‘My right lung was 50 percent collapsed’ Law and Order: SVU star details on-set injury

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Mariska Hargitay has starred as TV detective Olivia Benson since the very first season of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit aired more than two decades ago. Although she has become one of the most popular and recognisable small screen characters in history, her 23 years on the NBC procedural haven’t always been plain sailing.

The Olivia Benson star had to undergo surgery after sustaining a serious injury on the set of SVU back in 2008.

However, she ignored the injury for around three months before the pain started getting worse and she was forced to take an X-ray.

Mariska discovered her lung was 50 percent collapsed, and was in surgery around two weeks later.

Thankfully, the procedure didn’t stop the TV star remaining on screens for another 14 years, though it is still affecting her life outside of the world of Law and Order.

“I jumped and landed on pads, but on the second take something happened. I just landed wrong,” Mariska explained.

“I got up and felt that something inside was not quite right. At first, I thought I had the wind knocked out of me. I was angry with myself.”

The SVU star admitted she didn’t focus on the injury, and only decided to take action after experiencing severe chest pains during a walk on the beach.

When she found out her lung had partially collapsed, Mariska recalled to Redbook: “I began to panic. I was so scared.

“I had a procedure hoping to stave off more serious surgery, but it didn’t work, and I ended up in surgery about two weeks later.”

The actress managed to make a full recovery, and has since appeared in 14 more seasons of SVU, in addition to making appearances in new spin-off, Law and Order: Organized Crime.

Mariska said the traumatic experience dredged up feelings of losing her mother, Hollywood star Jayne Mansfield, in a car crash when she was just three years old.

She said: “Losing my mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul.”

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“But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I did to be here.”

She went on to explain how the accident also helped her appreciate her own role as a mother.

The Law and Order star has managed to overcome her feelings of grief and replace her negative associations with childhood since becoming a parent herself.

She explained: “Becoming a parent erased many of my negative childhood feelings and filled them in with something new.”

Mariska is married to her SVU co-star Peter Hermann, with whom she has three children.

They welcomed their first son, August, in 2006, and adopted a baby boy and baby girl in 2011.

On the series, Olivia has since been promoted to Captain and is expected to continue her streak of crime-solving for many more years to come.

Law and Order SVU season 23 continues Thursdays on NBC.

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