15 June 1998
Contributed by Liz
Xena's secret desire
If Xena star Lucy Lawless has her way, the leather-clad warrior woman may soon be changing nappies
by Tony Brenna
Lucy Lawless may be strong and powerful on TV but at home she's soft and feminine, deeply in love with her new husband and hoping to become pregnant in the very near future.
"My fondest ambition now is to have a child with Rob, something that's part of both of us. That will make everything absolutely perfect," she's been telling Hollywood friends
Rob, of course, is Rob Tapert (43) - executive producer of Lucy's hit series Xena. Warrior Princess, seen in 50 countries and on 2000 US stations, and the handsome American she married in a fairy-tale Los Angeles ceremony in March.
Lucy (30) says achieving her parental ambition is simply a question of timing. Will she go for the baby before the year 2001 when she hints she may drop out of the phenomenally successful Xena role, or will she try and combine motherhood with being a warrior princess before the millennium?
Daughter Daisy (9), by Lucy's first marriage to Garth Lawless, is "keenly anticipating" having a brother and sister, as she's fed up with being an only child. Lucy and Rob have discussed their baby plans with Daisy "because we always make her part of our major decisions".
And because she's married to the boss of her TV show, Lucy's even asked Rob to invite their writers to come up with some sample Xena scripts covering a possible pregnancy.
They'll either write it into the show or select camera angles which will hide her fuller figure, and have stunt women do the action shots.
Another alternative would be for Lucy to shoot the acrobatic action scenes in advance against the day when she's too big to do them herself.
"I think I'd actually prefer the latter solution. Personally, I feel the idea of a plump warrior princess waddling around the place would be slightly absurd, no matter how convincingly it's written into the show," she admits to Hollywood friends.
Lucy isn't daunted by the fact that she and Rob work and live together - a situation that's destroyed numerous other highprofile marriages. They have a pact not to discuss work during precious private hours together and rarely break it.
"My agents and lawyers deal with all the financial matters. They go to Rob and negotiate with him when they think I need more money or better working conditions," she chuckles.
"I like it that way. Talking about business takes all the romance out of things when you work together. I want him to think of me primarily as a wife when he's at home, not as a troublesome actress."
Rob is senior producer for the Xena and Hercules shows and is often called upon to be in America, while Lucy usually stays behind in Auckland. She tries to keep separations from Daisy to a minimum.
While Lucy enjoys America, she wants her daughter to have her "primary education and important early life experiences in New Zealand because it's not only safer for children, but I think it's a more natural life. I don't want my child turning into one of those awful Hollywood brats!"
She and Rob are agreed they'll remain in New Zealand at least until Daisy's a teenager and, hopefully, by then they'll have become parents to their own child. Then the family may move to the US where Lucy hopes to pursue a movie career.
"I can't go on being Xena for the rest of my life, as much as I like the part," she says.
"But while I'm doing this role, I'll give it everything I've got because I'd never want to let my loyal fans down."
She enjoys the warmth and affection Americans have shown her and considers it only fair that when she presents Rob with a baby, it should be largely raised in his native country.
In the meantime, Daisy's content in Auckland where she spends a good deal of time with her dad Garth, who's remained friends with Lucy since their divorce. She often stays with him when Lucy's working or out of the country.
And while there's a great deal of love between father and daughter, Daisy also shares a strong bond with Rob.
"I'm really so very grateful that Daisy gets on well with her stepfather. That can always be a touchy situation with children," Lucy admits to friends.
"But they've hit it off from the first moment I introduced them to each other three years ago."
When he's at home, Rob includes Daisy in many of the activities he and Lucy enjoy. She goes on fishing, hiking and saiIing trips with them and "relishes her visits to America, which she thinks is magic".
Meanwhile. Lucy says the honeymoon with 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 Big Sur beach-front cabin with a wood stove and oil lamps.
"We love just walking down a lonely beach holding hands." she says.
When Rob's out of the country, he calls his bride every day to say "I love you".
And there's always a bunch of red roses on Valentine's Day, accompanied by diamond earrings or a gold bracelet.
"He sends me charming love poems or notes by e-mail, too. He's very romantic and I adore every moment of it." she sighs.
"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!"
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