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NBC Insider Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Mariska Hargitay and Taylor Swift's Sweet Friendship, Explained

"This is the start of a beautiful friendship!"—Taylor Swift's cat named Olivia Benson, probably.

By Jessica White
Benson Threatens Lorraine the Same Way She Threatened Her | Law & Order: SVU | NBC

The Law & Order: Special VictimUnit fanbase is a dedicated crew, and one of its most notable members is pop superstar Taylor Swift. Swift is a proud SVU fan, and her love for the NBC nail-biter has led to a beautiful friendship with the show's leading lady, Mariska Hargitay.

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Let's break down Mariska Hargitay and Taylor Swift's friendship from the very top! 

Taylor Swift names her cat Olivia Benson, and Mariska Hargitay loves "Shake It Off" 

Aside from Swift naming her cat Olivia Benson (yes!), Hargitay is also a huge fan of Swift's music; in fact, she views "Shake It Off" as a motivational anthem. "I've certainly had thin skin at times, and things hurt my feelings, and you sit there and go, 'Why do you let that hurt your feelings?" Hargitay told TODAY, adding that Swift's "Shake It Off" "profoundly" affected her. "Shake it off and move on.' What a beautiful lesson. ... There are certain things in life we need to put our attention on, and there's other things we don't."

In an interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Hargitay revealed she and Swift first crossed paths at the Met Gala. Swift flagged Hargitay down to share her love for Law & Order: SVU. “I met her at the Met Gala, OK, and I was so uncool. And she's down there, she's like, ‘Hi, I like your show!’ And I'm like, ‘Oh thanks!’ And I didn't know that she was like the second coming, right?” Hargitay teased. “But she was so sweet.”

Mariska Hargitay and Taylor Swift become friends after Hargitay hitches a ride

Swift and Hargitay didn't have much time to chat at the Met, but fate had other plans when both women found themselves leaving the same Ingrid Michaelson concert. After the show, Hargitay and her husband, Peter Hermann, got stuck in Queens without a ride (relatable) until Swift suddenly rolled up. 

“She was like a little angel that goes, ‘Oh, do you guys need a ride?’ And I was like, ‘Oh no, why?’” Hargitay quipped while recalling the karmic moment with Meyers. “And then she drove us home, and that was the end of it.” Days later, Hargitay got an exciting text from Swift about joining the cast of a major music video. Swift had a role in mind that was right in Hargitay's wheelhouse...

Mariska Hargitay guest stars in Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" music video

The cast was super stacked for Swift's "Bad Blood" music video, but she still had to make room for her two favorite leading women in TV: SVU's Hargitay and Grey's Anatomy's Ellen Pompeo. (Fun fact: Swift's other cat is named Meredith Grey!) In the video, Hargitay plays a ruthless member of Swift's squad named "Justice," a fitting title for the Law & Order legend, and like always, she delivered a badass performance for her cameo. 

In an interview with Andy Cohen, Hargitay spoke about the amazing music video experience. “I got a text from her [Swift] one day, and she said, ‘Do you want to be in my video?’” Hargitay told Cohen. “I didn’t know what to expect, but they [the other women in the video] were so lovely and inclusive, and I had so much fun with them."

Mariska Hargitay joins Taylor Swift on stage to accept the "Bad Blood" VMA in 2015

“She’s [Taylor Swift] like, ‘Come to the VMAs,'” Hargitay told EW shortly after Swift won the Video of the Year award for "Bad Blood." “And I’m like, ‘I’m not going to the VMAs. I’m too old to go to the VMAs.'” But Hargitay ended up attending for her "Bad Blood" bestie, joining the group of female powerhouses on stage as Swift accepted the award.

Hargitay took to Instagram to document the hallmark moment. "My girl @TaylorSwift. She won! So glad to be there with the #GirlSquad tonight to represent and watch you win!" Hargitay captioned the selfie of her and Swift. "You earned it. #JusticeIsServed #BadBlood #BestVid #MadLove #JusticeAndCatastrophe." 

Mariska Hargitay pens a thoughtful essay about Taylor Swift for Time 100

Swift was named one of Time's 100 most influential people in 2015, and Hargitay jumped at the opportunity to write a heartwarming tribute to the singer. "I’m amazed at how much earned wisdom Taylor threads into her work. She seems tuned in to the greater good, and she embraces—thoughtfully and authentically—the chance to contribute to the world," Hargitay's Time essay boasts. "The haters are gonna hate, but, well, shake it off... Along with her staggering list of accomplishments, perhaps the most exciting thing about Taylor is that she’s just getting started with what she plans to mine from her fierce, curious, boundlessly talented, and beautiful heart."

Hargitay delightfully closed the essay by adding: "Also, it doesn’t hurt that she named her cat after me."

Taylor Swift invites Mariska Hargitay on stage for the 1989 World Tour 

During a Philadelphia stop, the crowd went wild when Hargitay joined Swift and model Cara Delevingne to sing "Style."  

Taylor Swift and Mariska Hargitay Hugging

"How awesome/gorgeous/fun are @taylorswift and @CaraDelevigne…," Hargitay tweeted, with a lineup of adoring hashtags. Swift echoed the ecstasy, tweeting after the show: “Couldn’t even contain my happiness because @caradelevingne and @therealmariskahargitay surprised the crowd tonight. #1989TourPhilly.”

Watch the adorable video of Hargitay's 1989 World Tour cameo here

Mariska Hargitay sings along with Taylor Swift at the Eras Tour

Always one to support her bestie, Hargitay was one of the lucky Swifties to score tickets to the Eras World Tour in Nashville. While attending the Nissan Stadium show, Hargitay was beaming while dancing and singing along to Swift's "The Man" from the 2019 album Lover. Hargitay shared the adorable video from the concert to her Instagram, garnering dozens of comments from Swifties and SVU fans alike.

"Thank you magnificent and miraculous @taylorswift for your magic. It’s such a gift to be in your stunning, sparkly, powerful and délicate wonderland," Hargitay captioned another IG clip. "How do you make a stadium filled with with 70,000 people feel like your cozy living room♥️ You are pure magic! Thank you for exquisite talent, your courage and all your wisdom. Your STAMINA!!and your #SHIMMER #ShakeItOff glorious night."

Hargitay attended Swift's Eras Tour again in August in Los Angeles. For the occasion, she made friendship bracelets, which have been a mainstay for attendees of the concerts. 

"#CaptainBenson knows how to take orders! So make the friendship bracelets…. Are you ready for it?," Hargitay captioned an Instagram prepping for the concert. 

This story was originally published on March 20, 2023. It was updated August 9, 2023.