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It wasn't the end of the world, but it felt like it. Liv Tyler could barely contain her anger when it was suggested she was having an affair with her Armageddon co-star Bruce Willis.

Tyler plays his daughter in the pounds 140million end-of-the-world epic about an asteroid that threatens to destroy earth.

Both stayed at the fabulous Hotel du Cap during the Cannes film festival and when Willis's marriage to Demi Moore hit the rocks gossips pointed the finger of suspicion at her.

For Tyler, 21, it was a low point in her short career. Sitting down in a deserted chrome cafe in Manhattan, she struggles to find words for the way her friend and mentor has been treated. Finally she finds it "disgusting".

She says: "Bruce is fed up with all the lies that have been printed about him. It kind of destroys your spirit to hear a lot of stories which cause a lot of pain to the people involved.

"Bruce and I are great friends and we have a lot of fun together. Bruce has been a good friend to me, and those rumours spoil things.

"Why doesn't anyone talk about how much fun he likes to have on the set, how he's always trying to give the other actors a lot of business advice? I suppose that's boring stuff, but it's better than printing lies about people just because they're actors and somehow that makes it okay."

As the daughter of former model and singer Bebe Buell and Aerosmith's Steve Tyler, Liv has grown accustomed the pressure of living with fame ever since she was a little girl and Mick Jagger would come by the family house and play Scrabble with her.

"Mick was great," recalls Tyler. "He would always tell me these wonderful stories and talk about all the interesting people he's met over the years.

"A few years ago, I told him he should write a book about all those years. It would be an incredible story."

Liv is well aware of the fact that men find her attractive, even though she isn't impressed with her own looks at all.

"I've been hanging around with film and music people since I was 13, and I know all the moves that guys try out on women," smiles Liv.

"Most guys, especially young ones, are constantly hunting for girls just so they can get off. You're just a number for them. I've been lucky to have been able to stay away from guys like that."

Acting has taken over Liv's life during the last year. That's one of the reasons that the romance between her and actor Joaquin Phoenix - brother of the late River Phoenix - cooled off and led to speculation of a permanent break-up.

THEY spent several months without seeing each other, although they kept in touch by telephone and fax as best they could. Liv saystheir relationship remains intact, however.

With her eyes growing wide, she says: "The biggest problem was that we didn't have much time to see each other because I was working so much. I didn't even have time to take care of my apartment.

"But we're still in love and we're looking to spend more time together this summer. I love acting, but I can understand why a lot of actors lead such screwed-up personal lives.

"You simply disappear from all your friends and loved ones for months and months on end - it can be difficult to pick up the pieces when you come back.

"That's the biggest downside of going on location somewhere in Europe.

"Your crew becomes your family and then all of a sudden they're gone and you go on another picture and you get to hang out with a new family. It kind of plays with your mind."

Joaquin's influence on Liv has been quite profound, and he has learned that the key to Liv's affections is to be honest and natural with her.

"Joaquin is such a gentleman and a real romantic," says Liv. "He sends me flowers all the time and teddy bears and nice little love gestures.

"We have such a beautiful time together. When I've been working on location, I've fallen asleep many times just listening to his voice."

Of those Bruce Willis romance rumours, mum Bebe says: "It is not only cruel to Liv, but to Bruce as well. But I'm here to tell you he never laid a hand on her in an inappropriate way.

"He respected the fact that she was committed to Joaquim, and I really don't think he is interested in seducing children anyway.

"Listen, Liv's father was at the premiere in Florida, and if he had even thought there was anything going on, he'd have kicked Bruce's ass!"

As has been extensively reported on during the last few years, Liv grew up believing that she was the daughter of Todd Rundgren, the rock star her mother lived with during Liv's childhood years.

But when Liv met another daughter by Tyler at a rock concert and observed their similar features, she put two and two together - and ever since then she and Steve Tyler have worked hard at creating a lasting friendship.

"It's such a beautiful thing to be able to share the kind of friendship with your real father," says Liv.

"Steve and I didn't go through all the authority rubbish that comes between a father and a daughter, and now we relate to each other as real friends.

"We can hang out together for days and days and never argue about anything. We go shopping for clothes, we see movies - it's the kind of relationship every daughter would like to have with her dad."

LIV'S father went through a terrible period of drug addiction in his Aerosmith heyday, but has been clean and straight the last six years.

And that has enabled not only to enjoy quality time with Liv, but also embark on a career renaissance with Aerosmith.

She says: "I'm so proud of my dad. If you knew how much he suffered because of drugs you'd understand how much he hates drugs and feels that he wasted a big part of his life because of that.

"He feels like he got a second chance to be happy again and I'm glad to be able to share his joy.

"Both he and my mother have tried to teach me to enjoy my life and not get dragged down by drugs or by people who don't really care about you. That's pretty good advice and I've tried to live by that."

