Law & Order: SVU has turned long-serving star Mariska Hargitay into one of America’s most trusted people.
The actress has played Olivia Benson on TV for 21 seasons and she reveals her character and the drama itself has clearly had an impact on fans.
Mariska tells The Hollywood Reporter she’s often approached by people, who break her heart with stories about how her TV show has changed their lives.
“(When I was) on (medical drama) ER, it was like, ‘Hey, I love your show. What’s it like working with George Clooney?’ Now it was, ‘I’ve never told anyone this before, but my father’s been raping me since I was six (sic)’.
“(I get) letter after letter after letter, and the same thing that was happening in these letters was happening on the street with women disclosing, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you. It happened to me, I never told anyone’.
“When I walk down the street and people say, ‘I knew what to do because of watching your show. I knew not to shower. I reported immediately. I took myself to the hospital instead of saying forget it, forget this ever happened…’ that’s what I’m most proud of.”
And she never tires of holding strangers’ babies: “They trust me. People can hand me their babies all day long. That’s just one of the perks of my job.”