Lucy Lawless gets naked for 'Spartacus'!Lucy Lawless, MNZM (born Lucille Frances Ryan; 29 March 1968) is a New Zealand actress and singer. She is best known for playing the title character of the internationally successful television series Xena: Warrior Princess which ran from 1995 to 2001. She is also known for the role of D'anna Biers (Number Three) on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. Most recently she appeared on the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, playing main character Lucretia.
Born in the Mount Albert suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, Lucy is the daughter of Julie, a teacher, and Frank Ryan, who was a banker and Mount Albert mayor. The fifth of seven children, she has five brothers and one sister.
Lawless began acting in secondary school. During her adolescence, Lucy suffered bulimia, but was able to overcome the illness in college, the Auckland University. There she studied foreign languages for a year, including German, Italian, and French, and she also studied opera for three years. But soon after, after learning that opera required changes in her lifestyle she was not ready to make, she gave up on both and moved herself to a course of violin and jazz.
At 19, Lawless became pregnant with Garth Lawless' child. The couple married in Kalgoorlie, Australia in 1988. They returned to New Zealand and had a daughter, Daisy Lawless (born 15 July 1988). The couple divorced in 1995. On 28 March 1998, Lawless married Robert Tapert. They have two sons, Julius Robert Bay Tapert (born 16 October 1999) and Judah Miro Tapert (born 7 May 2002).In 1994, Lawless appeared in "Hercules and the Amazon Women," a Pacific Renaissance Pictures made-for-television film that became the television pilot for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In that episode, she played a man-hating Amazon named Lysia. She went on to play another character, Lyla, in the first season episode "As Darkness Falls." But her key role was given to her when she was asked to play a villainous warrior woman named Xena in the episode "The Warrior Princess," which aired in March 1995. (R. J. Stewart, one of Pacific Renaissance Pictures' in-house writers, had dramatised the teleplay from a story that Robert G. "Rob" Tapert had commissioned John Schulian to write.) Vanessa Angel had originally been cast in the role, but fell ill and was unable to travel to New Zealand for shooting. To differentiate between Xena and the similar Lysia, Lawless' hair, naturally ash blond, was coloured black. Xena subsequently returned in two more episodes of the first season of Hercules, which portrayed her turn from villainess to good character.
The character was popular enough that a spin-off series was created for her. Xena: Warrior Princess debuted on 4 September 1995 (although Lawless appeared as Lyla once again, in the second season Hercules episode "Outcast" – aired in October 1995). Xena: Warrior Princess, like its parent program, was a hit, lasting six seasons, and Lawless became an international celebrity.
Whilst she was taping an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in October 1996, Lawless suffered a fractured pelvis when the horse she was riding lost its footing in the studio parking lot. She made a complete recovery, and her absence from the Xena set ultimately had minimal impact on the show.
In 1997, Lawless was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People Weekly Magazine. Days earlier, on 6 May 1997, Lawless had inadvertently exposed a breast as she concluded a performance of the US national anthem at an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, California between the Mighty Ducks and Detroit Red Wings. Lawless was quoted in Newsweek as saying, "Obviously, I was mortified....It was quite a bit more exposure than I want."
Lawless first appeared on Broadway in September 1997 in the Grease revival, as the "bad girl" character, Betty Rizzo. She had wanted to play the lead role of Sandy, and later stated her belief that the producers had typecast her to play "bad girls" following her success as Xena. She said the Sandy character was very similar to her sheltered childhood, growing up in New Zealand with many protective older brothers.
Lawless married Xena's executive producer, Pacific Renaissance Pictures CEO Robert G. "Rob" Tapert, on 28 March 1998. They have two sons: Julius Robert Bay Tapert (born 16 October 1999) and Judah Miro Tapert (born 7 May 2002), who were both born in Auckland, New Zealand.
Lawless became a 'lesbian icon' because of Xena's ambiguous relationship with traveling companion Gabrielle. This reputation has become cemented after her "graphic lesbian sex scenes" in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Although Lawless is heterosexual, she has appeared at gay pride events such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. In a 2003 interview with Lesbian News magazine, she said that she had come to see Xena and Gabrielle's relationship as gay after viewing the series finale, though she has also stated on several occasions that she was undecided on the nature of the relationship while playing the role.