Anyone who saw Liv's performance in Heavy, the low-budget James Mangold film, or in Stealing Beauty, the Bertolucci ode to finding love in Tuscany, is immediately struck by her invasive beauty.

Her full lips and dreamy eyes create a dangerous kind of presence, even though she's so natural and up-front about her feelings.

There's never a sense with Liv Tyler that she's trying to manipulate her attitudes for the sake of an interview.

She hasn't had time to become jaded and confesses relief at having avoided the modelling career that opened up to her when she was 14.

"I'm glad that I made my way into acting," says Liv. "I never felt comfortable with modelling and it was always a pain for me to rush after school and go to some photo shoot and have people fuss over me.

"I'm also too restless to stand around, do some dumb poses for the camera, and turn off my brain. I hated modelling."

Tyler had grown up in a small New England town before she went to live with her mother in New York at age 11.

Because of her mother's proximity to the rock-and-roll world, having friends like Mick Jagger play Scrabble with you made her feel at ease in the celebrity- stricken culture of Manhattan and the club scene she would get to know in her teens.

It would have been easy for her to fall into the kind of artificial Andy Warhol culture that brings the rich and famous together in New York, but Liv never felt awed by fame. She says: "I think growing up in that kind of world makes you aware that rock stars and actors are just very normal people.

"I was aware that modelling was putting me in touch with that kind of scene but I didn't find it interesting enough to stay with it. I wanted to be an actress - that's what was motivating me."

Tyler admits that she was an indifferent student and was constantly dealing with teachers who were having trouble with her inability to shut her mouth during class.

She was the ultimate chatterbox who couldn't keep her mind from wandering.

Liv's slender, 5ft llin frame and pouty features made it easy for her to find work as a model after her mother's friend, model Paulina Porizkova, took some pictures of her and sent them to various New York modelling agencies.

Tyler was a hit, and began getting regular assignments - mostly for Seventeen and similar magazines - as a way of helping her earn some extra money. But Liv was too centred and grounded in the real world to put up with the silliness of the New York fashion scene.

"I wasn't the type of girl who was dreaming all her life about making it in that kind of world," says Tyler.

"I grew up with rock stars in my living room and that was normal for me. So modelling was a way of earning money, nothing more.

"I didn't feel like this hot young thing. I was very tall growing up and it always made me feel awkward about myself.

"I was embarrassed by my height and I felt very self- conscious about standing out in a crowd, which is exactly the opposite of what a model is trained to do.

"I also hated the side of modelling which turns you into a product, this thing that kind of says `I'm so cool.' I hate that image."

As she prepared for her career to go into overdrive, Liv Tyler's great advantage is having a keen sense of direction in life.

Or, to put it more accurately, a strong understanding of not letting any one thing prevent her from exploring life to its fullest.

Even her attitude towards appearing nude in films is evidence of a young woman in command of her life.

For Onegin, a period drama, Tyler had a conflict with the director, Martha Fiennes - Ralph's older sister - over a nude sex scene. Liv is even embarrassed to talk about it.

She sighs: "Yeah, the scene was in the original script. But when it came time to film it, I backed away from because I didn't think it was necessary at all to the film.

"I'm not very comfortable about being naked in the movies and winding up on some sick website. If I can avoid screen nudity as long as possible, I'll feel a lot better about things."

Liv adds: "I know at one point I'll probably do a nude love scene - and that doesn't bother me - but I'll try to postpone that time until a really incredible role needs me to do that."

TYLER says she's still trying to live down her famous appearance in the Aerosmith video for Crazy that featured her frolicking with Alicia Silverstone.

The immensely popular video established Liv as an MTV sex star.

But after Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty raised her sexual presence to even more pulsating levels, Tyler has deliberately shied away from films that emphasize her sensual side at the expense of character.

She says: "I'm looking for interesting work that gives me a chance to grow as an actress because I don't yet know what my limits are.

"I think I can be good, but I'm always worried about whether I'll be good enough to get to the next level.

"I don't want to play sexy parts where I just strut around looking hot and trying to be provocative. I'm still dealing with the fallout from the Crazy video.

" I can't understand why anyone would find the scenes between me and Alicia such a big turn-on. I guess it's a male thing."

Liv shakes her head in response to the suggestion that she seems to be very much in charge of her life.

She confesses to still changing her mind about a lot of things in life, and is still anxious to learn everything she can about the kind of performances that raise a film above the ordinary.

"I have a good imagination, and acting channels that for me," says Tyler.

"I want to gain enough confidence before I'll accept a role where the entire story is centered around my character.

"I need to work with as many good actors as I can, so I can learn by watching them.

"I've seen great actors like Jeremy Irons up close and it's incredible to be with someone like that, seeing how their mind works, how they create those beautiful moments.

"I'm not there yet, but I think I will be."
COPYRIGHT 1998 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Janssen, Jan
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 23, 1998
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