Liv Tyler - She's Real
Atoosa Rubenstein, Seventeen Magazine, January 2004. Scans by Taylor and Autman Elf
What we love about Liv is that despite all her fame, she's not so different from us
Liv Tyler may be an international film star, but the best way to describe the
26-year-old's vibe as she bounces into Grange Hall, the Greenwich Village
restaurant where we meet for lunch, is sweet. Not boring sweet, mind you. More
like precocious-little-girl-wearing-bunny-ears-and-a-smile sweet. No make-up and
so fresh. But it's not just about her looks. Liv exudes a wide-eyes openness
that makes you want to hug her; protect her fiercely, and be her best
girlfriend. But enough gushing - I just wanted you to know all that before I
told you the more obvious background information I should mention to be
Liv's latest on-screen role is the Elf princess Arwen in the latest, and last,
installment in The Lord of the Rings
trilogy, titled The Return of the King
theatres December 17). The first time we saw her was in 1994 in the Aerosmith
video; Liv was all of 16. But she had an inside connection to get that
gig - her father is legendary Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. As the story
goes, her mom, Bebe Buell, raised Liv to believe she was the daughter of rocker
Todd Rundgren, until Liv learned the truth when she was 10.
But Liv's tired of retelling that old story. These days she has her own family,
having married her longtime boyfriend, 31-year-old Royston Langdon, former lead
singer of Spacehog. Together they have an adorable cavalier King Charles
spaniel, Neal; a new house; and a lot of love. I asked Liv what she wanted to
talk about (for a change) instead of prying into her personal life. Here's what
she said ...
As far as my personality goes, I grew up in such an eccentric world. My mother
and my father and Todd were always sort of, I don't know if wild is the right
word, but they were definently very different from your normal mom and dad. Very
creative. And I didn't always live with them. My mom struggled sometimes, so I
lived with my grandparents or my aunt. I had a very interesting and diverse
support system around me, all these different family members. I always felt very
loved, though it was difficult to be moving around to all those different
places. I think they probably all wanted me to feel loved, and so they made me
feel realy good about myself.
People write the most outrageous things. I once did an interview for a very
beautiful, large fashion magazine, and the writer was a man, and it was right
after September 11, and I was feeling emotional and vulnerable. The journalist
said witin the first 20 minutes of the interview, "So I want to talk about your
weight problem. A very famous editor once told me that if you could stay skinny,
you'd be bigger than Gwyneth Paltrow." My heart just stopped. I was like, I
don't want to be Gwyneth Paltrow. I want to be me. I love Gwyneth for what she
is, but I was really enraged after the fact, because that really affected me.
That was a really irresponsible thing for him to say, because I don't have a
weight problem and I never have, and just because I don't starve myself and I'm
not a size four at 5'10" doesn't mean that I have a weight problem. I just felt
like, what a rude and horrible thing to say. He interviewed one of my
girlfriends, Kate Hudson, for that piece as well, and he asked her basically the
same thing about me, and she just like tore him a new hole. She was so great!
I'm overwelmed completely by the images and the media about myself. Even in my
position, it makes me feel totally bad about myself. It makes me question
things. I mean, I went through a period where I was so depressed recently, for
like a month. I was just going through a really hard time when we moved and all
these, like, major changes in my life, and I had to force myself to stop reading
magazines and to stop just being in any way aware of everything that's being
thrust at you all the time.
The photographers wait and then they catch you. It's always the days when it's 8
in the morning and I'm going to walk the dog or I have a pimple or a thick white
shirt that makes me look chubby-that's when they're there. I was walking the dog
one day and I was wearing overalls because I was doing housework and I was on my
period and I wasn't caring. I wasn't thinking about the 'celebrity image'. And
they drew an arrow to my stomach, saying, "Is she pregnant ?". It's just so
My model advice in life is just always try to be as much youself as you can, and
as authentic as you can, because there's something special about everybody. When
I was a kid, I was huge. I was this tall (5'10") and weigh as much as I do now,
when I was like 12, 11 years old. All my friends came up to here. (She points to
her chest.) So probably in some senses I didn't get picked on as much because I
was like a monster. But as I got older, girls used to be so mean to me.
The whole world revolves around Neal. What's great is that since we moved into
our new neighborhood, when I walk the dog, I'm Neal's mom. I'm not Liv Tyler at
all. So everyone's like, "Hi, Neal. How are you today ?" Nobody knows my name.
It's great. I'm totally anonymous. It's all about Neal.
My whole life, in a way, I tried to be different than my parents. I was always
very grateful to have the upbringing that I did and all these incredible people
and creative energy around me, but I also longed for some kind of normalcy in my
life. I was always so aware of the mistakes my parents made. They were drug
addicts and having affairs and shagging everybody and going out. I was so aware
of that, that my dream as a little girl was to have a family and children and
animals and someone in my life who was my friend and my partner. Marriage wasn't
necessarily a big part of that, or a priority. It was just to be close to
someone, to really share something with someone. So I spent a lot of my life
working toward that. And now that I finally got married and we built our
house-everything that I ever wanted is in place.
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