Mariska Hargitay is an actress and philanthropist renowned for her role as Olivia Benson on the NBC drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

As a philanthropist, she founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that aims to heal, educate and empower survivors of physical assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

The 57-year-old actress is also a married woman. She has been married to her husband Peter Hermann, an actor, since August 28, 2004.

The couple is living a blissful marital life with their three children: August Miklos Friedrich Hermann, Amaya Josephine Hermann, and Andrew Nicolas Hargitay Hermann.

But did you know Hargitay gained 54 pounds, because of her “gotta eat more” theory, when she was pregnant with her first baby August?

Weight Gain during Pregnancy

In the January 2007 issue of Self magazine, the Jocks actress opened up about her issues with gestational diabetes and weight gain during her first pregnancy

First time pregnant, you’re like, I gotta eat more! I have to make sure he has enough of every single food group! I did get into eating too much,” she stated. “This pregnancy was really hard for me at the end.

All that led to her son August’s large birth weight and an emergency c-section delivery. Her son was born on June 28, 2006.

But very soon, the Golden Globe Award-winning actress realized that she needed to make some changes in her eating habits to achieve weight loss and become “a fit, fun mom.”

Hargitay started focussing on balanced eating - for instance, consuming lean meats with lots of vegetables and fruit.

She also worked out three times per week at Peak Performance, a gym in New York City, with her trainer, Jay Wright.

Her continuous hard work at the gym and healthy eating regime eventually helped her get her pre-baby body back. Following the transformation, she said,

After my c-section, I had a pouch on my belly for a long time, which has started going away, but all I can say is that it was a badge of honor. I was so proud of it. I felt like I joined the coolest club in the world—the mom’s club.

She Adopted Her Other Two Children

After experiencing various challenges during her first pregnancy, Hargitay and her 53-year-old husband decided to adopt a daughter, Amaya, in April 2011. The pair even attended her birth.

The couple stunned everyone when they adopted another child, son Andrew, the same year in October.

“August thinks this was all his idea!” Hargitay jokingly told Good Housekeeping in April 2012. “He said, ‘I want a baby sister,’ and Amaya came. Then he said, ‘I want a baby brother,’ and Andrew came. August is feeling pretty good and pretty powerful!”

The actress later explained that she and Peter had always dreamt of a big family since both of them were raised like that. 

At present, the blended family of five relishes a happy life together in their home in Hampton, Virginia.