How Drew Barrymore completely turned her life around

Drew Barrymore has been a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry since she was a child. Indeed, according to Biography, the actor “became a star at age 7 with the release of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and while that may seem like it was a really young age at which to be the center of such attention, keep in mind that Drew had already been working for six years.” In fact, she was just a month shy of her first birthday when “she landed her first job in a dog food commercial,” and from there, she was on her way to a long and successful Hollywood career. But the road to get there was a bumpy one.

The young star experienced both the highs and lows of what the industry — and her parents — exposed her to while she was still an impressionable child (more on all of that later). However, despite what she went through — which was often wild enough to be the plot of one of her movies — she preserved and managed to both survive and thrive.

These days, Barrymore’s life is very different than it was when she was a child star. That’s why it’s safe to say that despite going through turbulent times while growing up in the spotlight, having questionable influences at times, and being up against odds that were seemingly against her in many precarious situations that were well beyond her years, this is one star who still managed to completely turn her life around.

Drew Barrymore had an unconventional childhood

Drew Barrymore has had, er, interesting relationships with her parents. Her dad, John Barrymore — part of the family’s “acting dynasty” — was what Today calls “an unconventional and at times complicated father,” while The Guardian deemed him a “violent alcoholic.” In a June 2020 Instagram post, Drew herself said, “He was a mad poet hedonist man child! But I understood that as a kid.” While she claims she has “zero baggage or dad issues,” she admits she “would have liked to have a dad who didn’t look so out there. Or who stayed. Or was capable of anything really.” Still, she says, “His wildness runs through me. His gifts are here. His demons to overcome are mine to break!”

As for Drew’s mom, Jaid Barrymore was just as unconventional. For instance, Drew explained in her memoir, Wildflower (via The Guardian), that Jaid took her “to Studio 54 (so wrong, but so fun) instead of school.” Drew admits, “I was out of control due to working since I was 11 months old … which made me grow up too fast.”

Drew took control of her own life when she was just 14 and became legally emancipated from her parents. “[I] wanted to start my life over, I wanted to do things on my own terms,” she explained in Wildflower. “On the day of my hearing, my mother was there in full support of my emancipation, which would mean me living on my own. I felt so sad, but too much had happened.”

Drugs are now a 'nightmare' for Drew Barrymore

Substance abuse issues are sadly something that some child stars face far younger than should be possible. One of those young stars was once Drew Barrymore. The Guardian notes that by 11 years old, Drew had developed a drinking problem, and by 12, she was “a drug addict.” Apparently, “from the age of eight, she called herself a ‘party girl,’ going out with her mother [Jaid Barrymore] and her mother’s friends up to five times a week.” Then, when Drew was nine years old and her parents divorced, Jaid began taking her to clubs like the infamous Studio 54, which is where Drew “was introduced to drugs and encouraged to dance with famous young men.”

Surely unsurprisingly, young Drew “soon couldn’t cope” with the wild lifestyle and drug use, and by the time she was just 12 years old, “she had already been in rehab and was supporting Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No campaign.” However, the next year, she relapsed, which lead to a year and a half in the hospital for treatment related to both “alcohol and drug addiction.”

These days, Drew has left hard drug use behind. While appearing on Netflix’s Norm Macdonald Has a Show (via People) in 2018, she was asked if she misses cocaine, and said, “No. Oh, God. It’s been a very long time, but no.” She added, “Nothing would make me have a panic attack and seem like a bigger nightmare.”

Leading a healthy lifestyle is important to Drew Barrymore

Along with keeping hard drugs out of her life, Drew Barrymore is also more focused on her overall health these days. In an August 2020 interview, she told InStyle, “I eat really clean and healthy, and I do an hour of Pilates at least four days a week.”

On top of that, anyone who follows Barrymore on Instagram knows that she also uses the social media platform to share her workouts and talk about her body — specifically her weight. “I go up and I go down. The rollercoaster of my body is a challenging, but beautiful ride,” she wrote in a February 2020 post that included two images of herself at different stages with her body. For Wellness Week, the star talked up Taryn Toomey’s physical conditioning class (aptly titled The Class) which Barrymore was watching on her phone. Referring to the ease of accessing the virtual fitness guidance, the star told her fans and followers, “So, working out, there’s no excuse in this day and age not to do it.”

