Perhaps Christopher Meloni, 60, is the internet’s favorite “zaddy,” but he’s also a real-life dad, caring for two adorable children, Sophia, 20, and Dante, 17, whom he shares with wife Sherman Williams, 61, a production designer. The pair originally met on the set of a TV show in 1989, as Christopher had just began pursuing an acting career and Sherman was working as a production designer. The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star once described the HBO series as “immensely forgettable,” but recalled Sherman as the opposite. “This I gotta meet,” Christopher went on about his now-wife.
After spending years together and eventually marrying in 1995, the couple welcomed a girl, Sophia, in 2001 a boy, Dante, in 2004. After spending years going back and forth between the east and west coasts, the family ultimately decided on raising their two children in the Big Apple. Sherman then put her designer skills to work by crafting an ideal home for her brood, raising her two kids in a beautiful living space profiled by Architectural Digest in 2017.
Find out more about his two children and his parenting style, how he’s focused on “empowering” his kids throughout the years!
Sophia Eva Pietra Meloni
Sophia was born March 23, 2001 and although her TV star father likes to keep their family dealings pretty low key, he has brought her out on a few red carpet occasions, like the 2021 Golden Globes, most recently. Sophia has enough of a social media presence all on her own though, often sharing shots of her busy life as a 20-something girl with her friends. Moreover, Sophia often shares intimate photos of her family, like these series of shots she posted In May 2020, at the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sophia also cracked up her followers — and fans of her dad — when she provided what Christopher deemed the “#BestGiftEver” on Instagram for Father’s Day. The picture framed the answer to a tweet writer Rebecca Makkai posted in June 2021 asking users to comment with their “best celebrity sighting.” Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz then responded by noting how he spotted Christopher out with his two children in NYC. “I saw Chris Meloni, one of the toughest tough guys on television, failing to control two toddlers at a brunch at Columbus Circle circa 2007,” he hilariously recalled. Sophia then framed the tweet, adding a picture of she and sibling Dante to remind her dad of their earlier days! #BestGiftEver indeed!
Dante Amadeo Meloni
Dante, born Jan. 2, 2004, is the couple’s youngest child and only son. Although the 17-year-old isn’t on social media like his sister, his dad shares some behind-the-scenes shots from time to time of he and his son. Speaking with Advocate in 2014, the Law & Order: Organized Crime actor talked about the importance of raising his children in an LGBTQ-inclusive/socially aware household. After NFL player Michael Sam came out, Christopher talked about discussing the event with his teen (who was 10 at the time). “[H]e gets it,” Christopher shared. “My son plays football. I told him, ‘That’s a real man. That’s a guy with courage.’”
He continued, “I think that’s the kind of example … that’s going to push us forward. For more people to say, ‘I don’t want to carry this silly burden anymore, this silly secret, let’s move on. It’s not the focal point of who I am.’”
When speaking with USA Today in 2014, Christopher described his style of fatherhood: “I think my kids would call me a little crazy. 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.”
He continued: “What works for me is empowering my kids. I remember not having any power when I was growing up. Power helps kids mature, and it requires critical thinking on their part. They feel engaged in a decision, which makes them feel engaged in the family process.”