Mariska Hargitay has confronted trauma for more than two decades playing Olivia Benson on crime series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In real life, the awardwinning actress contended with her own pain following the loss of her mother when she was just three years old.
“I think I learned about crisis very young, and I learned very young that sh*t happens and there are no guarantees, and we keep going,” the 57-yearold star recently told Glamour.
Mariska’s mother, Hollywood legend Jayne Mansfield, was killed in a car crash in 1967 at the age of 34.
Three of Jayne’s children – Mariska and her brothers Mickey and Zoltan – were passengers in the vehicle when it smashed into the back of a semitrailer.
The siblings all survived the accident with only minor injuries, but the mental scars of the tragedy run deep, with Mariska describing a “frozen place” that took hold of her in the wake of the trauma.
“I clearly was in that frozen place for a lot of my childhood – of trying to survive, actually trying to survive,” she said.
“My life has been a process of unpeeling the layers and trust and trusting again.”
That process took some time, as she worked through the impact of losing such a central figure in her life at such a formative stage.
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