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Liv on the cover of Jane
Our Favorite Houseguest

by Stephanie Trong, Jane, April 2001

All right, who's the idiot who came up with the idea to interview Liv Tyler at my place? Oh, oops, it was me. Well, it seemed perfect at the time, since she stars in this month's farcical dark comedy One Night at McCool's (costarring Matt Dillon) as femme fatale Jewel Valentine, who's willing to seduce, steal and kill for a home of her own. Speaking of homes, mine has dust bunnies the size of tumbleweeds and a bathroom with no toilet paper. I'm really not stressing it though, because 23-year-old Liv has always given off a very peaceful, low-key vibe, like she couln't give a crap about the usual fanfare or to-do that comes with being a star. But just in case, I but a new shower curtain and set up a little spead of salsa, crackers, cheese, pretzels, hummus, carrots and cookies. Stop laughing' I'm really trying to impress here.

Pic from Jane Liv shows up 20 minutes early. I buzz her in, wondering if she's going to be accosted outside my building, which is on a crazy- busy New York City street right off the Holland Tunnel.

I go out to wait for her on the landing and there, making her way up the two flights of stairs, is probably the most famous houseguest I'll ever have. Once at the top, she reaches out her hand and says,
"Hi, I'm Liv."

I look at her pouty lips, flushed cheeks, alabaster skin and suprt-shiny dark-brown hair - the trademark features that along with her breathtakingly honest performances, first got her noticed in films like Heavy and Stealing Beauty - and think, "Whoa, you certainly are."

We go into the living room, and Liv sweetly apologizes for being early, but she got out of her voice lesson sooner than expected and didn't want to wander around in the cold.

As she takes off her coat, I panic because she's in the middle of talking, and I don't want to interrupt her by saying, "Oh, I'll get that." She hesitates, than gently puts her white jacket over the back of my beat-up, mustard-yellow thrift- store chair.

I must have a funny look on my face, because she gestures at her bright-green cardign over a white V-neck tank top, black pants, yellow socks and lavender suede booties and jokes,
"I'm dressed like a freak today, It's my Russian dancer outfit." Excellent, she's even more laid-back than I'd hoped.

I ask her to pick out some music, so she starts browsing through my roommate Bryan's enormous vinyl collection.
"Oh, you guys have Rocks. That's my favorite Aerosmith record", she says, than starts singing "Sick as a Dog". This is slightly surreal moment for me because, as we all know, Steven Tyler is her dad (for details on that, see our Liv story in the August 1998 issue). Liv decides to put a Spanish guitar album titled Creaciones de los Hermanitas Nunez on the turntable and takes a stool across from me at the kitchen island, while I pour her some coffee. "People think I'm nuts because I make it really sweet. I need lots of sugar." she says, dumping in three heaping spoonfuls.

Liv tells me she spent last weekend playing catch-up with Steven at his home in Boston. "Over the years I haven't spent as much time with him - I mean, we see each other as much as we can, and we're very close because we're blood, but a lot of time can go by." Steven had been working nonstop on finishing up his band's new full-length album, Just Push Play (which she's heard and thinks is brilliand), so thay just kind of hung out and relaxed.

"We sneaked into Traffic because the preview from my new movie was playin beforehand. The car-wash scene came on [that would be the slo-mo one from McCool's involving Liv, a really sexy sundress, and lots of water] and I just crouched down in the seat, because that's nothing like me. It was like the Playboy channel. But we were laughing - it was funny" she says.

Liv takes a hanful of chips and leans over to look at my notebook. "How do you write questions? I always think about that." Before she gets a chance to peek, I snatch the pad off the table and yell, "Don't look, they're too dorky." But then I completely defeat the purpose of my embarrassed little freak-out by firing off a doozie: "So, you've been through a lot. How old do you feel inside?"

"How old do I feel inside? I don't know." she says, extending her arms in a graceful stretch. "I don't really think about age that much. I mean, look at my parents. They're both like little kids in adult bodies." I bring up the time I saw her mom, Bebe Buell, play at a hipster club downtown abou two years ago. She was this sex kitten dressed in leather and belting out rock 'n' roll songs. I was like, "Who is this woman?" "And it was my mom? Yeah, that's funny. She kicks butt. It's so beautiful to watch her 'cause she loves every second of performing and just glows. I wish somebody would give her a God damn record deal, 'cause she's so brilliant", Liv says, breaking off half of an oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie. "I can't stop eating your little treats. These are really good."

After a year on and off in New Zeland, filming her role as elfin princess Arwen Undomiel in Lord of the Rings, Liv's back home in NYC and finally has the free time to explore whether or not she's inherited the Tyler/Buell musical genius. Hance, the voice lessons.
"I just have so much musical energy", she says, with bubbly excitement, "It's very funny and kinda Waiting for Guffman right now. I'm also taking piano lessons - my left hand is a bit retarded, so I'm trying to do scales and simple songs. I get so jealous because my boyfriend is the most talented musician. He plays the piano for me, and it's so beautiful - I get so jealous because I wanna be able to do it, too."

