After playing the biggest role of her life as mum, the actress reveals why she was in no rush to return
Hollywood actress Liv Tyler is back. The beautiful brunette, who came into the spotlight as the daughter of Aerosmith rocker Steve Tyler, took the unprecedented step two years ago of pulling the plug on her flourishing film career to spend time bringing up her baby son Milo.
Liv, who married musician Royston Langdon three years ago, also refused to conform to the celebrity tradition to lose her baby weight in superhuman time by choosing instead to put her efforts into spending quality time with her son.
But now, with her son turning 20 months old, and having finally ditched those pesky pounds, Liv, 29, is back in the business she loves.
The actress, who is most famous for her role in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, has just finished filming Reign Over Me, in which she plays a therapist in the aftermath of 9/11, and is considering a number of other projects.
Here, she talks about how she lost her baby weight, the delights of married life and her sheer joy at being a mum...
So Liv, how is your life these days? Everything's good, except for the fact that I've been having a hard time losing the last bit of weight I'd gained during my pregnancy. Everybody had told me that the weight would come off real fast after giving birth - well, that turned out to be a big lie! I eventually lost some of the weight, but I was still around 30lb heavier than normal. So I've been pretty discipined the last several months about losing that extra weight. I'm just about there now.
What has the experience of raising your child been like? It's been tremendously fulfilling. I've been dreaming about having my own child ever since I was a young girl. I wanted the chance to be a mother and experience all the emotions that come with it. And being with a good man and sharing the joy of watching your child grow and develop and respond to everything around him. Milo has been our little treasure and we can already start seeing different things about his personality. He's very aware and alert which is exactly what Roy is like.
Five years ago did you ever think you would be married and raising a child at this point in your life? No. Not even remotely. I was in love with Roy and we were just so happy together. Even when we started living together I wasn't expecting us to even think about starting a family. It just happened. But everything has worked out and it's made me realise how much I wanted to have this kind of traditional life. When you grow up in an unstable kind of environment like I did, you develop this longing for roots and your own sense of place and surrounding. I didn't know how much it would all mean to me until I was married and pregnant. Now it feels very normal and natural.
Was it an issue for you to take time off from your career? I can't say I've really missed being on a film set. It often means long hours and spending several months out of your normal environment, but it's also something I enjoy doing. It's still something I'm deeply passionate about, even though it means having paparazzi waiting around my house in the morning, hoping to catch me wearing some baggy sweatpants or looking fat in a bikini. That I could do without, but now that I haven't been working for a few years, there's a lot less hassle so it's not a big deal for me.
Are you worried about spending time away from your son? Yes. I'm not sure how I'm going to react and how Milo is going to feel about not being with me as much. But I'm probably going to have to bring him with me on set, especially if I'm not going to be shooting in New York. He's still very young so I don't want to work too much right now. Not until he starts going to school, when there'll be less disruption to his little world. I'm definitely not going to be shooting a huge Lord Of The Rings-type project again.
What's been the biggest surprise about being a mother? It's incredible to see how much they respond to you, need you and just love you in the purest way possible. It's such a happy moment to see your child hold onto your leg or come running towards you if there are strangers in the house and he needs you to protect him from the unknown. I love those moments and the sense that I'm there to protect him and also to help him learn and become more aware of everything that's going on around him. You don't realise what an incredible process that is unless you're going through it yourself and watch your child every moment of the day.
Couples often have difficult adjustments to make after their first child. How have you and Roy managed things? Oh, it's been pretty easy for us. Roy and I have had an easy schedule the last few years and except for not sleeping that much the first six months or so, it hasn't been a strain on us. He hasn't been touring since he and Spacehog disbanded and he's only now working on getting a new band together. So our life hasn't changed a lot except that we tend to invite friends over more rather than go out. We live a very normal life.
You said you didn't want to diet after Milo? No. Dieting is always a pain. For most of my life I've been on some kind of diet and worried about staying slim and looking a certain way for fashion shoots or when I would be shooting a film. So I wanted to enjoy my time with our son and not be frantic and miserable about not eating and working out and things like that. It bothers me that there's this whole culture about having to immediately lose your extra weight and I wasn't interested in getting into that. Maybe some women find it easier than I've discovered, but when I was nursing Milo I was always hungry and my doctor told me that it was very normal.
What finally made you decide to get back to your former slim self? It was just bothering me after a while, so I said, 'Okay, now I'm going to be serious about losing the weight.' I went on a strict diet and exercise regime and that's when I finally saw my stomach getting flatter and my legs looking less pudgy. I'm not really vain but I didn't like having fat legs!
Do you worry much about what direction your career will take now you've been away from the public eye for a while? I've spoken to some people about that and it always seems to take time to re-establish yourself after a gap. There are so many talented and incredibly beautiful actresses competing for the same roles these days, and you can't be depressed if you don't immediately get the one great part everyone has been talking about. I used to really stress myself out about work and a lot of other things in life but now I'm trying to be a bit more relaxed about everything.