Liv Tyler smiling

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Liv Tyler is living her best life. The daughter of rock ‘n’ roll legend Steven Tyler and model-singer Bebe Buell, she was practically destined for stardom. Dynamically talented and classically beautiful — with her mother’s cobalt blue eyes and her father’s distinctively pouty lips — Liv has evolved from bashful ingenue to esteemed leading lady, starring in such blockbuster films as "Armageddon," "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and "The Incredible Hulk."

Over her nearly 30-year career, as of this writing, she’s been a successful model, a cult-classic bombshell, a writer and producer, and now a sought-after television star. She’s hobnobbed with every celebrity imaginable and has a few well-known friends, including Madonna, Kate Moss, and David Beckham, who is the godfather to her two youngest children, Sailor and Lula.

Yet, the limelight, for her, was never the goal. "I never wanted to be an ‘actor,’ to be the superstar, to be the center of attention," she told the Examiner-Enterprise in 2014. Though she grew up in the public eye, surrounded by entertainers, she is quiet and soft-spoken, shy and observant. Perhaps it’s her enigmatic quality to keep us guessing, her ability to achieve balance between two extremes, that has given her such enduring success. One thing is certain: She is more than simply Steven Tyler’s daughter. Here is Liv Tyler’s stunning transformation.

Liv Tyler was raised by the women in her life

Baby Liv Tyler

Although Liv Tyler is widely known as the daughter of Aerosmith’s frontman, Steven Tyler, she is the product of the women who raised her: her mother, her grandmother, and her aunt. Her mother, Bebe Buell, a ’70s Playboy Playmate and famed groupie, had an eight-month tryst with the rocker that resulted in an unexpected pregnancy (per Hello!). Bebe was a struggling musician in New York City at the time and needed help raising her daughter. So, when Liv was 4 months old, she moved to the quaint countryside of Portland, Maine, to be near "Aunt Annie," as Liv calls her (per Vanity Fair).

While her mother was off touring with her band, Liv would stay with her grandmother in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., accompanying her to board meetings and ritzy garden parties. Where Liv’s mother was the fiery, passionate artist and her aunt the source of stability, her grandmother, a professional etiquette instructor, was the doyenne of sophistication. When Liv was 12, she and her mother moved back to Manhattan, where her modeling career would soon take off (per Interview Magazine). "My mother, grandmother, and my aunt all mothered me," she told Harper’s Bazaar in a 2012 interview. "So sometimes when we’re all together now, they try to be the parent, and I have to say, ‘Back.’"

She was 11 when she found out her father was Steven Tyler

Side profile of young Liv Tyler

Liv Tyler’s mother, Bebe Buell, may have led a peripatetic lifestyle as an up-and-coming musician, but she was still protective of her only child. Steven Tyler’s struggle with drug addiction in the ’70s and ’80s was well-known, and Bebe wanted to shield Liv from her father’s debauchery. So she made a pact with producer-musician Todd Rundgren, another of her suitors, that he would raise Liv as his own.

Liv initially met Steven at one of Todd’s concerts when she was 8. As she put it, she "fell madly in love with him," even though no one had told her who he was (per Wonderland). A few years later, her mother took her to an Aerosmith concert, and — whether it was the pillowy lips or the wild mane of dark hair — she knew. She explained the feeling that came over her in a 2017 interview with The Guardian: "When I reali[z]ed that Steven was my father, it was a moment that was bigger than me," she said. "When you meet kin, there is an energy and sparkle between your bodies … I felt a connection in a very strong way when I met him as a little girl and I didn’t know why at first, but I figured it out rather quickly."

She started modeling at 14

Young Liv Tyler modeling

Liv Tyler began modeling at the young age of 14, appearing in magazines such as Seventeen, YM, and Italian Vogue. She, however, quickly became disenchanted with the industry’s impossible standards of beauty and the insurmountable pressure these expectations placed on young girls, as she said in a 1997 interview with Interview Magazine.

