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"A REALLY LOVING FAMILY IS WHAT MATTERS"
THE WARRIOR PRINCESS TURNED SINGER ON LOVE, RAISING KIDS AND
LIVING IN A FORMER PARTY MANSION
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Starring in the hit TV show Xena. Warrior Princess has provided Lucy Lawless with a wonderful home in the Hollywood Hills. The furnishings in her home, however, do not reflect her wealth. Lucy laughs as she tells OK that she buys knick-knacks from the lower end of the price scale because her two rambunctious sons break so many things when they're playing.
Born in New Zealand 37 years ago, Lucy has three children: a son Judah, three, Julius six, and 17-year-old Daisy (from her first marriage) who is in high school in New Zealand. She married Xena's executive producer, Rob Tapert, her second husband, in Santa Monica in 1998.
Lucy, utterly transformed from her days a scantily dad weapon-wielding superwoman on TV, invited OK! into the gorgeous Spanish-style house with its own place in Hollywood history. "Rock Hudson used to party here,' smiles Lucy. "We love having people over, and we have a constant flow of visitors staying." While husband Rob cooks in the kitchen and the boys paint in the playroom, Lucy tells us about keeping her kids' feet on the ground, her singing career and also looks back on her bruising days as Xena.
Do you feel settled here in LA. after moving from New Zealand?
I have been coming and going for the last ten years but have only lived here the last two years. At first, it was hard here
because I didn't have a support system in place. Just finding basic things, like where to buy a stamp, was difficult It was a learning curve because every single thing was different.
What do your kids think of LA.?
They prefer New Zealand. Over there, you can play in puddles, and we can go to the beach daily They don't have quite the same freedom here. It takes us 45 minutes to get to school every day because the traffic is hideous.
However. I do really love it, and I feel like we have the best of both worlds.
How often do you go bock to New Zealand?
I go back for important occasions. I am also a trustee on the board of The Starship Children's Hospital's Starship Foundation, and I try to attend their fund-raising events to help raise money.
Will your daughter Daisy move here?
She wants to go to film and television school next year in New Zealand. She comes over here at every opportunity to have an exciting time with her mother!
Were you and Rob in New Zealand when you first started your relationship?
Rob lived in L.A. when we first met. He came to New Zealand as our relationship developed. He's from Michigan, which is very similar to New Zealand in culture. In the Midwest, they have that genuine attitude, and New Zealand looks a lot like Michigan so he's very at home there, Rob would love to move, but work keeps him here and my work keeps me here for the moment.
What makes your marriage work?
Everybody I know that is in the industry and has a great relationship doesn't take the Hollywood thing too seriously. They know that it's not brain surgery. Were not cleaning up after hurricanes. We're not doing famine relief. We're entertaining people. At the end of the day. a really loving family life is what matters.
Are you and Rob a romantic couple?
Not at all! Were terrible! We forget Valentine? Day, We are not even that good with birthdays or wedding anniversaries. We're just not concerned about it. Rob is thoughtful and loving in many other ways.
Why do you think so many celebrity marriages fail?
I think it's because celebrity feels like love sometimes. When two celebrities meet, there is so much excitement and buzz around them. They fall in love with the luster and it feels like love. but then three months later, you're looking at. each other and think I don't have anything in common with you.
How was it different for you and Rob?
Rob had sworn off actresses a long time ago because he thought they were flaky. He must have decided I was different!
Was it difficult having a long-distance relationship?
Rob moved to New Zealand and we were back and forth, but we got married in L.A. He was shooting in New Zealand, and I was setting up here alone, which was difficult, but we're together all the time now.
Do you find it hard being a working mom?
Sometimes it's really hard. As a mother, I feel like I need to be with the kids, but they are needing me less and less now as they get their own friends and their little worlds start to develop. I'm not the center of their universe anymore. We try and make sure there is one parent sleeping at home every night.
How do you keep your kids grounded?
Don't let them watch your television show! Julius saw Xena blowing some guy's eyebrow off with a fireball one morning, and I rushed to turn it off.
You're best known as Xena; would you ever go back to a role like that?
I wouldn't go back to the 18-hour days. It was great being the star of the show — you get to be queen bee — but it would make me tremendously unhappy if my kids were unhappy.
After having played Xena, do you get offered a lot of physical roles?
A lot of policewomen!
Do people in the street still ask you about the show?
Some people know the show but often they don't recognize me because I don't look the same these days. I'm about to send the costume to the Smithsonian Institution. I've just got to find the chakram - that disc that she throws. I think I've got a sword somewhere.
You performed many of your own stunts as Xena. Then you broke your pelvis after falling off a horse on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno in 1996. Does that hold you back from doing stunts now?
I was extremely nervous for a while after the accident. It's taken a while to heal because I didn't get the right kind of follow-up care. I'm trying to address it with a lot of yoga, otherwise I seize up. I try and do yoga at least three times a week.
You've done so many stunts, but is it true your nickname used to be Unco, as in "uncoordinated"?
Yes. I didn't have any coordination at school. Xena was the school of hard knocks — literally. I was bruised for two years solid. It was good training. Now if someone throws me a set of keys, I can catch them without ever. looking. It's nice to be able to do these things
Earlier this year, you recorded a dance song called "Come to Me." How did that come about?
The gay community often asks me to perform at events. They were big fans of Xena, so I wanted to record a song to show some gratitude. I asked a friend of mine from the club scene which song he thought would work, and he told me about "Come to Me."
Have you sung live?
I recently sang at Girl Bar at The Factory, a gay club in West Hollywood. I did this crazy stage act with all these go-go dancers. It was one of the wildest rock 'n' roll experiences of my life — especially for someone who sees herself as a housewife from the suburbs!
Would you like to have more kids?
No plans. I think I'm done. I fear that the ones I have wouldn't get the same amount of attention if another one came along. They're already at such different age groups. But this is a great time for us. We are really happy.
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