Is there life after The Lord of the Rings?
Author: Gabrielle Lohman
Publication: Woman Magazine
Date: 1 Mar '04

Fame certainly hasn't gone to Viggo Mortensen's head. He doesn't have an entourage of assistants and publicists hanging on his every soft-spoken word and he walks around in bare feet most of the time, regardless of where he is. As a child, Viggo and his family moved between countries including Denmark, Argentina and Venezuela. And as an adult, he's retained his nomadic spirit. He may live in California but Viggo, 45, admits he's not particularly attached to the place - or anywhere for that matter. "I make my home wherever I am but if I have a preference it's to be by the sea," he says.

But he is exceedingly attached to his son Henry, 15, who he had with his former wife of 10 years, singer/composer Exene Cervenka. "Henry comes everywhere with me when he can. It was great that he spent a lot of time with me in New Zealand when I was making Lord of the Rings. It was a special experience. I miss him a lot when I'm away from him."

Viggo and Exene divorced in 1997 and Viggo has recently split up with girlfriend Lola Schnabel, 23. "I don't know if I'll get married again," he says. "I know people who have stayed together for a long time, but it doesn't always work out like that. Life isn't that simple. That doesn't mean you stop trying or you stop being open. I think there may have been that one special person in my life who I didn't end up with, not because she wasn't right but because life wasn't meant to work out that way for us. Relationships are tricky. You can look for love but you can't force it. You can't make people feel the way you want them to feel. If I've learnt anything, it's that."

Like Aragorn, his character in Lord of the Rings, Viggo's an accomplished horseman so was happy to be back in the saddle for his latest film, Hidalgo. His character travels to Saudi Arabia to compete with his horse in a dangerous race for a massive prize. But away from his acting work, which has seen him in films such as Crimson Tide, A Perfect Murder and Carlito's Way, he's an avid poet, painter and photographer who regularly exhibits his work. "I love all forms of creativity. Acting's just one of them and I don't like to restrict myself," he explains. It would seem there are other parts of himself he doesn't like to restrict. "Oh," he laughs, looking down at his naked feet. "I go barefoot because it's comfortable. It also feels good for my back. Since I've been doing this, I've had no back problems. But I know people think it's strange - especially women. I'm shocked about women's obsession with shoes. I just don't get it."

Despite being recognised wherever he goes, Viggo tries to live life as quietly as possible. "It's not just since Lord of the Rings," he admits. "I've never been someone who went to parties and big events apart from the premieres I'm promoting. I don't feel it's necessary to force that kind of thing."







































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