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Lucy Lawless as Xena | Source: YouTube/@HerculesXena
Lucy Lawless as Xena | Source: YouTube/@HerculesXena

What Happened to 'Xena' Star Lucy Lawless Nearly 25 Years After Series Ended?

Milly Wanjiku Ndirangu
Jul 10, 2024
12:45 P.M.
  • Lucy Lawless became an international sensation as "Xena: Warrior Princess." She remains a fascinating figure nearly 25 years after the series ended.
  • From her iconic role in the 1990s to her career and adventures, the actress has continuously reinvented herself.
  • Discover what she's been up to, her biggest regret, and how she has embraced new challenges and passions.
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Lucy Lawless captivated audiences worldwide with her portrayal of Xena a fierce and heroic warrior, in the hit TV series "Xena: Warrior Princess." The show aired from 1995 to 2001 making Lawless a household name and a cultural icon.

Lucy Lawless in 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless in 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Since the series ended, Lawless has explored various roles and pursued new passions. With her bold spirit and passion for adventure, her life's story is as thrilling as any film. She's had some daring experiences that landed her in the headlines for reasons beyond her acting.

Lucy Lawless as Xena during the final night of filming for the last episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess" on March 30, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless as Xena during the final night of filming for the last episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess" on March 30, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

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Peak of Fame

Lawless gained popularity when she landed the role of Xena in "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" in 1995. Her powerful performance in the three-story arc captivated audiences, leading to the spin-off show, "Xena: Warrior Princess."

Lucy Lawless as Xena in "Xena: Warrior Princess," dated June 16, 2020 | Source: @HerculesXena

Lucy Lawless as Xena in "Xena: Warrior Princess," dated June 16, 2020 | Source: @HerculesXena

The show aired from 1995 to 2001, ran for six successful seasons, and turned Lawless into a cult television star. At the height of her fame, she made several notable public appearances that cemented her status as an iconic figure.

Lucy Lawless poses during a photoshoot on January 12, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless poses during a photoshoot on January 12, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

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In October 1996, during the fifth season of "Xena," she made a memorable entrance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Having suffered injuries earlier in October, she was carried in by two men in costumes.

Lucy Lawless arrives at "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on October 30, 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless arrives at "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on October 30, 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Her charismatic personality and strong screen presence made her a favorite on talk shows and public events. She returned to "The Tonight Show" in 1997 continuing to charm audiences with her wit and humor.

Lucy Lawless and Jay Leno during an episode of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on August 18, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless and Jay Leno during an episode of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on August 18, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

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Lawless was also known for her activism during her peak years. In 1999, she attended a rally for women's rights in Afghanistan at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles. Her involvement in such causes showcased her commitment to using her platform for advocacy, even at the height of her entertainment career.

Lucy Lawless attends a rally for women's rights in Afghanistan at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles on March 29, 1999 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless attends a rally for women's rights in Afghanistan at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles on March 29, 1999 | Source: Getty Images

Despite the intense spotlight, Lawless remained grounded and committed to her craft. Her success on "Xena: Warrior Princess" defined her career and opened doors in the entertainment industry. However, fans wondered what path she would take next as the series ended.

Lucy Lawless attends the 27th Saturn Awards on June 12, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless attends the 27th Saturn Awards on June 12, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

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Life After Xena

After the series, Lawless faced the challenge of moving beyond her iconic role. Initially, she continued to make public appearances and was seen at the American Comedy Awards in 2001. However, her diverse acting roles soon showcased her versatility and helped her carve out a post-Xena career.

Lucy Lawless attends the American Comedy Awards on April 22, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless attends the American Comedy Awards on April 22, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

In 2006, she participated in all nine episodes of the Fox reality TV show "Celebrity Duets." In this series, professional singers teamed up with non-singing celebrities to perform duets.

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Lawless showcased her vocal talents and finished as the runner-up. This venture allowed her fans to see a different side of her.

Lucy Lawless performs at a pre-oscar dinner on March 21, 2003 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless performs at a pre-oscar dinner on March 21, 2003 | Source: Getty Images

One of Lawless's significant roles came between 2012 and 2014 when she joined the cast of the popular TV series "Parks and Recreation." She played Diane Lewis, a love interest for the beloved character Ron Swanson, portrayed by Nick Offerman.

Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, Lucy Lawless as Diane Lewis in "Parks and Recreation" on August 06, 2013 | Source: Getty Images

Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, Lucy Lawless as Diane Lewis in "Parks and Recreation" on August 06, 2013 | Source: Getty Images

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This role differed from her "Xena" persona and allowed her to explore a more down-to-earth character. Lawless expressed her excitement about this role, noting that it felt closer to her real self than any character she had played.

Lucy Lawless as Diane Lewis and Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in "Parks and Recreation" on October 16, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless as Diane Lewis and Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in "Parks and Recreation" on October 16, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

During a 2012 interview, Lawless discussed her feelings about being typecast. She acknowledged that branding as a "tough woman" had its challenges, but also brought opportunities.