Granted, that doesn’t mean that Barrymore thinks that it’s easy. According to one Instagram post (via Good Housekeeping), the star admitted, “This takes me so much work. Diet and exercise and fighting like a lion for it!”

Drew Barrymore has astar-studded social circle

Drew Barrymore stopped hanging out with the kind of crowd that she went out with when she was younger and, instead, she’s surrounded herself with supportive friends. And while we’re sure she has plenty of pals from all walks of life, she also has famous BFFs like Adam Sandler and Cameron Diaz.

In Wildflower (via Good Housekeeping), Barrymore wrote about meeting Sandler who she’s worked with on movies like 1998’s The Wedding Singer, 2004’s 50 First Dates, and 2014’s Blended. It turns out that the onscreen duo may have never come to be if it hadn’t been for her insistence. “It was definitely not obvious we were supposed to fit as well as I believed because we looked like a preppy and a punk set up on a bad blind date,” she explained. However, she didn’t let that get in their way. “I told him that, for whatever reason, I knew that we were supposed to become a team.” As for Sandler, he told Barrymore at the National Board of Review Awards in 2020 (via Today), “I’m glad we met, and I’m glad we did it all, and we always make our movies together.”

When it comes to Barrymore and Diaz, they met as teens when the former served the latter in a coffee shop. But Cheat Sheet notes that “it wasn’t until Barrymore asked Diaz to join her in the Charlie’s Angels film reboot in 2000 — which she produced — when their casual friendship turned into an unbreakable bond that would carry on for the next two decades.”

Drew Barrymore keeps things amicable

Drew Barrymore’s romantic life took a serious turn when she was just a teenager. The star “was first engaged at 16 to Leland Howard, a fellow old-Hollywood family scion,” and while that didn’t lead to a happily-ever-after, the next year she was “briefly engaged” to Beverly Hills, 90210 actor and “How Do You Talk to an Angel” singer Jamie Walters, according to E!. When she was 19, she tied the knot with British bar owner Jeremy Thomas, who was 31, according to RadarOnline. After less than two months, she filed for divorce. This wasn’t the end of her relationship rollercoaster.

In July 2001, Barrymore married funnyman Tom Green but by December, he filed for divorce. She then spent five years with drummer Fabrizio Moretti from The Strokes before they broke up, and was with Live Free or Die Hard actor Justin Long “off and on for two years.”

By 2011, Barrymore had started dating Will Kopelman and they married and had two children together. While that marriage didn’t last either, these days she’s apparently determined to establish healthy relationships with her exes. Not only are Barrymore and Kopelman “co-parenting goals,” but she also reunited with Green on The Drew Barrymore Show in September 2020 after 15 years to chat about “how Charlie’s Angels kicked off their relationship, their first dates, and their mutual respect for each other.” Each relationship seems to prove that Barrymore is aiming to turn her former romantic attachments into current amicable relationships.

Being a mom taught Drew Barrymore 'meaning of [her] life'

Part of leaving Drew Barrymore’s wild-child days behind includes being a dedicated mom to her two daughters, Olive and Frankie. The star told Parents in 2020, “I’m glad I’m a mom, that I’m 45, that I have my priorities straight and my s*** together a little bit more than I have in other times of my life.” She also discussed how her kids changed her perspective and purpose, saying, “I did not know the meaning of my life until I met them.”

Beyond that, Barrymore talked about her role as a mom, saying, “I try as hard as I can not to project.” What does that mean? She explained, “This is their journey, and I’m there to support them and guide them and give them boundaries and supply humor and heart but to stay out of my ego and to make it about them.”

Barrymore also talked to People about co-parenting and being a family with her ex, saying, “These are the realities, they were not the dreams and goals, this was very difficult.” As complicated as their dynamic may be, she is grateful for “the goodness that’s there” and that the family members “all function and have honesty and all of these hopes and wishes and dreams.” She went on to say that “although they don’t fit exactly where we would have planned, those wishes and dreams are still there. Ripe for the taking, and life is good and you are safe.”

Drew Barrymore took control of her career

Drew Barrymore has been in show business since she was a child, but these days, she’s taken control of her career. Not only does she choose the kind of roles that she wants — which have included real-life figure Little Edie in the TV movie Grey Gardens, suburban zombie Sheila Hammond on her show Santa Clarita Diet, and the voice of pampered pup Chloe in Beverly Hills Chihuahua — but according to Elle, she and her business partner Nancy Juvonen also started their own production company, Flower Films, Inc. in 1995.

