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60 SECONDS: Liv Tyler

Metro.co.uk, April 20th 2007


Actress Liv Tyler, the daughter of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, was Arwen in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Her latest role in Reign Over Me, about a man who lost his family in the September 11 attacks in New York, is more down-to-earth: she plays therapist Angela Oakhurst. Liv has also been the face of Givenchy and is married to rock musician Royston Langdon.

Do you have any personal experience of 9/11?
No, but I play a therapist and the therapist who helped me prepare for the role had lost a number of her patients in the attack.

Have you ever been in therapy yourself?
I once saw a therapist when I was a teenager and, because I had such a complicated growing-up experience with my dad and my stepdad [she discovered Steven Tyler was her biological father at the age of nine], the therapist just sat there with his mouth wide open. He was completely shocked. I think my life was just too complicated for him.

How do you train to be a screen shrink?
I went to see the therapist three times in one week for two hours straight and it was a really weird dynamic because suddenly she was teaching me her tricks and she even said that I'd be a good shrink if I wasn't an actor. I was like: 'Shut up!' I didn't really know how to take that.

Wasn't it a compliment?
I guess so but I was really worried about the fact that I didn't go to college and I'm not very well educated. Everything I know comes from things I've seen and experienced, so I felt a lot of pressure. I was thinking: 'Oh my God, the camera and the audience are going to see that I'm really stupid and that I didn't go to college for eight years.'

You're a renowned beauty. Are you another actress who insists she was an ugly teenager?
When I was younger, I was loud, chubby and tall. Really tall. All my friends came up to about my shoulder. There are pictures of me that are so bizarre because I had boobs and I was so tall at a really young age. I wasn't the pretty, popular blonde put it that way.

Was going back to work a shock?
I was lucky to be able to take time off and I really enjoyed it but I was ready to get back to work. I was looking for something where I wasn't in every scene and this came along. It was a character I'd never played before and a woman I was ready for and it sort of happened. I'm enjoying my work now more than ever before.

Friendship is the theme of this film. What do friends mean to you?
I've reconnected with my friends now I'm working again. It was like a light switch came on inside me. I just felt alive again in a new kind of way to connect with those people and go: 'I've been thinking about that for three months and you think that, too yeah!' It's so important. It so is everything. My closest friends and I only have a couple are more like family to me. I always know how they are, what they're thinking. Even if I don't speak to them for three months, I know them in my heart.

What would you do if you weren't an actress?
I'd move to the country and open a spa or a restaurant or be a photographer or a facialist. I love skin care. I give everybody facials all the time.

Did you ever consider pursuing music since both your father and husband are musicians?
My mum was a singer too and I think everybody always has some dream of something they've always wanted to do and, for me, hands down, that would be my dream but it's not something I want to pursue. I'd like to play an instrument well because I like music so much and watching Roy play the piano and write a song is one of the most beautiful things. I'm in awe of watching him do that. It just seems so liberating and such a beautiful outlet.

Do you have any tattoos?
No. I'm totally against tattoos and piercings. I have pierced ears but I can hardly wear earrings. They get so sore. A lot of people get tattoos and piercings when they're young and I'm sure they regret it when they're older. My mum got a tattoo on her ankle and I cried when she showed it to me. I was like: 'That's going to be there for ever.' Personally, I prefer flesh.

Did you have a hard time losing the weight after you had your baby?
Well, I've been working since I was 14, so I've always had these pressures on me about how I look. I was just really excited when I got pregnant that I didn't have that pressure on myself and didn't have to obsess about myself and could just think about my baby and have fun and cook and eat and not think about work and all those things. One day, I was walking down the street coming back from the nail salon nine months after I'd given birth and I was still wearing a maternity top. My picture ended up in this magazine and they asked if I was pregnant again. I got really sad, so I went to see my trainer and I really had to work hard. It took me a year to lose it all. I went to the gym six days a week, sometimes twice a day. It was nuts. I worked really hard. Then one day, I was back to normal.

What's a little thing in life which makes you smile?
My fave treat is a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that's nice and cold from the fridge. That makes me so happy.