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We Love Liv

by Earl Dittman, Company, June 2004

Famous at 14, rock royalty for a dad and part of the most famous film trilogy every. So how come Liv Tyler is so chilled out? Company caught up with her to find out

So, is it kind of a relief the whole The Lord Of The Rings thing is finally over?
Well, for me, it only just finished, so it doesn't feel totally over. I think this whole year will be a process of weaning off it; every year we've had certain obligations. It's just been a part of my life, so I guess I'll slowly realise that's not the case any more.

Does it feel good to know you don't have to worry about your place in film history now?
Well, it's incredibly exciting and none of us knew or anticipated that happening. We hoped for it and worked as hard as we could, but it's just been so amazing! It's exciting to think that celluloid is forever, and I'm happy to have LOtr to be one of the things I'm remembered by.

Do you feel more grown-up for the whole experience?
I actually feel that way this year for the first time ever. I was so grown-up and mature at such a young age - I'd seen the world and no one believed I was only 14. I went through all of these years of being this together, mature, young person and it wasn't really until the past year or two that I went through adolescence. I definitely feel more grown-up.

Is that to do with getting married?
It was that, for sure, that's huge, but it was partly working on The Lord Of The Rings for so long, too. It was a big task, to take something on for that length of time.

Are you used to being famous these days?
I still get shocked by certain things, but I grew up around a lot of famous people, so it wasn't really a big deal - they were just people to me. Arriving at a premiere and having zillions of people scream your name, that's like, Oh my God! Or having free things sent to your hotel - it's quite dangerous because you get so used to it. The week of the Oscars, every day two or three huge bags of free clothes would arrive at my door. I was so excited and was sending stuff to my mom and my girlfriends. Then, the day after the Oscars, nothing came.

How were the Oscars?
Terrifying. Absolutely mortifying. I was told a week before I was to introduce a medley of three performances. I got there and they gave three pages of text! I just couldn't believe it, I thought it was a joke. Then they explained they needed time to set up each performances. It was okay then because I felt I had a purpose, like they were relying on me and I had to go out there and waste time for them.

What are your priorities now - career or personal life?
I've figured out a reasonably good balance, just because I've been doing it for so many years. I love to work, but I really love my private life and my family. So, I definitely put that first. I always make time for that. When I'm not working, I try and come home and be as much of a normal woman as I can. I cook, clean, see my family and do all those things to remind myself I'm not a princess!

Does getting married change anything?
We've been together six and a half years, so we knew each other very well when we got married. I don't think it's a drastic change, it's just a nice little enhancement. I have enjoyed it enormously. The whole ceremony of getting married is really beautiful and it's a magical thing to experience with the person you love.

What's your husband [Royston Langdon of Brit band Spacehog] like?
[laughs] Roy's so funny and he's a gentleman. He's got beautiful manners, he always treats me like a lady and he's very intelligent.

So, as a married woman, how do you know when you're in love?
You just know. It takes over everything.

What's the secret to a lasting relationship?
I don't know. I don't have it all figured out. I guess we're just compatible people, we're both patient and understanding, and we love each other. We're really good friends, and it just works. We're both creative people, but in different things, so we work well together. It's also important for us both to focus - to be apart. He can't write music if I'm breathing down his neck. It's just the way we are.

You star with Ben Affleck in your new film Jersey Girl, was it fun to work with him again [they both starred in Armageddon]?
It's amazing. I adore Bem, I always have. Of all the actors I've worked with, I feel a particular kind of comfort when I'm acting with Ben. We don't know each other that well. I don't hang out with him, but we have a good way of understanding each other when we're acting.

Because of the Ben and Jennifer Lopez thing, was filming a bit of a circus?
When I wasn't working, I would come home, because it's only two hours away. Ben and Jen were both busy, so I didn't really spend any time with them off-set. I didn't get to know Jen at all.

Your singing scene in Jersey Girl is amazing. Have you ever been asked to make an album?
No. I've always loved to sing, but I can't play any instruments or write songs. I would never want to do it unless it was something I could do really well. I sing around the house all of the time, though.

WHat are you working on next?
I'm making a little movie that Steve Buscemi is directing called Lonesome Jim. It has the tiniest budget and Ben's brother, Casey Affleck, is the star. I play a single mother, and I'm excited about it.

