by Sophie Grutzner, German InStyle, April 2011. Scans by Rianon. Translation by Jacqueline
After turbulent years, the actress Liv Tyler has finally found what she's been searching so long for: a home. In herself, in her son, and in their new homeland New York.
And always there is Arwen. The elf princess from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Liv Tyler's most famous role. Arwen is there when the 33-year-old says, in her quiet, melodic and gentle, yet very present voice. Arwen is in many of her movements: When her long, slender legs carelessly turns over her foot, which is in black Lanvin ballerinas, bouncing slightly, or when her head's to one side set to reflect on an answer. And of course, Liv Tyler's in Arwens face: the high cheekbones, the full, curved lips, the bright, unblemished skin. But the biggest parallel between Liv Tyler and her movie alter-ego is their personality, their inner strength and serenity. Experienced a life-relaxation that you lose weight really just someone who is twice as old as the actress. Saw in our last conversation a year ago also still different.
As Liv lived in an apartment building in Los Angeles, where she had moved in 2008 after separating from her husband, musician Royston Langdon, the father of her six year old son Milo. Liv Tyler wanted to leave New York, out of town, where they had lived as a family in a town house in the West Village, "to find out which direction to hang my head, as they say in cowboy lingo." When asked where she feels at home, she said: "When I'm with my little boy. And I just try to define what is home for me. I look around me now a little bit and hopefully find out, where the right place is for us."
Well she found it - and moved back to New York. "Yeah I'm back home", Liv Tyler says now smiling during the interview in the Paris hotel "George V", where she introduces the new Givenchy fragrance "Very Irresistible L'Intense" as a face of the campaign and brand Ambassador. She leans back relaxed on the deep sofa, stroking the short, smooth black wool skirt, she wears a black turtleneck sweater with Norwegian pattern. "I've only recently become aware of the fact that New York is my home again as I walked through the narrow streets in my neighbourhood. And you know how? The smell of fire was in the air. It reminds me immediately of my childhood in Maine because my aunt's house always smelled of burning firewood and I went down the streets, breathing the scent of a fire and knew that I'm home."
How does her new life at home in New York City look? Amazingly normal for a Hollywood star. Liv isn't in front of the camera just for movies (Super, The Ledge, and The Strangers 2 coming soon in cinemas), her daily schedule revolves around Milo: is up in the morning around 6 am with him, makes him breakfast, brings him to the school, and picks him up again. Together they considered Halloween costumes. They walk with their dog Neal through the West Village or ride scooters. Now and then, Milo will run from his mother in restaurant's. "He is crazy about the Jekyll & Hyde restaurant around the corner from us. (Named after The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson) It's very dark and mostly empty. We go there sometimes for lunch or dinner out, just the two of us."
Since the separation from Milo's father no man has managed to take a permanent place to Liv Tyler's page. There were always rumours: She was rumoured affairs with Charlie Hunnam, her co-star of the thriller The Ledge, or her fitness trainer David Kirsch. "David Kirsch?!" says the 1.78 m laughing actress. "That's funny, David is gay! And has twin daughters. I probably don't have to mention that with being gay. But like I said he has two daughters, so..." When asked if Milo at the moment is the only man in her life, she says mysteriously smiling: "No, but he is the most important."
And if the most important man in her life is in bed, Liv Tyler meets, like other young women her age, with friends - preferably at home, clubs are not her thing. At her New York Girls clique are the models Frankie Ryder and Helena Christensen. "Helena cooks incredibly well, I love her soups!" When she still lived in LA, her close friend, actress Eva Mendes, passed by often for barbecues or just to talk over a glass of wine. Through her friendship with Liv Tyler, Eva Mendes told InStyle: "It's wonderful and so down to earth, to have a woman like her in my immediate environment keeps me grounded."
Down to earth and normal - as almost all the people who seem to know Liv Tyler call her. And for the actress, there could be no greater compliment: As a child her greatest desire was to be normal. No wonder, when you grow up as the eccentric daughter of Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler and the wild Ex-Playmate Bebe Buell. At the time, her grandmother, Dorothea Johnson, said to her: "Listen Liv, you want to be normal, but you're not!"
Being almost in her mid 30s, she has succeeded as much as there is to succeed with her background and her profession. And the way there was not easy: "I started such incredible work so early because I was only 13. Now I'm 33. I no longer feel this restlessness to have everything. When you're young, you always try to make everything right. We always want to be a good girl and won't always know when to say no sometimes." Liv rubs a shiny strand of hair from her unadorned face. Thoughtfully, she looks at her conspicuously large hands with long, slender fingers folded loosely resting on her lap. "I'm much better at saying no now without feeling guilty, of course it's often difficult though to rely on my instincts. An offer will sound great, but I won't jump at the opportunity straight away."
Besides the courage to say no, Liv Tyler has learned serenity - as a mother, a woman, and a Working Women. And not even the first attempts to convey the image of a perfectly functioning Hollywood star in a perfect world. Instead, she spoke openly about self-doubt and uncertainty. How is life as a single mother? "There are days when I think I'm doing everything perfectly. And then there are days when I feel like I'm losing my mind. It's so hard to be a parent, you're constantly worried and want to make sure you're doing everything right. But at some point you say to yourself 'Oh, hey, I've done nothing perfect - but it's okay, we're doing fine!'" Does she also fight from time to time about uncertainties? "Sure, that's a natural, feminine tendency. I'll look through magazines and think 'Oh my God! I don't have all these pretty things, I should go shopping!' We have so many external influences on us. I try to make myself free of them. We're not robots, but human beings. And we should remain human."
On the subject of a "Career Master Plan", she laughs. "Overall, I wouldn't consider myself ambitious. Sometimes I might be. It's true and it's probably better. I no longer feel the pressure to achieve a goal. I don't have this inner turmoil."
Liv Tyler: Hollywood star, single-mom, model, daughter of a rockstar, elf princess - or how her friend Eva Mendes says: "Liv is a beautiful soul." A beautiful soul who finally found her home.