NZ New Idea

March 20, 1999

Contributed by: Liz/Sojourner

Lucy turns her back on Hollywood

Lucy's life crisis

Lucy Lawless has rejected a glamorous Hollywood lifestyle in favour of her family. But there's still something missing from her life....

NZ's very own down-to-earth princess, Lucy Lawless, is one of Hollywood's hottest stars. But, after some recent soul-searching, she has turned her back on the trappings of money and fame.

"If I'm not making a deadlineor don't have the right shoes to wear for a TV appearance, these things are not important. If I have to miss a cool party after the Emmy awards because I want to pick up my husband to go to something else later, then that's what's important. It's being with your family."

Lucy's disdain of the celebrity scene comes after a recent life crisis - despite her happy new marriage and great career, Lucy felt something was missing in her life.

"I don't know if t's because I got married or I turned 30 at the same time, but I'm actually at a kind of cross-roads in my life," says Lucy, the star of Xena: Warrior Princess. "I aimed for this, but now I find myself here, and fame doesn't fill you up. I can have clothes, I have the man of my dreams and a happy, healthy daughter and the job of my dreams. So why am I not happy?"

Lucy has sought the help of motivational gurus Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra to get her out of this slump, but she's still waiting for something to fill the gap in her life. Despite finding fame and earning herself fans around the world, Lucy thinks that Xena: Warrior Princess is less successful in NZ than anywhere else in the world.

"It's funny," says Lucy, "because the show is really big in Australia. I think that families in small countries have difficulty in accepting that their own progeny can produce something that is genuinely good. But, though they don't watch the show, I think people are proud of it and proud of me," Lucy says. "New Zealander's are extremely warm when they meet me first-hand. At my daughter's school opening, I had a conga-line of nine-year-olds strpaped around my waist and their parents taking pictures. Typically, I get a huge friendly reaction from the people around me, but they don't watch the show. But that's OK - we're number one in Turkey!"

On the other hand, the strong-minded actress doesn't feel guilty about her success anymore. She was lucky to get the part, but hard work and talent took her over the top.

"I don't look to change the world," she says, evenly. "I know it sounds harsh, but at some level you have to say there are less people in NZ than in the San Fernando Valley in LA - I'm not going to bust a gut over it. I don't need to be any more famous."

Born and raised in Mt Albert, Lucy has her parents, six siblings and lots of friends from childhood to keep her head on straight.

"Strangers treat me oddly for the first minutes of meeting me, but everything is the same with old friends. A couple of mates go back to kindergarten. One of my best girlfriends is married to a chap on the show."

Hollywood stars are famous for throwing hissy fits if the trailer is too small or the tea is too tepid, a situation Lucy studiously avoids.

"There's no time to fool around on the set as the show and casts get larger and larger - we now have three camera units working," she explains.

Lucy tries to maintain a happy family relationship on the set "by not complaining, not being a pain and not making their lives miserable. Otherwise they could just move on - New Zealanders are not apt to put up with too much nonsense. Unlike the States where people will work 18 hours a day, New Zealanders won't. We have voluntary overtime and it's a real question of lifestyle," she says. "Why make more money if you have less time to spend it? So I think we have a better success rate in marriage. Nobody's away for 16 or 18 hours a day."

She doesn't always go home to her husband, however, as he is frequently back in Los Angeles as one of Xena's executive producers. Rob tapert, 43, also works on H:TLJ and Young Hercules.

The couple were married at a Catholic church in Santa Monica on March 28 last year, the day before Lucy's 30th birthday. Lucy, ho has a 10-year-old daughter, Daisy, from her first marriage, says of Rob: " We have a truly great relationship and a great firendship because we're both from the same Irish-Catholic culture. It shocked me to find that I went to meet his family in Michigan, his Irish-Catholic family mirrior mine. That's significant in our life partnership and we're very, very happy. We're totally supportive of each other, and whatever stresses come with our jobs. We get peace of mind as partners."

Lucy also hopes to have another child and is already planning her health regime for pregnancy. "I have decided to change my life in some ways and have gotten really good about exercise again," she says. "I've been a bit slack in the last couple of years, but I finally realised that in the next 10 years whatever is hanging about my body when I'm 40 is never, ever going away. So I have to do something now."