Tyler felt that acting might be a better fit, and, so, at her mother’s urging, she began auditioning and landed a few small parts. Though she was shy, she found that acting boosted her self-esteem and helped with her attention deficit disorder. As she noted to The Guardian in 2001, "Although most of what I did at school left me confused, it turned out I could really focus on acting. I reali[z]ed I could memori[z]e lines, not just mine but everyone else’s." She added, "I finally had some confidence that I was actually good at something."

She went ‘crazy’ at 16 in one of her dad’s music videos

Liv Tyler, Alicia Silverstone in "Crazy" video

Put two devastatingly attractive young girls in Catholic schoolgirl outfits, have them romp around town doing mischievous deeds, and what do you get? One of the most memorable rock ‘n’ roll music videos of all time, that’s what. At 16, Liv Tyler got the opportunity of a lifetime. The director for Aerosmith’s "Crazy" music video spotted Liv in a Pantene commercial and thought she’d be a perfect sidekick for Alicia Silverstone, who had already starred in two other Aerosmith videos: "Cryin’" and "Amazing" (per Rolling Stone). The director later discovered that Liv was Steven Tyler’s daughter.

"Crazy" was one of the most requested music videos of 1994 (per Rolling Stone), and it catapulted Liv’s acting career. Sure, she flaunted her porcelain-doll good looks in the video, but she also showed a fearlessness — cavorting with Silverstone to defy "good-girl" expectations, swinging around a stripper pole in a metallic bra and bellbottoms, and skinny dipping with a farm-boy hunk, only to run away with his clothes.

In 2014, Liv told MTV News that watching the "Crazy" video was difficult for her. "I was in high school when I made [the video]," she recalled, "and I would wake up in the morning for school, put on the MTV countdown. And when the video would come on I’d get so embarrassed, that’s when I would get in the shower."

Liv Tyler got her big movie break in 1996’s Stealing Beauty

Liv Tyler in "Stealing Beauty"

In 1996, Liv Tyler showed her acting chops as the female lead in Bernardo Bertolucci’s "Stealing Beauty," a movie in which she played Lucy Harmon, a young woman who travels to Tuscany, intent on losing her virginity to the boy she kissed on her last vacation there, four years prior. She’s also on a mission to decode a message in her deceased mother’s diary to find her biological father (slightly eerie, considering Tyler’s real-life past).

The film received mixed reviews, but Tyler’s performance was a showstopper among critics. Rolling Stone noted that she gave "a luminous performance," while The New York Times wrote how, in the film, she "acquits herself with grace." Tom Hanks, who cast Tyler in his feature directorial debut, "That Thing You Do!," agreed, telling Vanity Fair, "There is no act going on with her. She is not pulling a sultry power trip with you the way a lot of very beautiful women can — or have learned how to do."

The actress starred in several blockbuster films

Liv Tyler in "Lord of the Rings"

After earning major acting creds in pop-culture classics like "Stealing Beauty," Liv Tyler scored the female lead in the mega-blockbuster film "Armageddon," starring opposite some of Hollywood’s biggest marquee actors: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Billy Bob Thornton, just to name a few. In the film, which depicts a group of ragtag oil drillers who save the Earth from a cataclysmic asteroid strike, Tyler plays Willis’ daughter and Affleck’s love interest.

Released in 1998, "Armageddon" performed well at the box office, enjoying a five-day opening gross of over $50 million (per the Los Angeles Times), but received dismal reviews. The long-reigning film critic Roger Ebert wrote, "The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense and the human desire to be entertained. No matter what they’re charging to get in, it’s worth more to get out."

However, Tyler got the chance to redeem herself in 2001’s "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," which was the first of Peter Jackson’s film trilogy based on the epic fantasy novels by J. R. R. Tolkien. The films were a massive success, netting nearly $3 billion worldwide, according to Fox Business. Tyler played the elf maiden Arwen, a character who had a relatively small role in Tolkien’s novels but who is significantly more memorable in the films.

