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Liv it up!

by Chuck Arnold, YM, February 1997. Photos by Daniela Federici.

Her dad's a rock god. She morphed from MTV video vamp to mega movie star before she hit 19. Think Liv Tyler is a Hollywood wild Child? No way! Read on for her true feelings about sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll - you'll be surprised.

A beyond-beat Liv Tyler crashes headfirst onto a couch in the lounge of the swank Manhattan hotel where she's staying to promote yet another one of her major movies. She stretches out her ultra-long arms and flashes her slightly crooked smile as she orders a cafe latte and an OJ.

But even before her a.m. double-dose of caffeine and vitamin C. she's completely psyched about her deluxe digs. "I just love to stay in big fancy hotels with giant bathtubs and worn service and little bottles of shampoo and people who fold my clothes for me, 'cause I never iron anything," she reveals with a laugh.

It's no wonder Liv is loving life right now. In the last year alone, she's starred in three must-see flicks: Heavy, Stealing Beauty, and That Thing You Do! And she's about to hit theaters again in the damn Inventing the Abbotts.

rocker 'rents

It wouldn't be surprising if Liv had some Hollywood hang-ups bringing her down. After all, her celebrity-crazed childhood was all mixed up. Fat the first ten years of her life, she believed her father was rocker Todd Rundgren; then she learned her real dad is actually Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. Her mom ex-model and famous '70s music groupie Bebe Buell, kept her biological dad's identity a secret because she didn't want Liv to know she had a father who was heavy into drugs.

But all the family scandal under the media microscope hasn't kept her from turning out way cool. "I'm just basically a happy person. I think I was born that way," says Liv, who, wearing a black zip-front sweater, white putts, black sneaks, and no makeup, looks as down-to-earth as she sounds. "I get excited by lots of little things. I went to Chuck E. Cheese's recently with my dad and my sister, and I loved it!"

Liv wants to set the record straight: there are no Hollywood-childhood horror stories here. Ask this l9-year-old superstar about her family and the smiles - a big ear-to-ear grin. "I was so unconditionally loved as a child. And that's a wonderful feeling - to know it's okay to make mistakes, because when you make mistakes you learn from them."

Liv has learned big-time from her parents' screw-ups. That's why she's one young star who isn't about to go for stupid stuff like drugs. She doesn't need her dad - who's totally cleaned up his act - to tell her to just say no. But it helps to hear about his experience.

"He talks about it a lot," she says, turning serious. "What happened to him was that drugs completely took over his life. But he's just so happy and healthy now."

As fut her own attitude, Liv says she's always had intense anti-drug instincts. "I knew at a very early age than drugs are terrifying, terrible things. I've never been interested in them. They're just not cool."

If you think Liv doesn't exactly sound like the party animal you might have imagined, you're right. In fact, she wasn't even raised in Hollywood. She grew up in the small town of Portland, ME, where her mom took her when she was a baby to escape the rock'n'roll madness. "I had such a wonderful time in Maine," Liv recalls. "My aunt lived in the country in a big house with a huge barn that I'd play in for hours. There were fields and haystacks and cows across the street."

Liv Tyler as a farm girl? Hard to imagine, but true. It wasn't until the late '80s, when she and her mom moved to New York City (where they still live, along with Liv's stepdad, rocker Coyote Shivers), that the small-town sweetie became a downtown diva. She started to model at age 14 after a family friend, poser Paulina Porizkova, took some photos of her, which got published in Interview magazine. Liv went on to show off her perfect skin, long brown hair, and unmistakable Tyler lips in a ton of commercials (Pantene, Bongo jeans) and magazines (including YM, natch).

But her true destiny was acting. She made two movies - Silent Fall and Heavy (not released until last year) - before hitting it big in the 1994 Aerosmith video for 'Crazy'. Vamping it up as Alicia Silverstone's bad-girl bud, Liv managed to shock even her dad with her totally wild performance.

The whole time she was becoming an MTV goddess. Liv was going to high school. But she wasn't exactly Miss Popularity. "I was working a lot, so I didn't have many friends in school. I was friendly with everyone, but I didn't really hang out with anybody. I just felt like it was my job to go there every morning."

