Christopher Meloni 'Dreaded' Going to Church So Much That He Said It Was 'Close to Death'

Religion can be a challenging subject for most people. Some people don’t like to talk about it, while others are vocal about it. Most celebrities have been open about their beliefs or lack thereof throughout their careers, and for some, it’s a significant aspect of who they are. Christopher Meloni of Law & Order: Organized Crime had some serious reservations about going to church that he equated it to being close to death.

Christopher Meloni had a stifling childhood that made him dread Sundays

Meloni was born in Washington, D.C, and grew up in a Catholic home that warranted every family member’s presence in church every Sunday. Speaking to Men’s Health, Meloni said that “going to church was close to death. Saturday afternoon would roll around, and my weekend was over. That’s how much I dreaded going to church.”

From his statement with the publication, it seems what bothered the actor more wasn’t the institution itself but “who exactly is the big dog.” Meloni remembered asking a nun about God and Jesus and leaving with no answers.

The star also likened living at home to a “dark cloud,” noting that his parents were “so quiet and so reserved.” Meloni said he could always feel the tension at home, but since no one else was willing to acknowledge it, he wondered if he was crazy. “The trauma of childhood is real,” the actor reasoned.

After graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder, his degree in history, focusing on contemporary U.S diplomacy and communism, was rendered obsolete after the Berlin Wall fell and the actor began his journey of mostly unsuccessful auditions.

Meloni went through a series of failed auditions until 1997, when he landed the role of inmate Chris Keller in HBO’s Oz. Soon after his luck started changing a year later, he appeared in Law & Order: SVU as the lead character. Although this was a dream come true, the star experienced anxiety as he felt crushed by his lifelong dream come to reality.

Meloni has his own religion now

Around the time Christopher Meloni was coming to terms with his newfound success, he and his wife got called back to church. (The actor is very protective of his family and rarely mentions them unless necessary). As he was out on a walk, he quietly asked God for a sign to “come back to the fold.” The star recalled feeling overwhelmed with the “love, the beauty of it, the spirituality of it, the potential of it.”

After arriving at mass, Meloni looked at the father and thought, “this guy could not have been more bored.” And he left the church, never to return. Today Meloni uses exercise as “therapy, church, meditation, and a kind of personal re-engagement.” The actor left Law & Order: SVU in 2011 after contract negotiations between him and NBC broke down.

After leaving the show, he found work with other shows like Wet Hot American Summer and Happy before appearing in The Diary of a Teenage Girl. In 2020 it was announced that Meloni would pick up where he left off with his character Elliot Stabler in Law & Order: SVU, but this time he would be continuing his story in his show Law & Order: Organized Crime.

The responses have been positive on Christopher Meloni’s return

Law & Order: Organized Crime recently concluded its first season in July, with the second season already given the green light for September. The fan responses have been mostly positive, with people enjoying scenes involving him and Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson.

His acting isn’t the only thing that stands out to fans but also his body. The actor has gone viral for his ripped body (especially his glutes), which has earned him the nickname ‘Zaddy’ from his fans. When asked about why he returned to the SVU universe, Meloni said, “it felt good to have to make that decision with a sense of clarity and a sense of certain things being correct.”

 RELATED: ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ Star Christopher Meloni Knows He’s a ‘Zaddy’

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