Lucy Lawless Print Archive - 1998 Magazines
17 August 1998
Xena: clucky princess
'I'll put my kids before my career'
With a new husband and plans for more children, could this be the end for the Warrior Princess?
Could it really be that Xena is read to trade in her sword for a stroller? In her first exclusive interview since her fairytale marriage early this year, Lucy Lawless, the star of the hit TV show, has revealed plans to do just that.
"I have always wanted three children," announces Lucy, 30, who wed 43-year-old Xena and Hercules producer Robert Tapert in March. "I don't know why three, but it sounds like a great number to me."
Already mother to 10-year-old Daisy from her first marriage to Garth Lawless, the Kiwi actress has always made her daughter top priority. Now, despite a flood of lucrative offers from Hollywood, Lucy plans to be pregnant again by the time her Xena contract expires in the year 2000.
"It's always painful to turn down offers," she says, "but I couldn't accept anything that involves being parted from my daughter for any stretch of time.
"When I'm on my death-bed, I'll know the best thing I ever did was raise my kids. So, for family and health reasons, I am not prepared to sacrifice everything for a job. You can't put a price on time spend with your children. It's irreplaceable."
Lucy admits that she though long and hard before deciding to have children with her new husband. "I've had a few squeamish moment - I was only 19 when I was pregnant for the first time and I didn't really know what I was doing! But I think next time round I'll be a lot more relaxed.
"Daisy originally wasn't keen on the prospect of my having another child. In fact, she hated the idea for a long time, but she's decided she's fed up with being an only child," she adds.
Having been rapidly propelled to international fame following the incredible success of Xena - currently airing in 50 countries - Lucy reveals it was only after she was nearly crippled by a fall two years ago that she found time to consider what was most important to her in life.
"I have always had a kind of New Age philosophy that good things come out of bad packages. Everything happens for a reason. In my case, suddenly I had time to think. I discovered a lot about myself as I lay in that hospital bed," says Lucy, who fractured her pelvis in four places.
"What's more, I was able to spend time with my daughter, who was dealing with the aftermath of divorce. Mummy hadn't always been able to be there for her."
It's not been easy for Lucy to find time for her child in her schedule, which often demands 15 hour days, six days a week, but she knows where her priorities lie.
"Work is the second most important thing to me and I don't want to exhaust myself. I want to be a very happy lady when I reach old age and that's not going to happen if I work myself to death now."
So will things be different with her next two children? "With Daisy, I really didn't have a clue what I was getting into. We raised her in an idealistic and naive way for the first few years.
"We wanted her to have a say in everything, which I think - in retrospect - was confusing. Children need to have boundaries and it's confusing to them when they are given too many options.
"Setting boundaries and rules frees them up to be just kids rather than being forced to make choices. Of course, they've got to know they do have a right to certain things. They have a right to the privacy of their own bodies and they have a right to make up their own minds and not have to agree with anyone else's opinion.
"What I realise today is that a child needs to be given the freedom to be a child. It's not right to force a child to take responsibility or make decisions at such young age. It weighs heavily on their shoulders,"
Lucy became a single parent after her seven-year marriage ended in 1995, but while there's a great deal of love between father and daughter, Daisy has also managed to forge a strong bond with her new American stepfather.
"I'm really very grateful Daisy gets on well with Rob," Lucy reveals. "That can always be a touchy situation with children. But they hit it off from the first moment I introduced them to each other three years ago.
"Rob is a wonderful stepfather. If it's taking any toll on him it doesn't seem to show. We're all very happy."
When he's at home, Rob includes Daisy in many of the activities he and Lucy enjoy. She goes on fishing hiking and sailing trips with them and "relishes her visits to America, which she thinks are magic.
"Raising children is difficult whatever the situation. You never know that what you're doing is right," says Lucy who believes Daisy is very much like her. "We share a lot of similarities. I see myself in her a lot. She's very headstrong and independent. She's not particularly ambitious, but then I wasn't at her age, either. Right now her ambition is to become an animator and work with animals, too. She has no desire to become an actress, which I'm pleased about."
Lucy says the honeymoon with the handsome, high-powered Rob has never stopped. When they've needed quality time away from the crowd, there have been romantic trips to northern California, where they've rented a beach cabin.
"We love just walking down a lonely beach holding hands." she says. "When he does have to leave us, he sends me charming love poems or notes by e-mail. He's very romantic and I adore every moment of it.
"I don't know or care what Xena would make of a guy like him. All I can say is I like being plain Mrs Rob Tapert when the cameras stop rolling!"
AUSXIP - Lucy Lawless Files | AUSXIP - Xena Information Page | AUSXIP - Renee O'Connor Files