Do you want to have a family in real life?
I've wanted to have kids ever since I was young. I think it's because I was an only child. Although, actually I wasn't - I had stepsisters and stepbrothers, but I did always wish I had someone sharing a bedroom with me; a kind of partner in crime. I love children. For some reason, the date in my head was like, 'I'll be ready at 25. I'll be such a grown up, then.' Here I am at 26 and I don't feel ready yet.

Ethan Hawke said it was hard to have a family with a wife who's a movie star because it's hard when the two of you are always working. Do you agree?
I have no idea what it's like to be in anyone else's relationship and I don't know what it's like to have kids. With Roy I'm lucky, because he's patient and really cool with what I do - he's very supportive. Honestly, he's not really bothered by it all. Like, a lot of times, he doesn't come with me to premieres because he'd rather do other things - he'll wait and see me when I get home. It always amazes me that he's so patient.

What happens when the two of you have to work and you're raising children?
Well, we have a puppy, and I'm taking the puppy with me to film in Indiana [laughs]. But a lot of times, when I go away for a week or whatever, if Roy is home, he'll take care of him. I mean, it's not that hard.

You started acting at such a young age, do you feel you missed out on anything?
No, because when I started acting I was already a bit more advanced than other kids, just because of the upbringing I've had. I was already restless in school, and I wanted to do other things. I had friends who were older and weren't in school. I got to have amazing opportunities, which really opened my mind - travelling to Europe when I was a teenager and living in Tuscany for three months when I was 17. In America, we live in such a little bubble, it's important to see the world.

You appear so comfortable in your own skin, is that a fair perception of you?
I was raised to always feel I could express myself, and be myself no matter what I looked like. But I definitely go through periods where I get depressed, insecure or uncomfortable.

Insecure about what?
The usual things - although, in this business, there's so much scrutiny of such minute things that really aren't that important. I've definitely learned not to pay much attention to that stuff. Some of it's true and a lot of it isn't. I used to get so upset and startled if I was walking down the street and a photographer appeared. I'd get mad and try to hide. I've learned not to let it shock me. I ignore them, pretend they're no there, and do what I'm doing.

But don't they hunt you down?
Well, I don't have a particularly scandalous life. I'm pretty open. I'm married. I also don't live in Los Angeles - in New York you can be relatively anonymous. LA is really bad. I was there last week and someone was following my car everywhere I went. I was just doing silly things, like going for an underarm wax, or to the grocery store, and they follow you, take your picture and hope for something funny looking.

Has someone you know ever read something about you and said, 'I can't believe you did that'?
Sometimes that happens, even my family will say, 'Oh, did you do this?' Often they don't understand I don't want to read everything written about me. You can start getting insecure, especially when people criticise what you look like and what you wear.

You always look amazing, though. Is it true you get a special kind of facial?
Yeah, basically they use electric currents and it sculpts and lifts. I don't know how much it does for me at 26 other than it does take the puff down - when you fly everything gets watery and puffy! It's amazing, it helps keep everything lifted and beautiful.

So, that's your secret of having such good skin?
Well, I guess I have to thank my parents, too, because they both have the most beautiful skin in the world. But I have to take good care of it, especially because I travel so much.

What's the one thing that you do the most to look after your looks?
I take a lot of vitamins, but I'm not good about drinking water. But honestly, I find the better I eat, the better my skin is. If I eat a lot of crap, then I break out in a second.

What's the main thing you do to stay healthy and in shape?
I do have to work out. If I ate whatever I wanted all the time I'd be a lot heavier than I am now. I don't eat that much meat - I eat fruits and vegetables and maybe fish. I do eat meat if I want to, but not every day. That whole Atkins thing didn't work for me at all. I work out with a trainer and I go to Pilates.

Is it exciting to be the face of Givenchy?
Yes, of course. The model Paulina Porizkova was responsible for me becoming known when I was younger. She took some pictures of me when I was 14 and introduced me into the modelling world. She had a contract with Estee Lauder and I remember her saying, 'Get yourself a cosmetics contract because it's great!' So, I have a four-year contract, and I get paid each year. I don't have to necessarily take any old movie just to make money because I have some income security. Also Paulina's entire bathroom was filled with all kinds of make-up and cream and I was like, 'YEAH!'

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