The Kiwi star of Xena: Warrior Princess has lamented the show's controversial ending and says she now tells fans: "Let's pretend that didn't happen".

* Spoilers for Xena: Warrior Princess follow ...

Lucy Lawless played the horse-riding hero of the epic cult fantasy for six seasons between 1995 and 2001 in a role that made her famous, but Xena's death in the show's last episode riled fans.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly that marks Xena's 15th anniversary, Lawless admits the show's ending is a "huge regret".


"We didn't realise really what it meant to people. We thought, 'Oh, that's a really strong ending.' Now I just say to fans, 'Let's pretend that never happened'."

Lawless has had a long and varied television career since Xena finished, starring in shows like Battlestar Galactica, Parks and Recreation and more recently in Ash vs Evil Dead.

But the 48-year-old admits she struggled to make it through the show's demanding final season.

"I thought it (ended at) the right time. I was struggling through that last year because it was relentless. It was nine months a year. I was out of gas by the end. It kicked my ass."

One of the worst scenes she filmed was when Xena was being crucified "in the completely brutal dead of winter in New Zealand".

"It is hands-down my least favorite way to die. I've been crucified several times and it's never good. It's always really windy and really miserable and you're up hanging from a cross for hours," she said.

Lawless also talked about the Xena reboot being developed by NBC and her husband, Rob Tapart.

"I hope they do right by the fans, do right by the character and the legacy of the show, but the writer has to be free to do it in his own voice, so he can't be held back by too many things," she said.

"She can't be a woman who's relying on some dude to get her out of a fix, obviously, and that's so passé anyway."