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NBC Insider Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

All About Ice T's Wife, Coco Austin

They've been married since 2002.

By Jessica White
Ice-T posing next to his wife, Coco at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards

When Law & Order: SVU's Ice T isn't catching bad guys in character as Sgt. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola, he's spending time with his family, including his wife, Coco Austin. 

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Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays on NBC and next day on Peacock.

Austin is an accomplished model, actress, and entertainer who's been married to Ice T for over 20 years. Austin is one of Ice T's biggest cheerleaders but also boasts an impressive career of her own.

Read on to learn more about Ice T's amazing wife, Coco Austin.

Coco Austin kickstarted her career as an accomplished model

Austin made her way into the entertainment industry by modeling, appearing as a fitness model in numerous catalogs, calendars, and music videos. In 1997, Austin was featured on the cover of Swimwear Illustrated, gaining her even more recognition. At the turn of the millenium, Austin began working with Playboy at various events.

Ice T pulled off a slick pick-up line after meeting Coco Austin

Shooting your shot doesn't always go well, but Ice T never gets the cold shoulder. He wasn't afraid to ham it up after he met Austin for the first time on the set of a music video in 2001. In a 2017 interview with Mario Lopez, Ice T and Austin opened up about their hilarious music video meet-cute and the pick-up line that opened the door to their romance. 

After Ice T found himself in low spirits during the shoot, his friend thought it would be a good idea to introduce him to Austin to make him feel better. Spoiler alert: Ice T's friend was right. From the moment Ice T laid eyes on Austin, he knew he wanted to make a good impression.

Ice T recollects asking Austin, "'Would you ever consider dating a gangster rapper?'" 

Austin responded by telling the SVU star that she would "if they were nice." Ice T then retorted, "I said, 'Well, baby, if you take the 'n' off 'nice', you get 'Ice.'"

Ice T shoots; he scores

Ice T and Coco Austin tied the knot in a private Las Vegas wedding

Ice T and Austin met while she was modeling in L.A. and he was starring in SVU in NYC., leading to a brief long-distance relationship. They ended that long-distance situation fairly quickly by getting married two months after they met. In 2002, the smitten pair tied the knot in an intimate Las Vegas ceremony, and Austin described it as "the most romantic, beautiful moment ever."

"We got married pretty fast," Austin wrote in her blog (via People). "He became my best friend, and this instantly was someone I didn't want to live without. We just knew we wanted to be together, we were like yin and yang, like peanut butter and jelly. LOL."

"We didn't tell no body [sic], no family, no friends, we just kept it between us, we didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so we just kept it to ourselves ..." Austin continued. "I will never forget looking at him face to face just me and him, no one else in the room but a priest and a pianist. He got choked up while he spoke, which made me get choked up."

Five years later, Ice T and Austin renewed their vows in Hollywood surrounded by their many friends and loved ones. The large ceremony was featured in the E! reality show, Ice Loves Coco, but more on that later.

Coco Austin's acting career and Ice Loves Coco fame

Outside of her expansive modeling career, Austin has made her way to the big screen on many occasions. Austin's most notable film projects include Desert Rose, Angel Blade, Santorini Blue, and Think Like a Man Too. But fans likely recognize her from her reality TV fame as the shining star of Ice Loves Coco.  

The reality series chronicled the illustrious lives of Austin and her rapper-actor-husband Ice T, and it was packed with sweet moments between the pair. The series ran for three seasons from 2011-2014 and provided a delightful sneak peek into Ice T and Austin's wholesome relationship. 

"People had certain preconceptions of us," Ice T told Daily Mail in 2012. "They thought I'd be burying bodies in the back garden and Coco would be off stripping at birthday parties. But we're a normal couple with a normal relationship, and people are starting to see that."

"I've been offered this kind of [reality] show for a few years and I didn't really want to do it because I didn't want to ruin our relationship," Ice T said. "Plus, I didn't think this would work. We don't fight and there's none of that drama, so I thought it would be boring for a show. I was overwhelmed that it took off."

And why did it take off? Austin's persistence and lovable charm. 

'I wanted to do [the show], and I talked him into it, as a matter of fact," Austin revealed in the same Daily Mail interview. "I told him, 'Honey, you've been in the picture 30 years, and I've been in the picture 10 years, [but] people didn't really get to see my personality.' And I was getting sick of hearing the negative stuff about me. I wanted them to see the other side–my family side, my wifey side. I had to talk him into it."

Coco Austin becomes an SVU guest star 

Austin has dozens of television guest appearances but cemented herself as an SVU ride-or-die for life in 2004 when she was featured on an episode of Law & Order: SVU in Season 5's "Head." Austin made her second appearance in Season 9's "Fight" as Traci Bell, the wife of a UFC champion. Austin completed the holy trinity of SVU guest appearances by appearing as the goddess Venus in Season 13's "Theatre Tricks."

Ice T loves having Austin on the SVU set, and apparently he's in good company. In a 2012 interview with The Huffington Post, Ice T revealed Austin always receives a warm SVU welcome.

"I think whenever Coco is on the set, every single crew member somehow makes it to the set," Ice T teased lovingly. "Every light man, every prop person, every electrician, every cook somehow makes it to that set when Coco is going to shoot. We have more people on set when Coco shoots than any time in the history of Law & Order."

Ice T and Coco Austin have their daughter, Chanel Nicole

In November 2015, Ice T and Austin had their first daughter together, Chanel Nicole, after 14 years of marriage. Ice T revealed to Us Weekly that the couple had no intentions of having kids until Austin decided she wanted to add one more to their Ice Loves Coco family.

"Coco didn't really want to have babies, and then when she hit 35, she got the bug," Ice T explained. "She's like, 'I gotta do it.' And so we had the baby."

Austin told People that she was excited about everything motherhood would bring. "I'm 100% all in," she gushed. "I think motherhood was always my calling. I wish I had let it happen earlier, but this is perfect. I'm dedicating my whole life to molding this little nugget into a fabulous person."

Ice T and Coco Austin's secret to a happy marriage

In a 2021 interview with InTouch Weekly, Ice T revealed the secret to his happy marriage to Austin is their tried-and-true communication style. 

"We address problems quickly. She doesn’t say, 'I’m mad at you from last month.' How am I supposed to fix something if I didn’t know it was broken?" he explained. "And we compromise. If you want to win every argument and do whatever you want to do, there’s a name for that—it’s called being single!"

As for Austin, she endearingly echoes Ice T's advice. In a HollywoodLife Podcast interview, Coco chatted about their long-lasting love.

“It’s really cheesy, and it really works, and it’s communication. It really is communication,” Coco explained. “If you’re not communicating every day, you’re going to grow away from each other. But if you’re communicating every single day, and you’re on the same page, you’re going to grow as one.”

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