter Herman during the Entertainment Weekly Oscar Viewing Party at Elaine's Restaurant in New York | Source: Getty Images

Her role in "Law & Order: SVU" has also won her numerous awards, including the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, the Glamour Woman of the Year Award, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance, among others. However, she has had more to be thankful for, as she also met the love of her life while on the show.

Hargitay and her husband, "Younger" actor Peter Hermann, first met when he guest-starred on the show as defense attorney Trevor Langan. They immediately hit it off, married on August 28, 2004, in Santa Barbara, California, and later became doting parents to three beautiful children, two of whom they adopted.

Fans Criticized Her Weight Gain during Pregnancy

Actress Mariska Hargitay at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 16, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images

Hargitay was already in her forties when she and Hermann tied the knot. She knew she always wanted kids, and it was a welcome surprise when she found out she was pregnant. She was beyond herself with joy. She :

"Nobody wanted to be pregnant more than me. From the minute I found out, I was wearing full-on maternity pants. My stomach was totally flat, mind you, but I was just excited."

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay at the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis on March 17, 2008 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

However, pregnancy was not a smooth ride for the actress. Between her 15 work days on the show and dealing with the changes her body was undergoing, she began to seek comfort in food. She shares that she was overwhelmed by her lack of energy, and the only way she could get around that was to eat.

The gown's long sleeves and subtle puffed shoulders also highlighted her hourglass figure, accentuated further by an elaborate tulle-layered mermaid tail that had heads turning.

By the time she reached the third trimester, she had gained 54 pounds and suffered from gestational diabetes. To add insult to injury, she became immobile towards the end of her pregnancy.

She says she wanted her baby to have enough of every food group, and in her attempt to achieve that, she got into eating too much. As a result, her baby had a large birth weight, and the actress had to go for an emergency Caesarian section. Despite the challenges, she and her husband welcomed their little boy, August, on June 28, 2016.

As is often the case with most mothers, losing weight after childbirth became quite the task. Hargitay enlisted the services of trainer Jay Wright to help her work out and return to her pre-baby body.

Her change of diet during breastfeeding also helped shed some of the weight. However, she insists it was never about how she looks. She took motherhood and everything that came with it — including her belly pouch — in stride. She :

"After my C-section, I had a pouch on my belly for a long time which has started to go away, but all I can say is that it was a badge of honor. I am so proud of it. I felt like I joined the coolest club in the world — the mom's club." Over the years, Hargitay has received criticism over her looks. Some of her fans have accused her of undergoing plastic surgery to enhance her appearance, a claim that the actress vehemently denies. She disclosed that she was initially against plastic surgery, having been brought up by a father that did not like body modifications, including makeup. However, with time, she accepted that women needed to do what they had to do to make themselves look good. However, despite her stand on matters concerning plastic surgery, she still advises women to be cautious about going overboard with the procedures as the natural look is the most beautiful. But even though she supports those that wish to have such procedures done, she insists she has never had one done on herself. She Accepts Her Body and Flaunts Her Curves Hargitay had always had it rough throughout her career, with people often criticizing her for her appearance. She opened up to Ladies Home Journal, noting that some criticized her for having a nose too big while others thought it was too small. Despite being born to a mother that broke Hollywood with her good looks that earned her the title of a sex symbol and a father that took body image to heart, Hargitay was never sure about her beauty. She shared that she spent most of her early twenties with people constantly denying her opportunities because of her looks: "I'd go to auditions, and the casting directors would be like: You're not tall enough, you're not pretty enough, you're not blonde enough, your nose is too big, your nose s too small, your skin is too dark, your skin is too light, change your name! There was so much rejection." For years, her self-esteem dove to dangerously low levels, and she could not find work for eight years due to her lack of confidence. But things did not end there. Some of her fans also took to social media to criticize the actress for "getting fat". One fan thought Hargitay was "hot" until she began adding weight. Regardless of the negativity, she chose to focus on the positive, and soon things took a turn for the best. Instead of focusing on what she looked like, she shifted that energy towards nurturing her three gorgeous kids and her husband, as well as counting her lucky stars. "I try to focus on who I am rather than who I'm not," she says. Many of her fans also thought her new body was beautiful and could not understand why some media houses called her fat. One fan praised Hargitay for her beauty, walk, and undeniable presence whenever she entered a room, while another noted that the actress's beauty was underrated.

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