It wasn't like she got special treatment - she had to scrape so much gum off chairs in detention that she could tell all the different brands apart. And her schoolmates weren't at all intimidated by her - not even the boys. "They were like. 'Who's Liv Tyler?'" she says with a shrug. "I never really experienced guys drooling over me."

hunk hook-ups

Even now, Liv insists she's still not major babe bait. "Most of the time I just walk right past all these cute young boys, and they walk right past me." Of course, there is the string of studs that Liv has snagged on-screen - including Lemonhead Evan Dando in Heavy, former YM Young & Modern Man Johnny Whitworth in Empire Records, and Johnathon Schaech and Tom Everett Scott in That Thing You Do! Although none of them was really more than a bud, Liv gushes, "I feel like I'll know these guys forever. I got along so well with them."

In her new flick, Inventing the Abboits. Liv adds two more cuties to the list: Billy Crudup of Sleepers fame, and Joaquin Phoenix, the younger bro of the late River Phoenix. Liv plays Pam, the youngest of the three Abbott sisters, who hook up with babelicious bros Billy and Joaquin. And which hottie does Liv fall for? The lucky dude is . . . Joaquin.

Watch those love scenes closely, 'cause rumor has it that Liv and Joaquin's romance was so hot it carried over to real life. When asked about their relationship, Liv insists on keeping her private life private. But she does reveal this: "I spend a lot of time with Joaquin. We have such a wonderful time together." And she even confesses that 'maybe' she's in love.

If she is, it would be the only time Liv has ever been in love, but this admitted romantic is confident she knows how to spot the real thing. "There's that little sparkle in the eye, and your sparkles meet, and there's like, this little explosion," she explains, blushing.

love lessons

When it comes to having sex for the first time. Liv also has major insight. She did some serious soul-searching on the subject to play a 19-year-old who sets out to lose her virginity during a summer vacation in Italy in Stealing Beauty.

So, Liv, how do you know you're ready? "It really depends on the situation. I've heard of some girls who decided that they had to lose their virginity by a certain day. And I've heard about other girls who waited forever, then did it and were like. 'Why didn't I do this before?'" She pauses, letting her private life peek through for a second. "It's such a beautiful, exciting thing. That's how I remember my first experience. I was like, 'Wow!"

Liv is cool about talking sex with her younger sisters, Mia (who she calls 'my twin'), l8, and even Chelsea, 7. Just the other day, she tells us, she was explaining to Chelsea what hormones are. But that doesn't mean she feels completely grownup herself... yet.

"Sometimes I feel like a woman, then other times I think I'm 4. I guess I'm a 4-year-old and a woman all together in one."

4 shocking secrets

1. Liv's never been out on a real date.
"I've gone out with guys a lot, but I've just never thought of it as dating. To me, a date is when somebody picks you up from home and brings you flowers and is really nervous."

2. She had a kissing scene with Alicia Silverstone.
Well, sort of. The first script of Aerosmith's 'Crazy' video included a kiss between Liv and Alicia. But Liv's 'rents mixed it.

3. She's not into current rock'n'roll.
"I would've passed out if I could've seen David Bowie play. But I don't find music to be quite the same anymore. I don't idolize any new musicians."

4. She totally digs cooking.
"If you're at home, it's really nice... and I make a bitchin' vegetarian shepherd's pie!"

Liv's loves

Here, a luscious lineup of her on-camera conquests. Talk about lucky!

Evan Dando in Heavy
The head Lemonhead is sweeter than candy - and he won't give you cavities!

Johnny Whitworth in Empire Records
No doubts about it - this hunk really rocks when it comes to romance.

Johnathon Schaech in That Thing You Do!
His luscious lips were made for kissing scenes - just ask Liv!

Tom Everett Scott in That Thing You Do!
No matter what this mega-cutie does, he always makes us melt.

Joaquin Phoenix in Inventing the Abbotts
If Liv isn't dating this dreamy dude, there are plenty of volunteers.

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