When Chris Meloni saw his wife for the first time, he thought she's the coolest person, but it took them several years to come together.
Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay have given us a hit show as Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson on NBC's Law & Order: SVU for many years now. Meloni, 59, always knew that their characters should never get involved romantically. The pair "needed to keep that line taut but very clear," he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. “Keep the tension—never cross it."
However, this doesn't make him an unromantic guy or unsure of what he wants in his personal life. The 59-year-old actor has been in a committed relationship for 32 years now. He and his wife, Doris Sherman Williams, 61, are parents to two kids, Dante and Sophia.
The couple met in 1989 when he had just started his acting career while juggling several other jobs. During that time, he met his wife, who goes by the name of Sherman. She worked as a production designer back then, writes GoodHousekeeping. He saw her arrive on a motorcycle one day and was attracted to her independent spirit. She stood out with her short blonde hair and retro sunglasses.
"This I gotta meet," he thought, according to YourTango. He spoke to her but found that she was indeed really cool but also taken. However, a few years later they bumped into each other again in Los Angeles.
"But wouldn't you know it?" he recalled to YourTango. "Just then, three women dropped into my lap. And, you know, three in the hand are worth one in the bush. So I let Sherman slide," he added.
It took them another two years to start going out. "On our first date, we went to three parties, given by three sets of my friends," Sherman recalled. "The first was in West Hollywood. Every guy there was gay. Chris passed with flying colors. Next we went to a party given by Beverly Hills snootballs. Chris kept his manners in check and held his own. Then we went to a costume designer's party in the Hills, where we drank beers from a tub on the porch. And I thought: I can take him anywhere," she added.
From there, things sped up thanks to the years of pent-up attraction towards each other. She knew he was serious when he did something special. "There were two concrete steps in front of his house," she said. "Chris had them cut out so I could get my cycle onto his lawn," she added. He made space for both of their motorcycles on his lawn.
They started living together in six months and tied the knot four years later. "Underneath all of Sherman's style, she's very traditional," said Meloni. Both of them wanted a house and children. They got married in a medieval-themed wedding on a Malibu beach, according to GoodHousekeeping. They drank a few tequila shots to celebrate their big day before Sherman left for the airport for a job in Miami.
For Meloni, the wedding happened at a time when both of them were unsure about their paths. He was still trying to find his footing in acting and she used to travel for work often.
"Without a certain amount of money, there's stress," he told YourTango. "I know I'm definitely more relaxed with a couple of bucks in my pocket. So, in 1995, I didn't feel I could establish a career as an actor and commit to kids at the same time," he added.
They even had to spend long stretches of time apart but they had one rule: no more than three weeks apart. Traveling between New York, where he lived, and Los Angeles, where Sherman lived, became too hard for them. "I need to say, 'I am in New York City.' I'm not a mystic, but I have a spiritual connection to New York," he said. "This is where the shell fell off."
Sherman made a "sacrifice" though and they settled in New York when they welcomed their first child, Sophia, in 2001.
They welcomed their son, Dante, three years later.
Looking at his relationship with his kids, Meloni said, "I think my kids would call me a little crazy." The Law & Order alum told USA Today, "I'm very physical, very affectionate. I'm also very disciplined and focused on education. That's one thing that was instilled in me, one place in life where there's no compromise."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by (L)Evan Agostini (R)Peter Kramer