As a young actress, she threw herself into charity work

Liv Tyler as a UNICEF ambassador

In 2003, Liv Tyler became a UNICEF ambassador, whose job is to advocate for children’s basic human rights, especially those who grow up in disadvantaged circumstances. She was inspired to become an ambassador from her childhood idol, Audrey Hepburn. "I was really blown away and inspired by everything that she had done for children through UNICEF. It really floored me in a way that I hadn’t ever felt toward a public figure before," she said (per Look to the Stars). She has since involved herself with other charities, including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Free Arts NYC, which provides low-income children with access to the arts in New York.

Giving to others seems to come naturally to Tyler. She noted to Oxford Union that she’s been charitable from a young age, attuned to the needs of others and aware of the world around her, particularly that which lies beyond the cosmopolitan life of a Hollywood actress and the daughter of a world-renowned rock star. "There are so many charities out there, and I’m so sensitive," she told Elle in 2013, adding, "I’m probably over-empathetic."

She learned about work-life balance after becoming a mother

Liv Tyler with her baby

A world-famous actress, a timeless beauty, the daughter of a rock icon — Liv Tyler seemed to have it all. But, coming from a large family herself, she wanted to be a mother. In 2004, she welcomed her first son, Milo, with her then-husband, British rocker Royston Langdon (per Wonderland). After Milo’s birth, she spent some time trying to find a balance between work and family. In 2008, she told Independent.ie, "I’m still trying to figure it all out. Modeling and acting are what I’ve done since I was 14, so it’s not like I have another option. But the balance can be hard for me, because for my whole life, my dream was to be a mother."

Tyler and Langdon split in 2008 before divorcing, but she found love again with sports agent Dave Gardner. They welcomed their son, Sailor, in 2015 and a daughter, Lula, in 2016. If finding balance was difficult before, adding two more children to the mix heightened the chaos. But Tyler managed, embracing the learning opportunities and self-growth that came with motherhood. In a beautiful sentiment, she told More magazine in 2020, "Having children, I learned about my own strength" (via People).

She penned a book with her grandmother in 2013

Liv Tyler posing in 2013

Liv Tyler, no doubt, had an unusual upbringing, raised by an eclectic group of caretakers — a model-musician mother, two rock star fathers, and a quiet aunt who lives on a farm in Maine. And then there was her grandmother, Dorothea Johnson, an etiquette expert and the founder of The Protocol School in Washington D.C.

In 2013, Tyler and her grandmother penned "Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top," an etiquette guide for 21st century young professionals. Tyler wrote in the book’s foreword that her grandmother "made a deep and lasting impression on the woman [she is] today, both personally and professionally" (via the Washingtonian). Along with teaching her about etiquette, Tyler also noted in the book’s foreword that her grandmother gave her little gems of wisdom, aphorisms on kindness, such as, "Always take the high road, because the low road is so crowded" (via Golden Girl Finance).

She was ready to give up Hollywood life, until she was cast in The Leftovers

Liv Tyler at "The Leftovers" premiere

After a long stretch of starring in back-to-back films, Liv Tyler disappeared from the spotlight. One reason for her sojourn into hibernation is that, like many of her female colleagues, she felt slighted by the film industry because of her age, explaining in an interview with More magazine (via Time) that she, who was only 38 at the time, was tired of getting "second-class citizen" roles (i.e., the one-dimensional wife or girlfriend). She wanted characters with nuance, complexity, and substance.

She got her chance in 2014 with HBO’s "The Leftovers," a show set in a dystopian world where 2% of the planet’s population mysteriously vanishes. As Tyler explained to The Guardian before the show premiered in the U.K., "I actually prayed to the universe [after the audition] to show me a sign, that if the project happened, it was a sign that I was meant to keep acting."

Tyler landed the part of the mercurial Meg Abbott, which provided the acting challenge she was hoping for. "[Meg] had really big, explosive reactions to things," she explained to Oxford Union in 2018. "I couldn’t think too much about it. I just had to … go for it. And it was really life-changing for me in a lot of ways. Ever since then, I’ve been a little more free."

