Christopher Meloni Reveals the Secret to His 27-Year Marriage to Wife Sherman: 'It's Her Patience'

The Law & Order: Organized Crime actor and Sherman Williams exchanged vows in 1995, and share two children — daughter Sophia, 21, and son Dante, 18

Christopher Meloni has been married to his wife, artist Sherman Williams, for nearly three decades — but for the actor, time really does fly when you're having fun.

"It doesn't feel like 27 years. When the hell did that happen?" Meloni tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.

Meloni, 61, and Williams, 62, exchanged vows in 1995, and share two children, daughter Sophia, 21, and son Dante, 18.

While their marriage had stood the test of time, Meloni credits Williams for making it last.

"We're doing good. It's her patience with me, and I really mean that. She's allowed me to grow at my speed, because she's always been more mature and more levelheaded in many ways," he says. "She paints and I go in her studio, and it just makes me happy. We have her work all over the house. She wants to buy art, and I'm like, 'I don't want that. I want yours.'"

chris meloni family
Christopher Meloni and Sherman Williams with their children. Courtesy ChristopherMeloni

When it comes to raising his children, Meloni — who returned to his beloved Law & Order: Special Victims Unit role, NYPD detective Elliot Stabler, on his own spinoff Organized Crime in April 2021 — says fatherhood has brought him immense joy.

"I always knew I wanted kids, as did my wife," he says. "My mother always used to say to me, 'I've learned so much from you kids,' and I didn't get it. Now I get it."

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Christopher Meloni rollout
Christopher Meloni. Michael Schwartz

"One is more of an old soul. I never used that term until they came out of the womb and I looked in their eyes. I was like, 'Holy cow, look at you. You're here to teach me.' As well as the other one, who's a young soul. It's ever-evolving and a complete fulfillment of my life," he adds.

For more on Christopher Meloni, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

Law & Order: Organized Crime airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

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