Mariska Hargitay on Her 'Meaningful' Friendship with Christopher Meloni: He's 'Seen It All'

Christopher Meloni presented Mariksa Hargitay with the 2021 Glamour Woman of the Year Award on Monday

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni
Photo: Gregory Pace/FilmMagic

After more than two decades, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni's friendship is still going strong.

The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star reflected on their 22 year-long friendship at 2021 Glamour Woman of the Year award on Monday, where Meloni presented Hargitay with the coveted title.

"You know he, after my husband, he knows me pretty well," Hargitay, 57, told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet before the ceremony. "So it's very meaningful, especially after the journey we've had these 22 years. The creative journey, the trust, the friendship, he's sort of seen it all."

She continued. "You know we've gotten in there, we've gotten dirty," she continued. "So it's very meaningful for me to have it presented by him."

Mariska Hargitay attends the 2021 Glamour Women of the Year Award
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The actors costarred on SVU for 12 years as detective duo Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, before Meloni left in 2011 due to issues with contract negotiations. Through it all, however, they have remained close friends and even reunited onscreen during the latest season of SVU, and Meloni's Law & Order: Organized Crime spinoff, in which Stabler is the central character.

While presenting Hargitay with her award, Meloni, 60, listed off a handful of his longtime friend's most admirable characteristics.

"She's got great energy, great personality," he said. "So tonight, I say this: Radiant. Charming. Funny. Generous. Elegant. Bawdy. Honest. Appreciative. Inclusive. Direct. Vivacious. That's my favorite word; it comes from the Latin, to live. Which is what she does with great passion, every day, with everyone that she engages, be they friends, family, strangers, or commitments."

Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay
Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. Bobby Bank/WireImage

He continued: "She's fearless, without the bravado of the warrior stance, but always with the open arms, the open heart. She's a connector of people, because she knows we're all better when we're working together. She is as comfortable in the sacred as she is in the profane; she is a soul in the constant search of the beauty and the truth that she knows that this world holds, but she also knows requires vigilance, persistence, and insistence to pry magic from the often times mundane reality. Her first instance is to always react with compassion and empathy. She sees hope in the hopeless; she sees the potential in the you, and me, and us."

Hargitay and Meloni previously opened up to PEOPLE about reuniting on SVU, saying their onscreen connection never died, despite years of working apart.

"It was Pavlovian: Ring that bell, and you get right into Stabler and Benson," Meloni told PEOPLE.

"There was so much shorthand between us, which all goes back to the trust we have," Hargitay added. "He's always made me feel like I could just jump off the ledge, the cliff, the bridge, and he would catch me, in so many ways, whether it was comedy or acting or friendship."

"It's simple," Meloni said. "We have each other's back."

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