The Real-Life Partners Of The Law & Order Cast

Do you love police procedurals? If so, then you're likely an avid viewer of NBC's beloved show "Law & Order" or one of its currently airing spin-offs "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" or "Law and Order: Organized Crime." In the long list of crime dramas, the "Law & Order" universe holds a special place in the hearts of fans and history books. In fact, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is the longest-running primetime live-action series of all time, and the original "Law & Order" isn't too far behind that record (via Deadline).

With so many spin-offs and seasons, there are naturally many characters who audiences have grown attached throughout the years. In addition to the nail-biting cases, viewers have also been involved in the characters' personal lives and relationships. However, many actors portraying these characters also juggle their work and personal lives. Here are the real-life partners of current and former "Law & Order" cast members.

Sam Waterston is married to a former model

Fans of "Law & Order” are undoubtedly familiar with series staple Sam Waterston, who plays District Attorney Jack McCoy. Originally booked to appear on the show for just one season in 1994, Waterston ended up starring on the show for 16 years (via NPR). However, Waterston was so synonymous with the police procedural that he even reprised his role when the series returned in 2022.

Not only has "Law & Order” made Waterston a household name, he also credits the show with allowing him to help send his four daughters, whom he shares with Lynn Woodruff, to college. Waterston and Woodruff met decades ago in 1972 when Waterston starred in William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" in New York City (via The Baltimore Sun). The longtime couple now live in Connecticut, where they first bought a house in 1978 and farm on the side. "We raise grass-fed cows and sheep, no antibiotics, no hormones and sell the meat," Waterston told the Associated Press in 2019. "It has become partly a mission."

Anthony Anderson split from his longtime wife

"Black-ish" star Anthony Anderson's longtime marriage ironically lasted about as long as another show he starred on: "Law & Order." Unfortunately, after 22 years of marriage, Anderson's wife, Alvina Stewart, filed for divorce in March 2022 (via Us Weekly). While the couple has decided to go their separate ways, this isn't the first time they split.

According to Us Weekly, the former pair also separated in 2015 when Stewart filed for divorce. However, the two reconciled a year later. Stewart and Anderson, who played Detective Kevin Bernard on "Law & Order" before leaving the show in 2022, were college sweethearts who met while attending Howard University (via Parade). The couple later wed on their 10 year anniversary in 1999. Anderson and Stewart have two adult children together, Kyra and Nathan. Like his father, Nathan is also an actor and has even appeared in an episode of his dad's show "Black-ish" (via IMDb).

Benjamin Bratt is married to actress Talisa Soto

If you were a fan of "Law & Order" in the 1990s, then you likely know Benjamin Bratt. The actor portrayed Detective Rey Curtis on the police procedural from 1995 to 1999 and appeared in an episode in 2009. Movie-lovers might also recognize Bratt from "Miss Congeniality" and the Oscar-winning animated film "Coco," where he voiced the character Ernesto de la Cruz.

Offscreen, Bratt is married to actress and model Talisa Soto, who has appeared in "Harts of the West," "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," and "Island of the Dead" (via IMDb). According to Today, the couple has been married since 2002 and have two children, Sophia and Mateo. "Most people don't know her," Bratt said about his wife in a 2022 interview with Esquire. "If they see her, what they see is a spectacularly beautiful woman who worked in the business. But to know her is to really love her."

Co-stars Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann are married

While most fans associate Mariska Hargitay's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" character with her onscreen crime-fighting partner Detective Elliot Stabler (played by actor Christopher Meloni), she's married to another co-star. Hargitay's spouse is actor Peter Hermann, who she met when he guest-starred on the NBC police series in 2001 (via Us Weekly). A romance blossomed between the two, Hermann continued to appear on the show, and eventually, the couple got married in 2004.

The acting couple has three children: August, Andrew, and Amaya. Hargitay and Hermann adopted both Andrew and Amaya in 2004. Although it might seem like Hargitay has it all, including a steady acting career, spouse, and children, she admitted it can be difficult to juggle at times. "It's hard," the actress said in 2018. "I'm not going to say it's easy, it's hard. I'm learning to [balance]. I try to be super present with where I am."

Christopher Meloni met his wife on set

Mariska Hargitay isn't the only "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" star who met their spouse on a TV show set. Hargitay's co-star Christopher Meloni, who plays Detective Elliot Stabler on the series and the spin-off "Law & Order: Organized Crime," also met his wife on set. Specifically, Meloni met his wife in 1989 on the set of an HBO series that he told Your Tango was "immensely forgettable." His future wife, Sherman Williams, was working as a production designer on the project but was in a relationship at the time. 

