Mariska Hargitay Jokes 'Zaddy' Costar Christopher Meloni Is So Ripped 'It Hurts to Actually Hug Him'


Mariska Hargitay is giving her seal of approval to costar Christopher Meloni being called a "zaddy".

The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star, 58, told Access Hollywood that Meloni is "fearless" after he went viral for showcasing his chiseled physique in a nude Peloton ad, as well as his impressive backside in photos posted by fans on social media.

"When I see him, all the time, sometimes it hurts to actually hug him because his chest is so hard," she joked of her costar. "I'm like, 'Okay, sweetie...'"


Hargitay has starred in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Detective Olivia Benson since its premiere in 1999. Meloni played her partner Detective Elliott Stabler until his departure from the show in 2011. He returned to the franchise last year, reprising his role with his own spin-off series Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Earlier this month, Meloni opened up to PEOPLE about achieving his intergenerational sex symbol status later in life.

"It's great. Are you kidding me? I'm 61 years old and a zaddy. The lucky streak continues," he shared. "It's a second act to a certain degree."


During her interview with Access, Hargitay also revealed how she knew her husband of 18 years, Peter Hermann, was the one after meeting on the set of Law & Order: SVU in 2002.

"Peter and I are so deeply connected, and sort of the gift of my life that way was finding who was intended for me and who I could be my best self with," she said.

"I really think it was love at first sight," she added. "People laugh at me but, again, the thing about intuition and knowing — I knew."

The actress also praised Hermann, 55, for the way he parents their children — Amaya Hermann, 11, August Hermann, 16, and Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Herman, 11.


"He's such a good dad. He's such a great father," she shared. "I say to kids, 'You guys have no idea how lucky you are.'"

The couple previously told PEOPLE laughter is one of the reasons their marriage stays so strong. "I never thought I would have this much laughter in my life," Hermann said.

"Not just actual laughter," he continued. "But also the way that Mariska is just the embodiment of laughter — of joy."

Though their marriage is not free of tough moments, Hermann said laughter is the couple's uniting force. "It's the way we find our way back to each other," he says. "It's this fantastically, wonderfully ridiculous way that we can swing back and forth any number of times in any given day. But fundamentally, we know we have the same destination."

"We know where we're headed, and it's good," he added. "And we know we'll get there together."