Frankly, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen one of the movies that Barrymore’s company was responsible for. That’s because Flower Films was behind popular movies like Whip It!, Fever Pitch, Fifty First Dates, Never Been Kissed, both Charlie’s Angels flicks that Barrymore appeared in, and Donnie Darko.

When Barrymore and Juvonen moved the company to Warner Bros Pictures in 2005, they released a joint statement, according to Screen Daily, saying, “we believe they will be our true partners in making the kinds of movies we love.” In turn, Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov said, “Drew represents a rare and wonderful combination, in that she’s a gifted actress and a smart and effective producer.” Robinov continued by noting that both Barrymore and Juvonen “have developed and produced some tremendously successful films,” which is why Warner Bros Pictures was sure that “they’ll continue to grow and flourish.”

Branching out has worked for Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore has also taken a step forward in her career by branching out. When it comes to her Flower Beauty, the brand’s “passion is creating cosmetics and tools that not only make life easier and more fun, but look and feel amazing,” according to their website. The AP reported that the brand offers “fragrances, rang[ing] from $5 for lip gloss to about $14 for foundation” and promotes “self-empowerment and inner beauty, with messages like, ‘Happiness is the best makeup.'”

The star herself talked about doing business while speaking at an industry forum in 2016, according to The Star, saying, “The name of the game is about how you financially succeed fast enough so somebody doesn’t dump you, and grow slowly and thoughtfully so that you are just not a flash in the pan.” That doesn’t seem to be an issue for Barrymore, as Flower Beauty started out in 1,600 Walmart stores before that grew to 2,500 stores. On top of that, “Walmart says that the Flower eyewear is in all its stores that have vision centres, which number close to 3,000,” and “Barrymore said it is the No. 1 brand of eyewear at the discounter.” And that’s not to mention her clothing line, simply called Barrymore, which embraces the star’s “Bohemian chic style.”

Barrymore’s successful retail ventures meant that she eventually entered into “talks with retailers overseas to sell the cosmetics in such places as China, South America, Australia, and the United Kingdom,” while at the same time “launching her own e-commerce business.”

Drew Barrymore continues to do more

Drew Barrymore is the kind of celebrity who now uses her position to help others. The star has been working with the World Food Programme since 2005, and as she announced on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2008 (via People), “donat[ed] $1 million to … help feed children in Africa.” She told Oprah Winfrey, “I have seen with my own eyes what a difference a simple cup of nutritious porridge can make in a child’s life. It helps them learn, stay healthy, and sets them on track for a bright future.”

That kind of impact is perhaps why, in 2007, she also became an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme. UN News noted that she was “charged with the task of using her celebrity as a film star to advocate for school feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest countries.”

In 2020, Barrymore partnered with food company McCormick “to donate $1 million to No Kid Hungry in an effort to ensure children have reliable access to food amid the novel coronavirus pandemic,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Beyond that, she was the famous host behind “a virtual taco night called #TacosTogether.” She told THR, “There are so many problems to address in the world that I think you have to pick something that really speaks to you. I definitely think there is no way as an individual I can solve anything, let alone everything.” She added, “When there are so many issues to tackle, I keep going back to kids and food.”

Financial security is a big piece of Drew Barrymore's life

Part of turning Drew Barrymore’s life around has included the star becoming (and staying) financially stable. On top of that, she’s someone who’s able to take care of her family when it comes to money matters — and that doesn’t merely mean providing for herself and her children. In her 2016 memoir Wildflower, Drew revealed that she was still supporting her mother, Jaid Barrymore, and according to the Daily Mail, the dedicated daughter was “making sure her parent … lives as comfortably as possible.”

According to Vulture, Drew explained, “I must know that she is taken care of or I simply cannot function.” Although she arguably doesn’t owe her mother anything when it comes to financial support, the actor doesn’t see it in that light. “I want only to say thank you to her, because I love my life and it takes every step to get to where you are, and if you are happy, then God bless the hard times it took you to get there,” she explained. “No life is without them, so what are yours, and what did you do with the lessons?”

Frankly, Drew can afford to take care of herself, her kids, and her mom due to the fact that, according to Celebrity Net Worth, the star is thought to have $125 million. Along with providing her with whatever her heart could desire, that amount should also help her keep her life on the right track for a long time to come.

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