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Liv on the cover of Emirates Woman
American Beauty

Emirates Woman, July 2008, Photographs by Mark Abrahams, Scans by Ahmad from the Emirates

There aren't many women who can say they've played a half-elf queen, dated Joaquin Phoenix and given birth to the son of a British rocker - all before they've turned 30 - but statuesque actress Liv Tyler tickes all of these boxes. We meet then woman of many faces.

As Liv Tyler nestles into her comfy sofa in her spacious Greenwich Village apartment in New York, she looks the epitome of a successful, ludicrously happy and stunning actress and mother. Although until May this year most of us assumed that she was also a very happily married woman, Liv and husband of five years Royston Langdon recently announced their separation. However, when pressed for details Liv won't budge from the public statement the couple made, which said that although they will be living apart they remain on very good terms and will continue to care for four-year-old son Milo together.

Born Liv Rundgren in New York in 1977, the daughter of mother Bebe Buell and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, Liv spent her formative years completely unaware of the true origin of her parentage. Ever since she was old enough to understand, she was told her father was Todd Rundgren - another rocker and long-time partner of her mother - until one chance meeting with Steven Tyler's daughter Mia, at the age of nine, convinced Liv that the two young girls' resemblance must be more than coincidence. When she asked her mother Bebe, the secret was out, although it was not publicly acknowledged until 1991, by which time Liv and Steven had become very close - by the time she was 12 she had adopted her father's name.

Years later Liv would go on to perform in Aerosmith's video for Crazy - seen as a controversial move by many as Liv was only 16 at the time and the video was too saucy for some viewers. Steven would also go on to write songs for her hit movie Armageddon. While Liv spent most of her early life in Portland, Maine, her mother decided New York was a better option for Liv's future, and so the two moved back to her birthplace when Liv was just 14. Soon she had a lucrative modelling career, but after just on year, she decided that modelling did nothing for her mental stimulation and began auditioning for acting gigs. She was offered a part in Heavy after just a single reading, and thus, her acting career had begun. With a massive seven films crammed into the first three years of her career, Liv was no longer just the daughter of a super rockstar - she also had the talent and the looks to take her just as far as her father.

But although it is one of her biggest hit films, Liv has come a long way since the days of Armageddon. With four new films under her belt - she plays the love interest in the upcoming summer blockbuster The Incredible Hulk - Liv is obviously excited at her renewed career prospects.
"I feel so good and so confident that I've been able to work again, look after Milo, and realise that I'm not the hopeless case I used to think I was. In the back of my mind I worried for such a long time that I wasn't as smart or as talented as I felt I should be. I had a real problem with that and it took a long time to get me out of that trap. It's a major transformation in my life that I feel very secure in who I am now and with everything that's part of my life," says Liv, who admits that childbirth affected her greatly. "For several months after Milo was born, I started feeling very anxious about not working and worrying that the phone wasn't ringing and that I was being forgotten. I worried that my career was over and that I was turning into a traditional housewife. I was very stressed and I wanted to escape in some way."

Now Liv has no issues with her career and is particularly proud of recent effort Reign Over Me, a film about a man whose life has been shattered after the loss of his wife and children in one of the planes that crashed in into the World Trade Center. There's also romantic comedy Smother alongside Diane Keaton and The Strangers which sees Liv delve into the horror thriller genre. Alongside her film commitments she is also the youthful face of Givenchy fragrance Very Irresistible, which explains why Liv has found it difficult reconciling her hectic career with motherhood. She also says that motherhood brought her weight issues to the fore, but happily, these were replaced with a disregard for calorie-counting and numbers on a scale.

"When I first became pregnant, I was so happy to be able to enjoy the process and not worrying about my weight or how I looked. Ever since I was 14, I was always very self-conscious about my appearance and when I was carrying Milo, I decided to let myself go, eat whatever I wanted, and couldn't care less about my weight. I just didn't care!" she laughs. Of course, like most Hollywood starlets, although Liv may have had issues with her diet in the past, she is now back to looking sensational - the result of a year and a half of intensive training (up to six times a week in the gym) and a high protein diet (rich in vegetables, low in dairy). However, she says it was a major commitment. "It was tough. I would go to the gym six times a week and sometimes train twice a day. But it paid off and after a year I looked good enough to go back in front of the cameras. And then when I was working on The Strangers I lost another 10 pounds and that was a huge transformation. I was so amazed at how slim I was that after the film was finished I went out and bought a size four Marc by Marc Jacobs red dress - I've never been a size four in my entire life," she giggles. It's obvious that the self-proclaimed worrier is finally comfortable in her skin, a transformation she puts down to turning 30. "I worried about my appearance, worried about my height, worried about my weight and worried about my acting career. When you're very tall and trying to find work as an actress when you're a teenager you're constantly being evaluated and judged on your appearance. Some girls will react to that with a lot of natural self-confidence and project that kind of aura. I wasn't like that. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with my appearance and the way my life was evolving and things only came together for me when I met Royston and he calmed me down and gave me so much support that it really made a difference to my self-confidence. Now it all feels really good," smiles Liv.

Despite her new-found confidence, Liv admits that that contant press attention was quite upsetting at times.
"One day I left the hairdresser and I was wearing a maternity dress. Milo was around nine months old at the time. A paparazzo took a photo of me that day and a few days later the photo was published in a magazine and the title of the article read: 'Is Liv Still Pregnant?' That headline made me really sad and depressed. So that's when I called my trainer and decided to get into shape." After going through such a public mocking, Liv swears that she won't allow herself to get out of control if she becomes pregnant again in the future. "After Milo was born I just let myself go. I had been watching my weight for 15 years and I always felt under the glare of photographers and a lot of pressure to look as thin as possible. Knowing how hard I had to work to get back into shape means that I would be much more careful and more fitness conscious with the next child. But that's some time away. I feel like working now," she exclaims.

"I'm happy with the way things are going and feel pretty focused on things. It's taken me a while to feel like I know where I'm going and believe in myself and the choices I've been making. But being a mother and taking on the responsibility of caring for my own child has given me a lot more perspective and grounding," she says.

For someone like Liv, the daughter of a rockstar and a mother who often spent time on the road with performers, it seems impossible to imagine any kind of solid foundations to raise a stable child - one only has to look at the offspring of Whitney Houston and the various Jagger siblings. Liv laughs at the mention of her rockstar upbringing.
"I grew up wanting stability and behaving in a very responsible manner. When I was growing up it was kind of strange having a famous mother who was wearing wild clothes and looking very different from the mothers of all the other kids I went to school with. I was never really happy about attracting that kind of attention - I just wanted to fit in at school and be very normal," she admits. "Instead of trying to follow in my parents' footsteps, my act of rebellion was to be as normal and quiet as possible. I've always felt the obligation to work hard and be very serious about my career. Now I try no to stress myself about my career because I have so much more going on in my life. That's what I mean about having more perspective. I'm starting to feel a little freer and easy about things in general. You're a lot happier that way."

10 things you didn't know about Liv Tyler

1. Liv suffers from dyslexia
2. She was named after Liv Ullman because she appeared on the cover of TV Guide magazine the week Liv was born
3. She stands at 5'10"
4. Her nicknamese are Liver and Livy
5. Her haf-sister, Mia Tyler, is a fashion model for Lane Bryant
6. Liv is a vegetarian
7. She's Godmother to Keith Richard's son, Marlon Richards
8. Liv leaned sword fighting for her role in Lord of the Rings
9. She shares the same birthday as Pamela Anderson
10. Liv has never taken acting lessons

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