As a child Liv Tyler’s nightly routine included tucking in her teddy bears and having a conversation with the poster of Steven Tyler, the Aerosmith frontman, that was hanging over her bed.
She didn’t know Tyler was her father, but she still felt deeply bonded with him. When she was about nine, Liv learned some startling news that would rock her world.
As an accomplished actress, Liv Tyler has captivated audiences with her versatility and emotive performances, effortlessly bringing complex characters to life on both the big screen and television.
The New York native, now 45, broke into the scene in the 1990’s with starring roles in films like Stealing Beauty (1996) Empire Records (1995), 1988’s Armageddon–with Aerosmith’s hit song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Alongside with the Clueless star Alicia Silverstone, she also appears in the music video for Aerosmith’s song “Crazy.”
But before earning her own fame, the singer, model and actor spent her childhood piecing together the puzzling paternity of her father, whom she first believed was singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren, of the band Utopia.
Born on July 1, 1977, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Liv Tyler entered the world as Liv Rundgren. Her mother Bebe Buell, Playboy’s Playmate of November 1974’s, was living with Rundgren in their New York City apartment and she was frequently left alone while he toured.
Buell, crediting the wave of non-monogamy through the 1970’s for her multiple affairs, said in an interview, “I think every little girl would like exclusivity, but that wasn’t how it was. If you had a jealous streak, the seventies wasn’t your era. And I figured if he (Rundgren) was going to date, I would date, too. I had lovely boyfriends.”
An archetypical groupie, Buell dated music legends like Elvis Costello, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page, and Aerosmith front Steven Tyler, whom she met while Rundgren was touring.
It was in 1976 when her fling with Tyler left Buell with a lifetime keepsake.
Liv Rundgren was born in July 1977 and though Rundgren knew she was likely Tyler’s child, he said that him and Buell made a pact that he would be Liv’s father, and “if it ever became an issue, we’d tell her at 18.” The decision to keep it a secret was made to not expose an impressionable young Liv to Tyler’s out-of-control addictions.
Rundgren signed her birth certificate, gave her his last name, and raised her like his own.
Liv said of Rundgren, “I’m so grateful to Todd for choosing to be a father figure to me. It’s a big thing for a man to say, ‘I know this kid might not be mine, but I still want to be her father.’ Although he and my mom weren’t together, he was always a very stable, loving force in my life.”
Heavily immersed in the music world, the Jersey Girl star was frequently around her parent’s friends.
At one of Rundgren’s concerts, when she was about eight or nine, she met Tyler, whom she said bought her a Shirley Temple at the bar. She had no idea who he was at the time, but that meeting struck something inside her.
“Strangely enough, when I first met my dad, I didn’t know he was my dad and I fell in love with him. I put his poster on my wall. I would talk to him on the wall. And he would give me stuffed animals, and I would tuck them into bed before I would get in. I loved him so deeply,” Liv said. “My mom has a diary entry or something where I wrote, ‘I think Steven is my father.’”
The bizarre mystery was starting to unfold for the young Liv.
It was at an Aerosmith concert when she saw Mia, Tyler’s daughter with Cyrinda Foxe, born one year after Liv, the star of Ed Astra.
“I saw her standing at the side of the stage at a concert and I was literally like looking at my twin,” Liv said.
The striking resemblance to both Tyler and Mia was one that Liv could not ignore, and Buell and Rundgren had to come clean.
“When I realized that Steven was my father, it was a moment that was bigger than me, it was almost spiritual. When you meet kin, there is an energy and sparkle between your bodies. It must be chemical somehow–DNA and genes. 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,” Liv said in an interview with the Guardian.
“Steven and I look so alike, and we do things in the same way. It was fun getting to know his side of the family. My sister Mia will just move her hand in a certain way and the mannerism is so like mine, it’s crazy.”
Liv, who earlier dated her Inventing the Abbotts co-star Joaquin Phoenix, shares a son, Milo William, with ex-husband Royston Langdon, of the glam-rock band Spacehog. Since 2014, she’s been with David Gardner, and together they have two children, a son Sailor Gene, and daughter Lula Rose.
The Goodwill Ambassador is still very close with both fathers, whom she says “are like unicorns or wizards. They are musicians through and through. The way they think is just different. Their eccentricities have made me more practical and more normal, in a way.”
And when Sailor was born six weeks early, Tyler and Mia were in the room with her. Speaking of Tyler, Liv said, “He walked into the room moments before Sailor was born and cut his umbilical cord. It was wild.”
Liv Tyler today
Although she may not be seen in blockbuster films as frequently as before, Liv Tyler remains actively engaged in the world of acting. Her career has taken a steady path, and she has garnered praise for her notable performances on various television shows.
In recent years, she has also dedicated a significant amount of time to her role as a mother. She has made a personal commitment to prioritize her children over her career, vowing to never place greater importance on her professional pursuits.
“I didn’t see how I could go away for three months to make a film and be the mother I wanted to be,” she says.
Having children has only strengthened and enriched her life. Like most parents, Liv has discovered new aspects of herself and gained valuable self-knowledge since becoming a mother.
“My favorite thing about being a parent is that I learn so much from the push-and-pull dynamic of mother and child,” she told More in 2020. “Having children, I learned about my own strength.”
Liv Tyler was a resident of her beloved New York City for a long time and had a deep connection to the vibrant essence of the West Village. The Manhattan neighborhood was her home for two decades – but in 2019, she sold her house.
According to New York Times, Liv bought a townhouse in London and relocated to the other side of the Atlantic. In recent years, Liv has also made her home in Malibu, California, expanding her horizons
Liv Tyler has often been described as kind, genuine, and approachable, earning the admiration and respect of both her colleagues and fans alike.
And we totally agree!
What would you do if you found out that you have a celebrity parent?