April 20, 1998
Reporters: Alex Tresnoiwski
Craig Tomashoff (in LA)
(many thanks to Kim for scanning this article)
Xenas lovestruck Lucy Lawless makes it legal.
Had it been Xena, Warrior Prineess, who married on March 28 and not Lucy Lawless - the stunner from New Zealand who plays the butt-kicker Amazonian on TV - things would have been different. Instead of walking down the aisle, for instance, Xena would have done back flips. She might have let out a deafening war cry rather than just a discreet "I do." And surely she would have run her trusty sword through a caterer or two had they overheated the hors doeuvres.
One other thing: Xena wouldnt have gone all weepy. Yet there was Lawless, 30, sniffling away as she exchanged vows in a Catholic ceremony with Rob Tapert, 43, an executive producer on her hit series. "There were moments that she had her handkerchief handy," says Renee OConnor, who plays Xenas gal pal Gabrielle. "Looking at her dress, I dont know where she kept it." Having traded her leather mini for a slinky, hand-beaded, silk-satin ivory gown by Xena costume designer Ngila Dickson, Lawless lit up the Saint Monica Church in Santa Monica. "Lucy looked so radiant," says OConnor. "She was beaming."
And why not? The 1.78m (5ft 10in) beauty from Auckland, whos now in her third year as the gladiator-stomping goddess, surrendered her heart with abandon. "This has been the greatest year of my life," she told WHO WEEKLY after the ceremony (and before slipping away to an undisclosed honeymoon hideaway). "Rob is the finest man Ive ever known." Divorced from first husband Garth Lawless since 1995 (they have a daughter, Daisy, 9), Lawless met the never-wed Tapert when she was hired for a spot on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in 1995. Impressed, he and the shows other producers spun her off into her own series; two years later she and Tapert were an item. "Ive waited 43 years for this day," he told WHO. "And 43 years for this woman."
Their latest co-production was a formal yet funky affair for 340, including most of the Xena cast. "We see each other slogging around in the mud all the time," OConnor says, laughing. "Nobody believed we could clean up as well as we did." The reception at the ritzy Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills had a seafaring theme (Tapert is a fishing aficionado) that included a cake topped with figurines of a mermaid and Poseidon. There was also a surprise Elvis impersonator and obligatory hoofing to a 15-piece band. Taking no chances, Lawless had brought dance instructors to the set a few weeks earlier. "Wed break for lunch," says OConnor, "then practise our rumba and cha-cha." Even so, "being out there on the dance floor was like going on a bumpercar course."
The smoothest move took place right after the newlyweds finished their first dance, to "Beyond the Sea". As guests tapped spoons on their glasses, Tapert "reached over, dipped Lucy and gave her this big kiss", says a friend. "The entire room cheered." Xena, Warrior Princess, would have flipped the guy over her shoulder. But Lawless, brimming with joy, merely swooned.