Lucy Lawless, born Lucille Frances Ryan, was born and raised in Mount Albert, New Zealand.
Lawless is the descendent of an Irish criminal, sent to New Zealand to serve out a criminal sentence. Apparently, her ancestor kept the faith because Lawless was raised a Catholic. She said:
I have five brothers and one sister. We’re this big, sprawling Irish Catholic family. I don’t live that far from any of them.
Throughout her acting career, the morality and guilt inherent in the Catholic religion would rise up and strike her. For example, she expressed feeling strange about acting out a “horror/lesbian vampire” scene during the filming of her show Xena: Warrior Princess. She said:
That was a weird one. I grew up Catholic and so we thought we had the edge over vampires because there was always a crucifix handy.
However, something interesting popped up during the research of Lawless’ article. She said in response to a question about reviving her singing career by participating on the TV show, Celebrity Duets:
It lit a fire under my belly. I’d kind of lost my religion, acting and everything. So when the possibility of singing with Smokey Robinson [on Celebrity Duets] came up, I just leaped at it.
Lost her religion? There’s a story there. Unfortunately, she didn’t elaborate during the interview, but I think it’s safe to say she’s a lapsed Catholic.
Going the political distance
Lawless is majorly political. Just look at her Twitter feed. It’s an endless stream of factoids, calls to arms and appeals to politicians. She’s a political activist, putting herself in danger and on the front lines against corporatocracy and planetary disintegration.
In 2012, Lawless and a group of activists boarded an oil exploration ship as it was docked in a New Zealand port out of protest, spent over three days on the vessel, and was ultimately arrested and charged with burglary. She ended up pleading guilty to criminal trespassing.
She wrote a political manifesto of sorts, outlining her political views. They are quite liberal. She said that she chose not to become a U.S. citizen because she didn’t like the Bush administration, that Obama “inherited… a monstrous snowball of problems,” and discussed her family’s green lifestyle including their beehives and compost piles, and said:
I remember a gasoline company that posted a $6 billion profit in the wake of the first Iraq War. I thought, What are you going to do with that, buy a new planet? There’s no planet B.
Her liberal views also extend to gay marriage. She vocally opposed California’s Prop 8 when it was a raging debate in 2008. Plus, she made some waves in the gay community when she announced after Xena ended that she thought her character was a lesbian.
The political issues that are important to Lawless are clearly central in her life. This princess is quite the warrior.