“Being a mom has been healing. Now I understand the love she had in her, and it makes me feel closer to her,” Marishka Hargitay confessed her unexpectedly strong connection to her late mother, Jane Mansfield, when she became a mother herself.

    After Jayne Mansfield, a 1950 – 60s sex symbol and actress, welcomed her daughter Mariska, she immediately noticed their resemblance. Mariska Hargitay was three and asleep in the backseat during a car crash that took her mother at 34. Nowadays, “The Law & Order” actress is her mother’s twin.

    In 1933, Vera Jayne Palmer was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, before becoming Jayne Mansfield. The star was romantically linked to Mickey Hargitay, a Hungarian weightlifter, and former Mr. Universe, in 1953.

    By January 13, 1958, Mansfield and Mickey had tied the knot at the Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. On December 21, 1958, the couple welcomed their first child, a son named Mickey Hargitay Jr.

    Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay in their wedding attire before their ceremony at Palos Verdes, California on January 10, 1958 | Source: Getty Images

    The duo’s second child and son, Zoltan Hargitay, was born on August 1, 1960. In 1964, the couple separated, but when the actress discovered her third pregnancy, she delayed their divorce proceedings.

    She and Mickey publicly declared that they were still together, and that same year, their daughter, Mariska Hargitay, was born. Not long after welcoming their third child, the couple divorced.

    Mansfield lost out on the starring role in “Kiss Me, Stupid” because she turned it down as she’d discovered her pregnancy. In 1966, she returned to the theater while her career was quieter and appeared in Westbury’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

    She and Mickey had remained close after their divorce, and he supported her at her performance by presenting her with flowers. The actress became famous for how she looked and had the image of a typical dumb blonde but was very smart.

    Mickey Hargitay, with his former wife Jayne Mansfield, and their children Zoltan, 5, Mikos, 7, and Mariska 2, and Jayne Maria, 14, on July 19, 1966, backstage at the Westbury, L. I. Music Fair | Source: Getty Images

    The star was interested in expanding her knowledge, spoke five languages, and was a star student growing up. In childhood, she practiced violin and voice and had an IQ of 149.

    Speaking about her daughter in the book “Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn’t Help It,” Mansfield described Mariska as a “darling.” She noted how alike they were in that they both had pug noses and blue eyes.

    When leaving for Europe, the actress revealed her children would join her to learn what the world was like. Mansfield was remembered as a loving and intelligent woman who cared about her family and others but died when her daughter was only three.

    How Did 3-Year-Old Mariska Survive the Car Crash That Took Her Mother?
    On June 28, 1967, Mansfield, then 34, died in a car crash that involved a tractor-trailer. At the time, she was driving from a nightclub appearance in Mississippi to New Orleans for a shoot the next day.

    Ronnie Harrison, the driver, the actress, and her boyfriend, Sam Brody, died instantly. Three of Mansfield’s children were asleep in the backseat, and they all survived, leaving Mariska, who was also in the car, motherless at age three.

    Jayne Mansfield with her baby daughter Mariska Magdolna Hargitay at their Hollywood home in 1964 | Source: Getty Images

    Mariska’s brothers, Mickey Jr., then eight, Zoltan, then six, also survived. The future actress was raised by her father, who gave her a normal childhood where she got to run cross-country, take part in the swim team, and play volleyball, but her mother remained an integral part of her life.

    Mariska Became Her Mother’s Twin and Still Loves Her
    In March 2018, Mariska confessed, “The way I’ve lived with loss is to lean into it.” Although she never got to know her mother well, the “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU)” star said she and Mansfield shared an appetite for life and were both inspirational, adding:

    “Someone once said about [remembering] my mother: ‘All you have to do is look in the mirror.’ She’s with me still.”

    In May 2014, Mariska shared a halved Instagram image of her face and her mother’s, showing how alike they were. On June 29, 2022, the star honored her mother again by sharing a black and white Instagram photo of her on her 55th death anniversary.

    Someone else shared how they’d seen [Jayne] Mansfield in movies and that she was a great actress.

    Fans rushed to leave loving comments, with one person saying how breathtaking Mansfield and Mariska were before noting how they “could be twins.” A second person shared how beautiful the late star was and acknowledged how much Mariska looked like her.

    The fan also believed Mansfield was in heaven watching over her daughter with pride. Someone thought it was “amazing” how the pair resembled each other and saw how both women were beautiful and popular.

    Another Instagram user said the late actress was her daughter’s “guardian angel.” Most people noted how the duo looked alike and thought they were gorgeous and wonderful actresses.

    Someone else shared how they’d seen Mansfield in movies and that she was a great actress. The person acknowledged the resemblance between them, while a last fan also saw the same thing and wished Mariska’s mother a peaceful rest.

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