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Liv on the cover of Esprit Femme
Liv Tyler, the Irresistible

by Veronique Dubois, Esprit Femme, Scans by Aliice, Translation by Anna


Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl who discovered by accident that her real father was a rock star. And, blessed by the fairies as she was, she grew up to become a star in her own right.

Lively, energetic, luminous … These adjectives aren't enough to describe one of today's most beautiful actresses, who transports us with every role to a fairy-tale world. For most people, Liv Tyler will always be the sparkling, enchanting elf princess from Lord of the Rings. And besides such on-screen charisma, she's also one of the world's sexiest stars, 1.8 meters of voluptuous glamour. Without a doubt, this regal, blue-eyed actress belongs to the old-school family of Hollywood sex bombs, such Liz Taylor, with whom she is frequently compared.

In Louis Letterier's The Incredible Hulk (in theatres 23 July), she explodes on screen with incredible charm. Beautiful, intrepid and more sensual than ever, she has captured the original comic book character perfectly. But Liv Tyler is not only the "fantastic" creature that drives Ed Norton, the green giant, crazy with love. In real life she is the mother of a three-year-old son, Milo, who is overflowing with happiness:
"I've found myself since I became a mother. I see that I am finally capable of making decisions. Before, I let myself be carried along by events. Now, I am the mistress of my own destiny."

To recount Liv's life story is to fall into one of rock's most famous sagas of "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" fairy tale. In the 1970s, a particularly flamboyant period in which rock stars were getting up to all kinds of mischief. Following in the wake of these groups were young women, frequently models, who partied backstage. Bebe Buell, Liv's mother, was one of them. But she wasn't just anyone. "Playboy's" Miss November 1974 was a New Yorker and a famous groupie of the period. Linked with Iggy Pop, John Lennon, Jimmy Page, Elvis Costello and Rod Stewart amongst others, she was both muse and nanny to them, inspiration and protection.


She became a fan of Steven Tyler without knowing he was her father.
Bebe Buell had already been living with the musician Todd Rundgren for several months when she fell hard for the lead singer of the rock group Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, with his famously bee-stung lips. And thus began a torrid affair that lasted eight months. But the life of a groupie is hard, and Bebe was only one of many girls in Steven's life. Aerosmith went on tour and Bebe returned to the fold, pregnant! Todd forgave Bebe and even accepted paternity of the baby. Livonia Rundgren, nicknamed Liv, was born 1 July 1977. And, until the age of ten, the little girl thought Rundgren was her father.

That is, until the day she helped her mother at a concert where Tyler was appearing as a guest star. They met backstage. The little girl immediately fell under the spell of the extravagant singer and became a fan. Back home, she covered the walls of her room with Aerosmith posters. One day, she met her half-sister, Mia, and discovered that they looked like two peas in a pod. How strange! Suddenly, Livonia, picking up on innuendos from her mother, understood everything:
"I figured it out bit by bit, and in the end my mom confessed everything," she says.

This tremendous revelation led our heroine to change her last name. She officially became Liv Tyler and began a relationship with her father. Wow! Not bad for a happy ending. Liv gives her versions of events:
"When I was born, Steven was doing drugs. My mom was worried and thought the best thing was for me to grow up far away from that world. Thanks to that, I had a normal childhood. So the first time I met my father, I didn't know about any of that, we just laughed about how similar our legs looked! We figured it out pretty quickly. Of course, I have his mouth. My mouth is always the first thing people look at when they see me."


Model at age 13, actress at 19, star at 30
Raised in Portland, Maine, young Liv knew early on that she wanted to be an actress. She loved dressing up in her mother's kooky clothes, putting on makeup and putting on little plays for her mother's friends. Then her family moved to New York. Seeing that her daughter was growing like a beanstalk, her mother took tons of photos of her and sent them around to various magazines. One day, photos of the 13-year-old Liv landed at the offices of Interview.
"They booked me for one picture," she recalls. "And they asked, 'What do you want to do when you grow up?' And I told them in all seriousness, 'I want to be an actress.' Wow, did I have nerve when I was little!"

After such an experience, Liv returned to middle school half-heartedly. Within a year, she'd become a full-time model. And was she successful -- not surprisingly, given her long legs, plump lips, black hair, and almond-shaped eyes such a deep shade of blue, She continued her studies for better or worse:
"When I was traveling, I had a tutor with me. But I have to admit that going back to regular classes was really hard! All my friends thought I had this gorgeous life. And I was jealous of them because they could do whatever they wanted. I had to pose during the day, and then spend all evening doing homework. To be honest, the real reason I started modeling was so I didn't have to babysit! But then it just ate up all my free time. I couldn't really have a boyfriend or go to parties with my friends."

Very quickly she became a muse for the Gap and Chanel. She was also becoming closer to her father and appeared in the video for Aerosmith's Crazy with Alicia Silverstone. Some small movie rolls followed, most notably in Empire Records. Bernardo Bertolucci noticed her and realized she was an explosive cocktail of sensuality and ingénue. In 1996 the fascinated Italian director offered her the role of a golden Lolita in Stealing Beauty, a film which dances on the edge of voyeurism. The public discovered this baby doll in a transparent floral dress who raised the temperature of the Tuscan countryside several degrees and turned men's heads. And so her career took off.

The role that has made her a true star is that of Arwen, the elf princess in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now 31, Liv remains sincere. For her, The Incredible Hulk is a happy return to her childhood.
"When I was little, my mom and I never missed an episode of the green giant on TV! I'm so thrilled to have been part of this project. I did everything myself. The monster terrified me. This experience really took me back."

In matters of the heart, this child of rock has riffs of electric guitar flowing in her veins. After a stormy relation with Joaquin Phoenix, she married musician Royston Langdon of the group Spacehog in 2003. There was a sumptuous marriage in the Bahamas, followed in time by a little boy. Everything seemed perfect. But it wasn't. Two months ago she announced her divorce in People. It was an unexpected bombshell because the couple had seemed so close. Liv seems to wear her heart on her sleeve:
"I gave my whole soul. So it's very hard to move on. I said to myself 'Maybe you should protect yourself more.' But I can't. I prefer to live 100% and fully experience the sadness and loss of love, rather than not live life to its fullest."


To divorce or not? Maybe a happy ending
But the latest seems to be that reconciliation may be in the air. Her best friend, Gwyneth Platrow has initiated a resumption of contact between husband and wife. And, if one is to believe the latest rumours, Liv wants to return to their life together.
"She is desperately sad and thinks she might have made a huge mistake. She wants to overcome their problems together. She even suggested that they should go on vacation together." The response from her rocker husband? "If Liv wants a reconciliation, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment." Until the next episode.


That never-ending circle
A hedonist who lives life to the max, Liv Tyler does not want to deprive herself in order to fit in with the rest of Hollywood.
"I prefer to be thin, but I'm not going to fight my real nature. When I'm working, I make an effort. But off the clock I happily take advantage of life's little pleasures. The voluptuous girlfriend of the Hulk refuses to submit to the tyranny of dieting. And as the face of Givenchy who has worked hard to loose her baby weight, she confesses: "I've been on a diet my entire life. But I've lost 10 kilos [about 20 pounds] since my son was born, and I feel great. I can't lose anymore. I'll never be a size 34 [US size 0]. I'm ready to be happy with myself."


The original scans in French (click to enralge):