Liv Tyler launched a clothing line in 2016

Liv Tyler posing with models

Although Liv Tyler didn’t embrace modeling — she was only 14, after all — she never lost her love for fashion. In 2016, she teamed up with the British heritage label Belstaff to create an Amelia Earhart-themed clothing line. Speaking to The Cut, she explained why she chose the aviation pioneer as her inspiration: "Besides wearing Belstaff back then, [Amelia Earhart] was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic by herself and attempt to fly around the world. She was such a strong, powerful, intelligent, yet feminine, woman."

Tyler’s foray into fashion was not purely for aesthetics. She came up with the creative concept behind her clothing line shortly after giving birth to her third child, Lula (per People). As a new mom, she wanted the clothing to be not only glamorous but wearable — for all women. "I am drawn to simple shapes and designs," she told Vogue in 2016. "I like things that are practical and functional but also very luxurious and elegant." She added, "I know what works for me and my body, and I try to stick to that. I feel more confident and proud of my body than I ever have."

She celebrated her 40th birthday in style

Kate Moss, Liv Tyler sitting down

Turning 40 is a milestone for a lot of people — not quite middle age but old enough to feel rooted and self-assured. It is, at the very least, an age worthy of celebration. For inspiration, look no further than Liv Tyler’s Instagram page. On her 40th birthday, she posted snapshots of the festivities, which included a chic, bohemian setup on the countryside, complete with whicker pods, white-linen tents, and plush cushions on the grass.

In one photo, Tyler sits cozied up to supermodel Kate Moss in a field of white flowers, Moss nonchalantly holding a cigarette in one hand while she and her friend gaze intently at the camera. In another post, Tyler, making the most of the occasion, sports large glittery sunglasses featuring a large unicorn and rainbow. The caption reads, in part, "Yeahhhh 40!!!!! I made it !!!! It’s been grand. Thank you universe for all of my blessings and all my lessons learned."

A lesson for the rest of us: Embrace turning 40 like Liv Tyler.

The star decamped to London to live a quiet life with her family

Liv Tyler holding her younger kids

Because Liv Tyler had such a nomadic lifestyle as a child, she wanted consistency and stability for her own family. She and Dave Gardner, the father of her two youngest children, were splitting their time between New York City and Gardner’s home in London. Like Tyler, he, too, has a child from a previous marriage. In 2018, the Gardner-Tyler clan relocated to London, where Tyler said she enjoyed the "adventure of blending families" (per Woman & Home). She added, "As a parent, my fantasy is to cook every meal, read every story, do everything, and also work all day. I can be overly hard on myself, but raising a happy, stable family was always my greatest dream."

According to the Daily Mail, the two moved into a palatial 12,000-square-foot, 10-bedroom London mansion — not only to have more space for their family but also to host A-list friends, like David Beckham, who’s best friends with Gardner. Though the couple are dedicated to their careers, they’re committed to putting family first. "Our jobs are so interesting and different and we like that, but we are also focused on our family because that is what really makes us tick," she told The Sunday Post in 2020.

She became a bona fide television star

Liv Tyler at a Fox event

After Season 3 of "The Leftovers" wrapped, Liv Tyler continued acting on the small screen. That same year, she starred in "Gunpowder," with Kit Harington (you know, the guy who made us swoon as Jon Snow in "Game of Thrones"), and "Harlots," a period drama about waring brothels set in 18th-century London (per IMDb).

Hardly skipping a beat, in 2020, she joined the cast of "9-1-1: Lone Star," a spin-off of the successful television series "9-1-1." While Tyler was off to a strong start in the show’s first season, fans were stunned when the announcement came that she wouldn’t be returning for Season 2. But the actress had a good reason for leaving "9-1-1: Lone Star." She reportedly asked producers if they could write off her character, Michelle Blake, since traveling from London to Los Angeles was too risky during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, one of the show’s co-creators, Tim Minear, gave some positive news regarding her sudden departure: "The door here will always be open for a return," he said in a statement (via Republic World).

What’s next for this Renaissance woman? It’s hard to say. But whatever endeavor she pursues, she won’t let life’s simple pleasures pass her by. "Life excites me," she told The Guardian in 2001, adding, "just little, normal, everyday things … I find it all exciting, you know?"