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Liv on the cover Jane Magazine - August 1998
Two daddies, one love and a secret passion

Christina Kelly, Jane Magazine, August 1998

Such bad headline potential: You Liv and you learn / Liv, for the moment / 1 life 2 Liv / Can't Liv without her / Liv-ing doll ... Christina Kelly decides Ms. Tyler deserves better.

I thought i'd let go of all form and structure and just write a Beat poem about Liv Tyler, instead of stringing toghether quotes, anecdotes, hyperbole and a list of credits, like I usually do. I rationalized my groundbreaking idea this way: Liv's life certainly hasn't been conventional (daughter of a model/singer and a rock star, parented by various relatives in a multiple locations, modeled as a teenager due to encouragement by her mom's friend Paulina Porizkova, quit modeling to act at age 16), so the story souldn't be conventional. But when it came right down to it, I realized that I don't have much talent for Beat poetry. Plus, I tought her publicist would blackball me, and he's real important. So never mind. Anyway, back to reality. from Jane Magazine - August 1998

Liv arrived at the Tribeca restaurant Odeon 15 minutes late. I don't like waiting for people - in fact, it makes me want to kill them - but Liv was so sweet that she win me over right away. She was wearing long red culottes that she got from Betsy Johnson seven years ago, and her face looked a bit puffy, like maybe she'd been crying. She had just come from looping for her new movie, Armageddon, a dick flick (for a definition, see Dish, page 40) that also stars Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck and she had been crying - for her role in the movie.

Liv wanted to smoke, so we sat by the bar. Her voice was much breathier than I expected, sort of Marilyn Monroe-ish. A couple days before, she had flown in to New York from London, where she was making Onegin, with Ralph Fiennes.

from Jane Magazine - August 1998
"I love New York, and i've been away for so long. I saw Joaquin Phoenix, and I just started crying," said Liv, referring to her boyfriend, Joaquin Phoenix, whom she met when they made the 1950s rich girls/poor men melodrama Inventing the Abbots. "We were so in love," said Liv about their first meeting. "We were together every second, and we were the best of friends and in each othe's trailers. Nobody knew - that's the amazing part."

A few weeks later, I called Joaquin for his version: "I think evryone just thought that I was this chubby kid who lusting after her," he said. "I fell victim to the assumption - I knew she had been in the Aerosmith video, and Stealing Beauty [directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, where Liv plays a young naif summering at an Italian villa, and evryone wants to deflower her] hadn't come out yet, and I was expecting the worst," he said. "But she was immediately disarming. I realized in the first five minutes that she was a truly wonderful person."

I felt the same way. I mentioned that I used to go Odeon in the olden days. I would drink champagne at the bar and run up big credit-card bills. So when the waiter came over, Liv suggested we order champagne. "In honor of you," she said. "In honor of your tradition."

We didn't eat dinner because she was eating later with Joaquin. For God's sake, the girl was home only for a few days - of course, she'd rether eat with her boyfriend! Liv and Joaquin both have apartment in New York. Liv, who is 21, got hers a year and a half ago. "It's so nice to have space," she said. "I remember laying on the floor and spinning in bliss when I first got it."

She was loving the independence because before that, she was living with her mom/former manager, Bebe Buell, in New York. Bebe was a model-turned-musician in the '70s. Liv's father is Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, but she thought pop genius Todd Rundgren was her father until she was 10. Quit a misunderstanding. It occurred because Bebe had a brief relationship with Steven when she and Todd Rundgren broke up. When she realized she was pregnant, she got back together with Todd because of Steven's drug problems. Got that ? When Liv was a baby, Bebe sent her to live with a cousin in Maine, whom Liv considers her second mom. She stayed there until she was 3; then Bebe moved to Maine, and Liv split her time between the two.

"Todd supported us, and we didn't have much money," Liv remembered. She also lived with her conservative maternal grandparents in Fairfax, Va., in the first and second grade. That was quite distinct from the rest of her childhood: Liv's grandmother is a prominent etiquette consultant, and Lord knows what she thought of her daughter's bohemain lifestyle. "She would dress me in these outfits, and my hair was cut perfect, and we'd go to the theater," Liv said. "I had all these different lives, so I was like a split personality."

from Jane Magazine - August 1998
Liv had her first hint that Steven was her father when she was back living with her mom at age 10 and met him at Todd Rundgren show. "I don't know if obsession is the right word for what I felt, but I felt something so powerful, He would send me presents and talk to my mom, and I wanted to be near him. I obsessively listened to every Aerosmith album. I wasn't surprised when I found out." Her mom told her. Evan Dando, who played Liv's boyfriend in Heavy (the first movie she was cast in), wrote a song about it that appeared on his last album, Cat Button Cloth. "I haven't seen Evan in so long," she said. "It's so wild how you don't get to see friends for long periods of time. How you make new friends."

