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Xena's Really A Scaredy-Cat
Plagued by bizarre phobias, TV's Warrior Princess fears dying young


18 November 1997

Scanned / Transcribed by MaryD


ACTION actress Lucy Lawless boldly fights off enemies on her hit TV show, Xena: Warrior Princess. But in real life, she's full of secret fears!

"Ever since I was a little girl, I've had a crushing feeling I would die young," says the 29-year-old New Zealand native. "I also have phobias about flying and singing in public."

Now, Lawless is facing her fears head-on in a desperate effort to cure them, and she's doing it with the kind of courage that would do Xena proud. "I guess because I always believed I would die an early death, I've always grabbed life with great gusto," says the sexy star.

"I figured if I didn't go for it, I'd fear of flying stems from her fear of run out of time." dying young. Says a source close to the for- "When she first landed the role of mer Mrs. New Zealand: "Lucy's Xena and found out she'd have to fly
between New Zealand, where the show is shot, and the United States, she freaked out.

"But she didn't have any choice. So, every time she hops a plane for the 12-hour flight, she arms herself with a portable CD player and a stack of magazines to take her mind off what she's doing.

"It's a control thing with her. If she feels she's in control, she's fine, but if it isn't in her hands, she's petrified." Losing control of a galloping horse did put her life in jeopardy last year. While filming a stunt for Jay is fearless, actress Leno's Tonight Lucy Lawless admits Show, the horse she was riding slipped and fell on top of her, crushing her pelvis.

But she's back in the saddle again, and she's resumed her torturous daily workouts in the gym. "Lucy is convinced that if she doesn't keep herself strong and healthy, a horrible fate awaits her," says the source. "She has great discipline and drive about her eating and exercise habits she's in control.

"Flying makes her feel helpless. But her fear is dwindling with every plane trip." Lawless is also conquering her fear of singing in public by appearing this fall in the Broadway production of the musical. Grease.

"The first few days of rehearsal, she acted like a terrified rabbit," says a theater insider. "But she's very strong-willed, and she was determined to give the role everything she's got. She practiced long and hard, and as soon as she realized she could. Lucy has chosen to face her fears head-on and hold her own against the other pros in the show, she gained confidence.

"That's all she needed. Singing in public still doesn't thrill her, but she steps onstage bravely every night, and it's getting better."

For moral support, Lawless relies on the new man in her life, Xena producer Robert Tapert. "He's the finest man I've ever met," gushes the brawny beauty.

Lawless divorced her husband, Garth, when she fell for Tapert on the set. She and Garth had been together since they were teenagers. They have an 8-year-old daughter, Daisy, who lives with her dad while-Lawless tackles her phobias halfway across the world.