Fortunately for Meloni, he ran into Williams multiple times after their initial meeting, and the two eventually started dating. Although Meloni and Williams exchanged vows in Malibu, the couple finally settled in New York, where they raised their two children in an apartment overlooking Central Park. "There's no grass in SoHo," Williams told Architectural Digest in 2017. "And we wanted them to grow up by the park." 

Hugh Dancy is married to actress Claire Danes

While British actor Hugh Dancy might be most known for playing the role of Will Graham in NBC's "Hannibal," these days, fans can catch him portraying Executive Assistant District Attorney Nolan Price on "Law & Order." In real life, Dancy's wife is also a well-known actor. Dancy is married to Emmy Award-winning actress Claire Danes.

Graham and Danes met on the set of the movie "Evening" and got married in France in 2009, according to People. "Evening" co-star Mamie Gummer recalled witnessing their relationship develop. "I was there when it was happening and it's something that I will never forget," Gummer said at the Chanel and Tribeca Film Festival Artists' Dinner. "I'm incredibly happy for them. They are perfect for each other."

In addition to being busy actors, the famous couple also has two sons together (via the Associated Press). Naturally, this could be a lot. "It's a complicated balance, like any marriage," Dancy told the Evening Standard. "We have got to be happy as a unit and I also want both of us to be happy independently and fulfilled in what we do, so there has to be some elbow room."

Ice-T and wife Coco met on a movie set

Before playing Detective Odafin Tutuola on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Ice-T was most known for being a successful rapper. Not only did the recording artist win a Grammy, but he's also considered a genre pioneer. However, besides being a legendary rapper and actor, he's a husband and father.

Ice-T, born Tracy Marrow, is married to model Nicole Austin, who is publicly known as Coco. According to Coco's World, the two met on the set of a movie. In 2011, the couple opened up about how they fell for each other. "Hopefully, your core is what that person's falling in love with," Ice-T told PR.com. "When Coco met me, I had on a red snakeskin suit, so that's Ice-T's core. She thought it was incredible. She loved it." The spouses showcased that love on their reality show "Ice Loves Coco," which aired on E! from 2011 to 2013. Ice-T and Coco welcomed their first child together in 2015 (via Us Weekly).

Richard Belzer married actress Harlee McBride

From 1999 to 2016, actor Richard Belzer was a staple on the long-running series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," in which he played Detective John Munch. He also portrayed the character across the "Law & Order" universe and the show "Homicide: Life on the Street." Belzer's wife, actress Harlee McBride, also appeared in multiple episodes of "Homicide: Life on the Street" alongside her husband (via IMDb).

Belzer and McBride, who is the "Law & Order" actor's third wife, married in 1985 — four years after their first date, according to People. "Richard softened me a lot," McBride told People. "When I met him, I was cynical about men and life, but he's somebody I've grown to trust and feel comfortable with. Marriage relaxed him too." McBride, a former Playboy model, was also a divorcee with two children. In the same People interview, Belzer opened up about his role as a stepfather. "I learned so much from my wife about children," he said.

Jeffrey Donovan is married to actress Michelle Woods

After two appearances on "Law & Order," actor Jeffrey Donavan officially joined the cast as Detective Frank Cosgrove in 2022 (via IMDb). Before that, Donavan was known for his six-year portrayal of Michael Westen on the series "Burn Notice." Off-screen, however, the television actor is known for the role of husband to actress and model Michelle Woods.

News of the couple's engagement broke in June 2012 after being seen together at various events, perhaps most notably a helicopter ride at the USPA Piaget Gold Cup (via E! News). Later that year, the couple announced they had welcomed their first child, a daughter named Clarie. In a joint statement, the couple said their daughter was "a healthy and happy baby girl," and that they were "incredibly blessed to have her." Donovan and Woods have welcomed two more children since their first born, a son in 2014 and a daughter in 2017 (via The Things).

Peter Scanavino's wife is an artist

Fans of the "Law & Order" universe know Peter Scanavino as Dominick Carisi, Jr. Since 2014, he's played the character on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and went on to appear as the character on "Law & Order: Organized Crime." While actor Scanavino is a performing artist, his wife works as a visual artist.

According to her website, Scanavino's wife, Lisha Bai, is an artist who received a BFA in painting from Washington University and an MFA in Painting/Printmaking from Yale University. Bisha is also the founder of Studio Archive Project, a site that curates works from various artists and facilitates sales to the public. Scanavino is also a fan of his wife and has been known to post about her and her work on his Instagram. When Bai launched Studio Archive Project, Scanavino proudly posted the site and gushed, "So proud of my wife Lisha for launching @studioarchiveproject" in the caption.