Time for my favorite question: "What were you like as a kid ?" I feel it explains everything, and Liv obliged with an early coming-of-age-story.
"I was a tomboy," she said. "I actually remember the day I discovered I was a different gender from my male friends. I was playing. I have the most amazing memories of running around like a maniac - that feeling when your face tingles and stings, somehing we don't get as adults because we don't run like that. I had all these friends, and they were boys. We just played constantly, and this one day when I was 6, thay were just looking at me, and this expression came over them that I'd never experienced before. They said they were going to chase me because they were going to pull down my panties or something. I remember running, and I slipped and fell and skinned my knee, I ran home to my mom and cried and sat on the toilet while she fixed my knee. I remember crying because I didn't understand. But I learned."

Liv actually wanted to be a singer before she wanted to act or model. "I'm still a suppressed wannbae rock star," she said. "In my life, the thing I'm most passionate about is music. I think it's because of my mom. My mother had made her own albums, and she always played in Main and Boston and New York. She'd let me come with her, and I'd bring all my little friends, and we'd stand in the front and dance, and she had such amazing voice, so powerful and beautiful. So I always wanted to sing like her. I always used to climb into her closet when she wasn't home and try on all her clothes. She had a whole wall of little tins with all of these feather and skeleton earrings, and I would her into her makeup. And I had a rocking horse and a little red plastic guitar and a little tambourine."

But Liv never did start a band because she didn't have time. She and her mom moved to New York when she was a preteen. They lived downtown, and Liv went to high school at York Preparatory School on the Upper East Side and modeled after school. I asked what made her want to start modeling at age 14. "I didn't want to do it," she said. "My mom's friend Paulina got me all dressed up and took pictures of me, and it was fun. It just sort of hapened after that. I don't remember really well, to be honest. I don't remember wanting to do it or ... I just remember it happening."

Liv wasn't a stellar pupil, but she liked school. "I was always hyperactive, and I had an attention deficit and dyslexia." she said. "But I was always happy to be in school. I loved to learn, and I loved to talk, and I was just annoying, probably. The principal, Mr. Kleinman, was always really kind to me. I was always half-adult and half-idiot. When I was around adults, my mom and my mom's friends, I would be like I am now, but when I would get around my friends, I would just go nuts with excitement at being a kid. He just understood me, and he helped me graduate. I invited him to the Stealing Beauty premiere."

Mr. Kleinman went. "It was a thrill to be there," he said from his office at York Prep. "I was surprised and pleased that she would think of me. I figured that, like most students, she would not keep in touch. That shows what kind of person she is. She truly is a warm and loving young woman."

Liv says Bebe was a pretty lenient mom, which is what one would expect from a rock 'n' roll scenester. "I was never rebellious kid," said Liv. Not surprising - what was there to rebel against ? "But my mom always worried about me because I was an only child, and it was just me and her." Liv was quiet for a minute.

"It must be really painful to give birth to someone and raise them and love them and be close to them, and then have them get to be 10 and 11 and start sassing you or hating you. I mean, I always had a really friendly relationship with my mother ... It must be weird to spend every day of your life with someone and then have them go away." Not only has Liv moved out in the past few years, but she stopped using her mother as a manager in the same time frame. "I think mom-and daughter relationships are hard," said Liv carefully.
from Jane Magazine - August 1998
"It's nice to have a dad now that I'm older because I never really had ... I did have, I mean, Todd was definitely my dad, but I never saw enough of him. When I see Todd now - when he hugs me, it's just the most comforting, amazing, beautiful thing. It's different than how I feel when I hug Steven - I'm just in shock at how alike we are, and it just amazed me. We move similar, and we have the same habits."

Liv says she doesn't see Todd so often now. She spent last Christmas with her Aunt Annie in Main, and then went to see Steven in Massachusetts. "Steven's really adorable," said Liv. "He loved to be in his yard and have all these tools. He's got these walkie-talkies that can go for miles, so that when we go to the grocery store we can walkie-talkie back, in case we forgot something. And he always keeps a knife on him and a cellular phone and an amazing cowboy hat with big moon boots and overalls, and he treks around the property." A wlakie-talkie and a cellular phone. That says it all.

Liv won't be able to go up there for awhile. After Onegin wrapped and she went to Cannes for the third time, Liv headed down to Mississippi to make Cookie's Fortune, a movie costarring Julianne Moore. "I think I'm going to cut my hair off, but I'm not sure," she said. "I've had the same hair for nine films, my whole life, and no one will ever let me cut it for films. And now I have the opportunity, and I feel like it will be a nice thing to try." (A few weeks later, I heard that Liv had, in fact, chopped off her hair.)

While she was down South, Joaquin was filming back in New York. "I would love to work with him again," Liv said. "He is so, so, so talented. We need to find the right project, something really different. I want him to direct me. He has so many beautiful ideas. He'll just stare off, and he's not there, and then he'll tell me a story that is just - he has such an amazing imagination."

Maybe he could write the Beat poem.