Lucy Lawless attends a film premiere in Hollywood, California, on August 28, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless attends a film premiere in Hollywood, California, on August 28, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

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Lawless appreciated the chance to explore different facets of her personality through diverse roles, even those as minor as her character in "Flight of the Conchords." This willingness to embrace varied roles underscored her dedication to her craft and her desire to grow as an artist.

Lucy Lawless as Xena in "Xena: Warrior Princess," dated July 6, 2021 | Source: @HerculesXena

Lucy Lawless as Xena in "Xena: Warrior Princess," dated July 6, 2021 | Source: @HerculesXena

Despite her efforts to diversify her roles, Lawless's connection to Xena remained strong. In a 2016 interview, she reflected on her biggest regret from the series—the decision to kill off Xena in the final episode.

Lucy Lawless as Xena in the last episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess," dated February 8, 2022 | Source: @HerculesXena

Lucy Lawless as Xena in the last episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess," dated February 8, 2022 | Source: @HerculesXena

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She admitted that the ending, though intended to be strong, did not account for the deep emotional attachment fans had to the character. Lawless has since expressed her desire to imagine an alternative ending, inviting fans to "pretend that never happened."

Lucy Lawless seen during a film premiere in Los Angeles, on December 16, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless seen during a film premiere in Los Angeles, on December 16, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Personal Life and Family

Beyond her acting career, Lawless has always placed a high value on her family. She is married to producer Rob Tapert, and together they have built a life in New Zealand.

Lucy Lawless and Rob Tapert attend the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards on April 24, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless and Rob Tapert attend the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards on April 24, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

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The couple has two sons, Julius Robert Bay Tapert and Judah Miro Tapert, born in New Zealand. Lawless also has a daughter, Daisy Lawless, from her first marriage to Garth Lawless. The actress has managed to keep her family life relatively private and grounded.

Lucy Lawless and Rob Tapert attend the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards on April 24, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless and Rob Tapert attend the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards on April 24, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

In 2012, Lawless shared insights into her family dynamics, particularly how her children perceived her career. She mentioned that her daughter, Daisy, could watch "Xena" when she was younger.

Lucy Lawless seen with her daughter Daisy during a film premiere in Los Angeles, on December 16, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless seen with her daughter Daisy during a film premiere in Los Angeles, on December 16, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

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Her sons were too young at the time and showed little interest in their mother's stardom. "You know, I might as well work in a bank, for all they care," she joked, highlighting the egocentric nature of children and their focus on their own lives.

Lawless's approach to motherhood reflects her desire to balance her career with family responsibilities. As her children grew older and began to leave the nest, she faced the typical parental challenge of letting go.

Lucy Lawless and Daisy Lawless attend a concert at The Roxy in West Hollywood, California on January 14, 2007 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless and Daisy Lawless attend a concert at The Roxy in West Hollywood, California on January 14, 2007 | Source: Getty Images

Her sons, Julius and Judah, are now university students in the United States, studying science. Daisy, now in her mid-30s, works in the film industry, following in her mother's footsteps to some extent.

Lucy Lawless and Daisy Lawless attend a screening of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" on January 14, 2010 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless and Daisy Lawless attend a screening of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" on January 14, 2010 | Source: Getty Images

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Lawless has often spoken about the influence of her mother, Julie Ryan, on her own approach to life and parenting. Ryan, a self-starter who continues to pursue creative projects like writing poetry and crafting, serves as a role model for the actress.

This inspiration has encouraged Lawless to embrace new experiences and hobbies, such as line dancing, even in middle age. The transition from active motherhood to a phase where her children have left home has been a significant adjustment for her.

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She admitted it wasn't easy when they first left and felt quite upset. However, her mother's advice to ensure she had her own pursuits paid off. Lawless found that as her children became independent, she regained her "brainpower." She could focus more on her interests and passions.

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Adventurous Spirit and Environmental Activism

Lawless is not just a talented actress and devoted mother. She is also a passionate advocate for environmental causes. Her adventurous spirit has led her to take bold actions to support sustainability, even if it meant risking her own safety and freedom.

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One of the most notable instances of Lawless's activism occurred in February 2012. She participated in a high-profile protest against Arctic oil drilling, organized by Greenpeace.

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Lawless and seven other activists climbed to the top of an oil drilling ship and occupied it for three days. This daring act was intended to draw attention to the dangers of drilling in the fragile Arctic environment. It was also to urge companies to halt their exploration activities.

Lucy Lawless on January 14, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless on January 14, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Reflecting on the experience, Lawless admitted that she thought they would be stopped before boarding the ship. However, as the moments passed and they found themselves on top of the vessel, she felt a mix of shock and determination.

The protest garnered significant media attention, especially because Lawless and her fellow activists were later arrested. In June 2012, they pleaded guilty to charges of trespassing.

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Lucy Lawless on July 11, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless on July 11, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Despite the legal consequences, Lawless remained unrepentant. She viewed the protest as necessary to raise awareness about climate change and environmental protection.

