In a new interview, actor and talk show host Drew Barrymore is opening up about growing up in Hollywood with famous parents, motherhood, and divorce. She credits her dysfunctional upbringing for ensuring she became the best mom she could be.
In The Mail on Sunday’s "You Magazine," Barrymore says that divorcing her ex-husband, Will Koppelman, and the father of her two daughters, was incredibly difficult.
"Divorce was my worst fear," she says. "It was something I never wanted to put my own children through. I felt broken. Truly, honestly broken"
She was likely terrified of divorce given how she grew up—her parents, John and Jaid, divorced when she was just nine years old. Her dad was an absentee parent and an alcoholic, and her mom, she says, wasn't "prepared for motherhood."
After catapulting to fame as a child star after starring in E.T., Barrymore spiraled into drugs and alcohol at just 13 years old. By 14, she was staying in a psychiatric institution after her mom put her there. After a year and a half, she legally emancipated herself from her parents.
She says the stay at the facility was "the best thing" that could have happened to her. "It taught me boundaries. Until that point, I had none."
Now that she's mother to her daughter Olive, 9, and Frankie, 7, she says the chaos of her childhood is what motivated her to be a good mother and role model for her own children.
"I didn’t have parents, I was the parent to them. It was all totally upside-down," she says. "So I didn’t know what I was doing. When people would talk to me about parenting I felt like an outcast. It took years for me to pluck up the courage to say, 'Can you speak to me as someone who is desperately trying to learn? Can you teach me?'"
While many adults didn't grow up in the Hollywood spotlight like Barrymore, many of us did grow up in dysfunctional families. Personally, I know that the way I was parented is more than enough motivation for me to do, well, the exact opposite of what my own mother did most of the time.
Hearing moms like Drew Barrymore talk about being a cycle-breaker on her own journey of motherhood is not onlt relatable for many, but it's validating as well.
"I’ve got love and humour but we’re all learning on the job. I don’t want to be my kids’ friend – I am their parent," she explains. "I hope my experience growing up in an industry toxically riddled with vanity can help me be better with my kids."