The boyfriend she's talking about is 28-year-old Royston Langdon, bassist and singer for the English glamrock group Spacehog. Liv calls him "Roydie." She's crashing with him in his Manhattan apartment (or "invading his colset" as she puts it) while house hunting for a new pad of her own. The couple first met about five years ago through a mutual friend, but didn't get together until two-and-a-half year ago.

"My relationship with him is so precious. It's the most beautiful thing I have in my life", she says. Her dreamy-eyed gaze falls on my dried-up Christmas tree, still in the living room even though it's almost February. "I'm impressed that you still have your tree", she says. "We took ours down, it was so depressing."
Pic from Jane

Liv and Roy spent last Christmas together at his place, with his brother and bandmate, Antony. "We slept late and had 8 million presents - enough for a family of 12", she says. "Roy gave me an autoharp, which is the most brilliant invention in the world. It sits in your lap, and you just hold down a button to play a barre chord. It's a lot easier to write songs that way."
The day after Christmas, Liv and Roy hopped on a plane for St. Bart's. "It was really romantic. And we just lay on the beach, read books and ate lots of French food - lots of crepes ... I got chubby." she giggles.

Liv lights up a cigarette, and I ask her when she started smoking. She looks a bit pained.
"I'm very embarrassed about it - I'm gonna stop soon. I started in my teens", she tells me. "One day, when I was about 15, I was having a cigarette with my friends in Stuyvesant park, being all cool. There were about five people with me and all of sudden their jaws just dropped in horror. I was like, 'What?!' and then I turned around and saw my mom storming up. I threw the cigarettes at a friend thinking she wouldn't see. Like 'They're not mine. I was just having one!' My mom just grabbed me and marched me down the street."

"As a young smoker, did you dress tough?" I ask, "Usually they look all mean." "As a teenager, I became a total metal-head and my favorite bands were Heart and Motley Crue", she says with a laugh. "I used to go to the roller rink or the mall with acid-washed skintight jeans and my hair sprayed up and my bangs ... very silly. Now I love to sit and watch those informercials where they have a split second of all those '80s rock songs. Roy thinks I'm insane because I can sing that little part of every one of them - like from Slaughter and Winger."

I start to throw out another one of those riveting questions I had prepared (for the record, it was, "You've traveled a lot - what's your favorite place to be?"), but Liv interrupts me to ask, "Are my boobies totally hanging out?" "Uh ... I hadn't noticed", I say. "I have to show you. Look at this bra." She pulls down her neckline to show me her, uh, left breast, encased in the sheerest, most delicate beige mesh material ever. Barely covering her nipple are two adorable bird appliques. "It's from my favorite lingerie store, Laine Jane, off South Avenue. I always get frustrated because I go there and see all these gorgeous bras, but they're just little triangles that don't do anything. I like to be held up - I'm all about support, and this one's good because it's working even without an underwire."

Even though I don't tell her this, I think it fucking rocks how Liv just flashed me her boob. It's such a testament to her breezy confidence and uninhibited nature - something she tells me she's always had growing up and possibly learned from her mom.
Pic from Jane "She's very forthright and says what's on her mind, so I've never been shy. Even when I was really physically uncomfortable because I was chubby and taller than everybody. with braced and perm, I was always really confident for some reason. I remember being 12 and almost as tall as I am now, with a size-10 shoe, and instead of feeling insecure and strange about that, I was outgoing."

"Do you plan to have kids of your own someday?" I ask.
"Yeah, my God. I've always wanted to have a family. If there's something that drived me every day more the anything, it's wanting to have a family. The relationships that I do have now, I work as hard as I can to be there for those people who are important to me. But it's difficuly, especially when I'm traveling so much. But I've discovered e-mail, and I love my space biscuit more than anything in the world."
"Wait, Space Biscuit? What's that?" "Oh, I don't know", she says. She cuts out a little imaginary square in the air with her hands. "I just call it that 'cause it looks like a cookie - it's orange and white." "Oh! you have a Macintosh iBook." "Yeah."

Now that we've sufficiently bonded enough that we can communicate without words, I feel it's an appropriate time to let the poor girl out of my building. What silver of daylight there was has disappeared completely, and my pad looks spotless now that it's too dark to see anything. Liv and I glance up at the clock on top of the fridge and it reads 6:00.

"You've probably got enough for 20 articles", she says. I figure she's right, since we've only been talking for nearly two hours. But I have a sneaking feeling that if I thought I didn't and wanted her to stay a bit longer, she totally would, because Liv's kind like that.