#Bensler forever! Christopher Meloni wished Law & Order: Special Victims Unit costar Mariska Hargitay a happy 59th birthday — and had a ton of fun doing it.
“Marsha,” Meloni, 61, whispered via an Instagram video on Monday, January 23, referring to Hargitay by the nickname he has for her. “Do you know what today is? I do.”
In the hilarious clip, the Man of Steel actor got up close and personal with the camera so that only his eyes and nose were visible. While the post cut out before he could wish the Leaving Las Vegas star a happy birthday, he captioned the post, “Celebrate it, Marsha.”
Meloni’s sweet birthday tribute to the California native came one day after he celebrated his real-life wife, Sherman Williams, turning another year older.
“So…this happened. My gurl. Ageless. Timeless. Steppin’ out with the young-uns to show em how it’s done,” the Emmy winner captioned his post for the Williams’ 63rd birthday. “#HBDBaby” and “#TalkAboutIt.” (The pair tied the knot in July 1995 and share daughter Sophia and son Dante, who were born in 2001 and 2004, respectively.)
Hargitay, meanwhile, met hubby Peter Hermann on the set of SVU in 2002 and they wed two years later. “I just about passed out when I saw him there,” Hargitay told InStyle at the time. “I thought, that’s my husband.”
In 2006, Hargitay and the Younger alum, 55, welcomed their first child, son August, and adopted two more kids, daughter Amaya and son Andrew, shortly after.
Meloni and Hargitay first met on the set of Law & Order: SVU in 1999 when they are cast as Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, respectively. The twosome, who portrayed partners on the crime drama, formed an instant bond — both on and off screen.
Viewers quickly began referring to their characters as “Bensler” — a mashup of Benson and Stabler — and campaigned for them to get together romantically. Instead, the duo remained friends for 12 seasons until the Sin City star exited the series in 2011 to pursue other projects.
While Meloni may have left the show, the actors, who longtime fans call “Marshmelon,” remained BFFs throughout the years, often taking to social media to share photos of their friendship. In April 2021, the Wet Hot American Summer actor returned to SVU for the first time in 10 years before kicking off his new series, Law & Order: Organized Crime.
“[SVU] gave birth to Mariska and Meloni, and Benson and Stabler. We’re kind of inextricably linked and connected in that way. Beyond that, we’re very good friends. I think we value each other,” he told Entertainment Tonight in 2020, before explaining what it was like to be back on set together. “We just pick it up right where we left off. … We just kind of fall seamlessly into that place every time we see each other.”
In September 2022, Hargitay and Meloni walked the red carpet together ahead of the Emmy Awards. The Nightcap alum told E! News that she’s “never once” grown tired of working with the Washington D.C. native.
“I love him, and I’ve never gotten sick of him,” she gushed. However, when asked whether Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler will ever get together now that Meloni’s returned to the Law & Order franchise, the SAG award winner quipped, “You want the tea, baby? Sweetheart, get in line.”