In Season 22 of Law & Order: SVU, Elliot Stabler and his family returned to New York after nearly a decade, and although fans were excited to see Christopher Meloni reprise his role, it wasn’t long before the former SVU detective was struck with tragedy.
Not long after they arrived, Elliot’s wife, Kathy Stabler (Isabel Gillies), was tragically killed in an explosion, and he has continued his quest to avenge her murder in Law & Order: Organized Crime. But now that Elliot is single and mingling with two new potential romantic interests, fans wonder how solid his relationship with Kathy was in the first place. So, did Elliot Stabler ever cheat on his wife?
Did Elliot Stabler cheat on his wife, Kathy Stabler?
Kathy and Elliot Stabler got married at 17 years old and shared five children, but in earlier seasons of Law & Order: SVU, viewers learned that their marriage was less than perfect. Frustrated with her husband’s long hours and short temper, Kathy eventually left Elliot and even filed for divorce. Ultimately, Kathy and Elliot were able to rekindle their relationship and decided to remain married, but not before Elliot got a taste of the semi-single life.
During Kathy and Elliot’s separation, Elliot kissed SVU guest star Dani Beck (Connie Nielsen), and in another episode, a Black woman made a comment about him going “back to his wife,” which gave viewers the impression that Stabler had romantically been linked to her at some point in time. With this being said, Stabler never definitively cheated on his wife – but it didn’t take him long to move on, either.
In the first season of Law and Order: Organized Crime, Elliot is not only exploring his romantic connection with the ex-wife of his nemesis, Angela Wheatley (Tamara Taylor), but he’s also found himself entangled with his former partner, Olivia.
According to Christopher Meloni, his character’s romantic life has become an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. Chris told Deadline, “That’s a very tangled arena. Stabler’s in a place that he’s never found himself before.”
He added, “He’s always been assured of walking on terra firma, and now, everything is shifting beneath his feet, and I just think he is overwhelmed, and confusing comfort, succor, affection, for love. I think he is lost in that world, and we’re going to see where it comes out, but he has a lot to unpack.”
For decades, viewers have suggested that Elliot and his former SVU co-star were more than friends. But did Benson and Stabler ever have an affair?
Did Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson ever have an affair on 'Law & Order: SVU'?
Although Elliot saw other people while he was separated from Kathy, he and Olivia did not pursue a romantic relationship while Kathy was still alive. But they came pretty darn close.
Olivia and Elliot have expressed their love for one another in several episodes. When Benson and Stabler finally reunited in Season 22, Olivia asked her former partner, “Are you sorry for leaving, or are you sorry for walking— for not giving me the courtesy of telling me? You were the single most important person in my life, and you just... disappeared.”
Stabler replied, “I know. I was afraid if I heard your voice, I wouldn’t have been able to leave.”
Perhaps their relationship was a little more than platonic, after all. You can watch the season finales of Law & Order: SVU at 9 p.m. EST and Law & Order Organized Crime at 10 p.m. EST, June 3 on NBC.