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Gimme one of Those!

by Alun Palmer, Mirror, July 2004

EXCLUSIVE: Filming family flick that made actress Liv Tyler want to have a child of her own

It was the moment that was to change Liv Tyler's life. On the set of her latest film, she held her enchanting little co-star in her arms - and suddenly realised how much she wanted a child of her own. Filming the family comedy Jersey Girl with pretty 10-year-old Raquel Castro made Liv all broody, and last week she let slip the news that she is pregnant. "I think Raquel worked some magic on me there, no question," laughs the sexy Lord Of The Rings star. "She is so cute. I've been thinking about babies and motherhood and that kind of stuff for quite some time now. I've allowed my career to dominate my life, especially with the Rings trilogy. For over two years, that was everything. I hardly saw my boyfriend. Then you come in contact with somebody like Raquel and you're convinced... 'Yes, gimme one of those!' I had to have this empathy with her and it wasn't difficult. Little girls are so gorgeous. I can't believe I was like that once."

As she lounges in a baggy jumper in a New York hotel suite, it is clear that impending motherhood is the only thing on her mind. But Liv is anxious not to repeat the mistakes of her own unusual childhood. Her mother was the famous rock groupie and Playboy model Bebe Buell, and Liv grew up believing her father was rock star Todd Rundgren. But when she was 10 her mum dropped the bombshell that her dad was really Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler.

And Liv, 27 today, reckons her own experiences deterred her from having kids at first.
"I think subconsciously my childhood must have played a part," she says. "But even though I discovered that Steve was my real dad and not Todd, I didn't allow that to grind me down. I still have a great bond with Todd. I met Steve when I was eight and I was mesmerised by him, even though I didn't know then who he was. He told me he felt the same way."

So would she bring her own children up any differently?
"I think my mother did a pretty good with me considering she was involved in so many of the 'artistic' and music scenes in New York," says Liv. "Looking at some of the craziness around me and the rock business, I think I have a very good grounding in how kids might be brought up.

YOU learn pretty quickly about the evils of drugs and just what they can do. They are bad, bad things and so many kids get into stuff early.
"We all know kids who overdosed and aren't with us any more. It's sad, tragic and a warning to us all. That's got to be the greatest danger out there."

Bebe was a one-time girlfriend of Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Rod Stewart and lived a rock-and-roll lifestyle. But if anything, Liv has rebelled against her mum's hedonism. Last year she married Leeds rocker Royston, 31, former singer with the highly successful band Spacehog. When she comes to his home city she pops into the Headingley Royal British Legion club with her in-laws for a quick pint and even her father Steve has been spotted there.

"I like to think of myself as a pretty responsible person," says Liv. "I think I'd do a good job as a parent. I am actually quite an old-fashioned kind of girl with an old-fashioned morality. I have never played around and I have been with the same man for over six years. I didn't think I would change after we got married, but I have. We had a commitment before, but now I feel even more settled and ready to start a new chapter. I like being married, and I am so glad we went ahead and did it. I think it does give you a new level of security and happiness.
"I think it's good for kids as well. It's that 'mum' and 'dad' thing, like 'man' and 'wife'. It sounds silly and banal, but it brings a smile to your face. Marriage should be for life. We're renovating this amazing house together and it's like our family nest, restoring it to its original state. It's a real challenge. For the first time in my life, outside of work I feel as if I have some really great stuff to deal with."

Liv made a startling acting debut at the age of 19 in Stealing Beauty. And her naked scenes seemed to fit in with the image of her wild parents. Her arresting looks and voluptuous mouth won her the coveted part of Elf queen Arwen in the Lord Of The Rings films and a lucrative modelling contract with Givenchy. Yet in the strange world of Hollywood, she is deemed to be overweight. She says she has been told more work would come her way if she lost a few pounds. But she is adamant that she will not cave in. She is clearly proud of her body and says:
"I am 5ft 10ins and have always been a size 12 or 14 because I am a big girl. I don't make a big thing about my body or putting on weight. I leave that to others. It is the height of conceit to me to spend X number of hours every day in front of mirrors or go to plastic surgeons to put tiny things right in order to be 'perfect' for certain producers. I'd sooner not work at all than go through that. I think you'd end up cracking up and I'm sure some actresses do under the strain. I actually like the way I look. My husband does, and that's what counts. I am not going to get phobias at this stage of my stage because of my body. I'm in very good shape for just about anything. I'll never allow directors or producers to dictate to me how I should look unless it's to do with the part. I think I was super-fit for the Rings trilogy - I had to be. I let things go fitness-wise a little after that was over. But I'm no blob, either."

Her beauty made her an inspired choice to play Arwen. The movies turned her into a worldwide star, but now things have moved on for Liv. She laughs, clearly a little miffed, when asked about the films:
"You know, I cook a lot. I am domestic. I tell people this and they yawn. They don't want to know about me and eggs or pasta. They want to know about the Rings or Orlando. I think casting directors and some producers see me now as this strange period-like creature associated with the supernatural. It's as though they want to see my ears before they see me! They keep using this word 'ethereal' about me. Hey, I'm just the same Liv I was before - just more experienced, hopefully more wise, more astute. But I guess for the time being I shall have to put up with being 'ethereal'."

Spending 15 months in a remote corner of New Zealand forged strong friendships, especially between Liv and British star Orlando Bloom. But she reveals there was no bond between her and Lord Of The Rings love interest, Viggo Mortensen - who played Aragorn.
"ORLANDO is 'it', isn't he?" she laughs. "He is just this all-consuming hulk thing, or at least that's what he has become. We all used to joke a lot on the set of the Rings. There was me, him, Bernard Hill and Viggo Mortensen. I had these fairly intimate scenes with Viggo, yet he is still a total mystery to me. We worked together a lot and had just one meal alone the entire shoot. Orlando became a close friend as we lived close to each other in New Zealand in these houses on a cliff-top overlooking the sea. We'd swim and surf and we did training camp together, getting into archery and horse riding. Now I get asked for HIS autograph - I should start charging. Orlando is so gifted it's frightening. His girlfriend is just the envy of every girl in America right now."

Despite her pregnancy and her clear love for all things homely, Liv is adamant that a life of domestic duty does not await her.
"I still want to do great work," she says. "I can't sit still and say: 'I have done the Rings, my life is over.' I think there are greater challenges ahead for all of us. Whether that's raising a family or appearing in another movie which wins Oscars, I don't know. But there will always be another challenge of some kind for me."