Mariska Hargitay Sends Birthday Wishes to Christopher Meloni

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni on Law & Order: SVU
Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Christopher Meloni celebrated his 61st birthday on Saturday, April 2, and his former Law & Order: SVU co-star Mariska Hargitay was there to offer well wishes to her close friend.

Taking to Instagram on Sunday, Hargitay shared a photo of herself with Meloni, who has his back to the camera while embracing his longtime on-screen partner. “Happy 61 @Chris_Meloni you’re aging like a fine wine cheers,” Hargitay captioned the photo, which sees Meloni sporting a glittery jacket with the numbers “21” and “61” emblazoned on the back.


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A post shared by Mariska Hargitay (@therealmariskahargitay)

The two actors have been friends for over two decades, having starred together in Law & Order: SVU, which premiered on NBC in September 1999. Meloni played Elliot Stabler in the series while Hargitay portrays Olivia Benson; the pair starred as partners for the first 12 seasons until Meloni’s exit in 2011. Meloni is currently starring in the spin-off series Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Meloni and Hargitay’s on-screen chemistry has led to many SVU fans wanting to see their characters become romantically involved. The pair has played into this desire over the years with various social media teasing, and Hargitay’s latest post has excited fans about the potential relationship between Stabler and Benson.

“A real life #bensler tease WOW,” one fan commented on Hargitay’s Instagram post. “Yessss. Please for the love of God give us an episode where you guys hook up,” wrote another viewer. “It’s something about them that’s gets me every time…. and I’m not talking about benson and stabler either,” added another commenter.

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Speaking about the potential on-screen relationship in a recent interview with People, Hargitay stated, “It’s such a complicated relationship that I think we just want to respect the complexity and the nuance of it. [Stabler’s] in a new job and he’s sort of unbalanced… But what we do know is that Olivia loves him, will always love him, will always be there and they have a bond like no other.”

As for Meloni’s thoughts on the Stabler/Benson relationship, he said, “In the future, I don’t not see it. That might be very satisfying for a lot of people; I’ll leave it at that.”

Law & Order: SVU, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC

Law & Order: Organized Crime, Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC