How Drew Barrymore Is Preparing for Her Daughters to Learn About Her "Wild" Past

Self-proclaimed former "wild child" turned America’s sweetheart Drew Barrymore overcame a lot to get to where she is today. So how does she plan to explain her past to her daughters?

By Corinne Heller Oct 06, 2021 7:04 PMTags

Drew Barrymore overcame a dark past before ascending to the throne of America's sweetheart. 

The 46-year-old former child actress was 7 years old, the same age as her youngest daughter Frankie, when she rose to international fame thanks to a role in Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. At age 13, Barrymore underwent mental health treatment and rehab for alcohol and drug addiction. A year later, she became legally emancipated from her parents, actress Jaid Barrymore and late actor John Barrymore.

"I have become this mother that is ironically very chaste, very pillars-of-appropriateness," Barrymore said on Wednesday, Oct. 6, on The Drew Barrymore Show, speaking to American Pie star and fellow parent Jason Biggs.

She continued, "And I tell my daughters all the time, I'm like, 'The truth is, you're going to find out that I wasn't always like that and you're gonna be überconfused. But what I need you to remember when you see pictures of me or my wild stuff, a lot of times we think of it in the terms of like, art and expression, and you know, I loved fashion and photography and we made movies where we did, you know, either a scene or two..."

20 Fascinating Facts About Drew Barrymore

Before she was known for popular com-coms such as The Wedding Singer and Never Been Kissed, or the Charlie's Angels movies, Barrymore starred in the erotic thriller Poison Ivy, released in 1992. Three years later, she posed nude for Playboy—which earned a disapproving response from Spielberg, and flashed her breasts to David Letterman on The Late Show With David Letterman.

"I literally tell my girls," Barrymore said on her show on Wednesday, "I'm like, 'Here's the deal'—I go with humor—'you are literally going to see so many mixed messages. You are going to be like, 'But Mom, look at what you did! Because that's the other thing—you don't know you're going to be a parent one day when you're figuring it all out. None of us are like, 'Well, you know, one day, this is going to be catalog.'"

Mike Pont/Getty Images

The actress, also a mom to 9-year-old daughter Olive, continued, "This is my favorite chapter of life, is parenting. It's the hardest and it's the most challenging and it's the most exhausting, but it is the most fulfilling, eye-opening,'s rewarding."

In an interview with E!'s Daily Pop in September, the actress reflected on her childhood and how she is raising her children. "I will never lie to my daughters, and I think it will give me ammunition to say, 'This is why I am this way,'" she said. "I have come full circle to say being classy, treating people with kindness, trying to embrace who we really are and grow every single day, those are the life lessons I've really come to value."

Also last month, Barrymore spoke about her troubled background while giving a tour of her past Los Angeles haunts as well as the institution where she was committed, in a video recorded for The Drew Barrymore Show.

"I was a real wild child," the actress said, "and I just got so out of control that no one knew what to do with me."

She continued, "One minute, you're at movie premieres and clubbing and the next minute, you're in a full-blown institution with barbed wire everywhere and you can't get out."

On a 2018 episode of the Netflix talk series Norm Macdonald Has a Show, Barrymore recalled the ways in which being a child star is a "recipe for disaster."

"But you know what's exciting?" she said. "I got my s--t over with at, like, 14. Like, midlife crisis, institutionalized, blacklisted, no family, like, got it done, and then got into the cycle of being my own parent, figuring it out."

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