Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni Recall the Moment They Bonded

"I won't say that I fully understood it, but I knew that meeting him was important and life-changing."

Name a better BFF duo than Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni. We’ll wait. Their friendship started at the screen test for Law & Order: SVU, the show on which Hargitay and Meloni starred for 12 years as detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, and even after parting ways, the pair remain the best of friends to this day.

My father, my husband, [Law & Order creator] Dick Wolf, and Chris are the four pillar men in my life, Hargitay told People for the magazine’s March 8th cover story. And that happened early. 

Meloni told People that their friendship began “at the screen test,” when he first walked into the room. “We walked into the screen test, me telling her a story, and we get up onstage in front of all the suits, and we’re just so engaged,” Meloni said, noting that he actually made the suits wait so he could finish telling Hargitay the story. The chemistry was clearly there from the get-go.

I walked in, saw him, and I went, ‘That guy. That’s the guy,’ Hargitay said. It went deep, very fast. We both knew that it was something big. I won’t say that I fully understood it, but I knew that meeting him was important and life-changing.

Sharing the screen, being coworkers, and forming a best friendship for over a decade, Hargitay and Meloni have walked each other through some major milestones. Hargitay is godmother to Meloni’s 19-year-old daughter with artist Sherman Williams, and credits Meloni’s relationship with his wife for being an example of “this really stable couple that loved each other,” which she modeled her relationship with husband Peter Hermann after.

Despite Meloni signing off Law & Order in 2011 due to contractual conflicts, he and Hargitay remained close friends and allies. They’ll be teaming up again as Benson and Stabler for an episode of SVU, set to air before the premiere episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime debuting April 1st, starring Meloni as Elliot Stabler.

He’s always made me feel like I could just jump off the ledge, the cliff, the bridge, and he would catch me, in so many ways, whether it was comedy or acting or friendship, Hargitay said.

Yeah, we’re still waiting for you to name a better BFF duo. Give up. You simply can’t.

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