Lucy Lawless on July 11, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless on July 11, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

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Lawless's commitment to the environment extends beyond high-profile protests. She has been involved in various initiatives and campaigns aimed at promoting sustainability and combating climate change.

Lucy Lawless on August 28, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless on August 28, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Her activism has taken her to international forums, like the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil. At these forums, she made her opinions known. She engaged with politicians and non-governmental organizations to advocate for better environmental policies.

Lucy Lawless on December 12, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless on December 12, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

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In addition to her activism, Lawless practices what she preaches in her personal life. She has been working on a rural North Island property. There, she planted hundreds of trees and focused on creating a sustainable living environment.

She has embraced a hands-on approach to sustainability, as her efforts in tree planting involve hours of labor. She spends hours trimming, weeding, and nurturing the young trees.

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Lawless's activism and adventurous spirit have earned her respect and admiration. Her willingness to step out of her comfort zone and take risks for the greater good showcases her as a true warrior off-screen.

She has also remained a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry. The actress consistently takes on roles showcasing her versatility and talent.

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Recent Work and Continued Success

Since 2001, she has ensured that her career continues to thrive. Her career has spanned television, film, and even voice acting, further expanding her repertoire. One of her notable recent roles is that of Alexa Crowe in the TV series "My Life is Murder."

The show, which started in 2019 and continued through 2024, features Lawless as a brassy ex-cop turned private investigator. Her portrayal has been praised for its depth and charisma.

The character allowed Lawless to blend her trademark toughness with a new level of complexity. This earned her accolades from both fans and critics.

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Lawless has also lent her voice to various animated movies, series, and video games. Her ability to adapt to different mediums and genres highlights her lasting appeal as an actress.

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Lawless's career choices reflect her desire to challenge herself and avoid being typecast. She has expressed pride in the roles that allow her to explore her personality and showcase her range.

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Despite her busy professional, Lawless also finds time for joyful personal projects. She has also taken on producing roles, leveraging her experience and industry knowledge to bring new stories to life.

Lucy Lawless is seen leaving NBC Studios on April 11, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

Lucy Lawless is seen leaving NBC Studios on April 11, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

Lawless's commitment to growth and artistic exploration has kept her career vibrant and diverse. Although she has achieved success in many areas of her life, many fans still remember her as Xena. They appreciate the natural changes in her appearance over the years.

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Embracing Change and Public Perception

At 56, Lawless has embraced the natural process of aging with grace and confidence. Fans and observers have praised her for aging naturally and staying true to herself.

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Internet users have often commented on how well Lawless has aged. They've noted that she looks just as beautiful, if not more so than she did during her "Xena" days.

While commenting on her appearance seven years ago, one fan remarked, "Looks even prettier at 48. More natural, relaxed." Others defended her against a headline suggesting she was almost unrecognizable. One fan wrote, "It's called aging naturally. You've probably never heard of it."

Lawless has also changed her iconic dark hair to a lighter shade. This transformation has been met with positive feedback. "She looks very much herself, but with lighter hair and older. Rather lovely, I'd say," one fan commented.

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Her approach to aging is mirrored in her philosophy and actions. Lawless has consistently pushed herself out of her comfort zone. She loves trying new activities and embracing new experiences.

For instance, she recently took up line dancing with friends. She was inspired by her mother's adventurous spirit. "We did square dancing at school when I was about 13 and that was fun, but I've never tried line dancing before," she shared.

For Lawless, middle age has been a time of exploration and growth. She attributes much of her willingness to try new things to her mother. In interviews, Lawless often reflects on how she feels more at ease with herself now than ever.

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"For 55 to have been the best year of my life, that's cool. I'm really surprised and delighted," she said. This positive outlook on aging underscores her philosophy of living life to the fullest and finding joy in every stage.

Life Now: Fulfillment in New Ventures

Lawless has found a sense of fulfillment and joy in her current lifestyle. Balancing her professional projects with personal pursuits brings her happiness. Her life now is a blend of creative endeavors, environmental stewardship, and a return to simpler, more hands-on activities.

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Living in a "tiny" rural house, Lawless enjoys the simplicity and tranquility of her surroundings. Her large German shepherd, Dino, often keeps her company while she works on her property.

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However, her husband, Tapert, isn't as enthusiastic about the small home. Despite this, Lawless cherishes the peace and satisfaction it brings her. She finds joy in the physical labor and the connection to nature. She does this by wielding a chainsaw and getting her hands dirty.

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Lawless continues to pursue her passion for acting. She is currently involved in new television projects and hopes to get another documentary and two drama series off the ground.

Lawless finds time to enjoy life's simple pleasures despite life's demands. She treasures moments of relaxation, such as watching "MasterChef." The actress also loves spending weekends mooching around her Auckland home.

Lawless also remains active in her charitable efforts and supports various causes. She is committed to making a positive difference. This was proof as she was involved in Greenpeace's Save the Arctic campaign. Lawless's activism and advocacy are integral to her identity. They reflect her deep-seated values and concerns for the planet.

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