What the Hell Happened to Liv Tyler?
In the mid-nineties, Liv Tyler was a rising star. Se had become a critical darling in a string of independent movies and commercial success by starring in a major summer blockbuster. By 1998, it seemed like Hollywood was hers for the taking. Since then, Tyler has worked consistently and in some fairly high profile movies. However, he starring roles are relatively rare. The A-list career that seemed to be hers for the taking never materialized.
So, what the hell happened?
Tyler’s parents were Aerosmith frontman, Steven Tyler, and infamous rock groupie, Bebe Buell. But Tyler didn’t know that until she was eleven years old. Odds are you know all about Tyler’s famous father. But you may not know much about her mother. Buell began modeling at the age of 17. She was Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the Month for the November 1974 issue. During this time, Buell dated a number of famous rock stars. Director Cameron Crowe has named Buell as one of the real-life inspirations for Kate Hudson’s character in the movie, Almost Famous.
From 1972-1979, Buell had an on-again-off-again relationship with rock star Todd Rundgren. During an off-spell in 1976, she started a brief fling with Steven Tyler. After they split, Buell realized that she was pregnant with Tyler’s baby. But since she was back together with Rundgren, she claimed the baby was his. Rundgren figured the baby needed a father, so he played along. When she was born, Tyler’s name was Liv Rundgren.
Buell and Rundgren split up not long after Tyler was born. But Rundgren continued to support Tyler as though she was his own. Her biological father was going through a nasty drug addiction at the time. Rundgren paid for Tyler’s education in private school and visited her regularly even after the split. Meanwhile, Buell left the world of modeling to try to start her own singing career. In 1981, she recorded a four-song record with The Cars as her back-up group. The supergroup, The Power Station, came together in an effort to back her up in 1984 when she was dating John Taylor of Duran Duran fame.
At the age of 8, Tyler met her biological father for the first time. Steven Tyler showed up at one of Todd Rundgren’s concerts. Buell introduced them, but did not explain their relationship. According to Liv, “I didn’t know what it was, but I started to see him more, and it would mean so much to me that I would write about it in my diary.” In 1988, at the age of eleven, Tyler met her half sister, Mia Tyler, at an Aerosmith concert. She recognized the shared family resemblance and asked her mother about it. Buell confirmed the truth that Steven Tyler was in fact her biological father. Tyler was initially confused by the truth. But she developed a close relationship with Steven while maintaining her relationship with Rundgren:
I have more empathy for my parents now. As a child I didn’t understand why that would happen – how that could happen. Everybody had a different interpretation of the situation and how they participated. And you know what – I’m OK with that. All that matters is whatever kind of relationship I can have with them now.
I don’t think my dad was in any position to be a father. Steven, that is. ‘What an amazing thing Todd did for me…luckily, it just made me feel more loved. It meant that I had two dads instead of one.
In 1991, at the age of 14, Tyler changed her name from Rudgren to Tyler after her biological father. She kept Rudgren as a middle name. This coincided with the beginning of Tyler’s modeling career. Supermodel Paulina Porizkova took pictures of Tyler which were published in Interview Magazine. If that seems random to you, remember that Porizkova married Cars frontman Ric Ocasek and that Tyler’s mom was close enough with the band that they played back-up for her during her recording career.
The following year, Tyler graced the cover of Seventeen magazine. She was actually 15 at the time. Tyler said that being thrust into the spotlight was second nature to her: “It happened sort of naturally, since I’ve been around this all my life,”
Tyler’s modeling career lead to TV commercials. But she quickly tired of modeling and decided to pursue acting. In 1994, she made a splash starring opposite Alicia Silverstone in the video for the Aerosmith song, Crazy:
Crazy was the third of a trilogy of music videos featuring Silverstone. In this one, Silverstone and Tyler are… um… I’m not sure. Are they actually supposed to be teenage, lesbian con artists? We see them shop lift and enter into an amateur striptease. Yes, this is an Aerosmith video in which the lead singer’s daughter works a stripper pole while imitating some of her dad’s signature stage moves. Maybe Creepy would have been a better title. But the song and the video were a hit.
Tyler was supposedly cast in the video based on her appearance in a Pantene commercial. The casting agents claim they had no knowledge of Tyler’s relationship to the band. According to Buell, the original script for the video was even racier:
Steven and I vetoed the first script. Omigod, it had some racy stuff in there. It had a kiss between Liv and Alicia. Steven and I just looked at each other and went: ‘Uh-huh, sure. When hell freezes over!’
Posted on November 6, 2014, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged Aerosmith, armageddon, empire records, entertainment, incredible hulk, jersey girl, liv tyler, lord of the rings, movies, stealing beauty, steven tyler, the strangers, TV. Bookmark the permalink. 53 Comments.