Parenting isn’t an easy job no matter who you are. Every parent shares the common questions of how much to share with their children as they grow up. Do you talk about the crazy misadventures you got into when they are in their teenage years or wait until they are adults? Which parts are okay to talk about and which should you keep to yourself?
Despite her worldwide fame, Drew Barrymore deals with the same questions. Now that she’s the mother of two young daughters it’s her turn to decide what to lay out on the table and when.
Barrymore, now 46, has a long history of struggles with substance and alcohol abuse. Growing up in the spotlight tends to have that kind of effect on people. Barrymore made her acting debut at age 3 and got her big break shortly after with her role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at age 7. That pivotal role cemented her spot in stardom from early on.
She started using substances when she was young after her mom took her to the Studio 54 club in New York. It didn’t take long before she was drinking 5 days a week and living a “party girl” lifestyle. She added marijuana and cocaine into her mix of substances by the time she was 12 years old.
At 13, her mom sent her to a psychiatric ward in an attempt to stem her growing addiction problems. As Barrymore described it on The Howard Stern Show, “I think she created a monster, and she didn’t know what to do with the monster. This was her last gasp, and I was really out of control.”
Barrymore’s trip to the psychiatric ward immediately landed her on the Hollywood blacklist. Film bosses were no longer interested in working with her once they found out. Since she’d spent her entire life in front of a camera, though, she wasn’t sure which direction to go.
The ex-communication from Hollywood sent her careening into a downward spiral. Within a year, at the age of 14, she tried to take her own life. This resulted in a trip to an addiction rehab program, where she finally decided she wanted to start her life over, 15 years old and bright-eyed once again.
Barrymore also sought legal separation from her mother and received a court ruling in her favor soon after. She got her own apartment, started a job waitressing, and launched back into pursuing her acting career. And as you now know, she broke back into the Hollywood bubble and has since built an incredibly successful resumé.
She now describes cutting her mother out as the most painful experience of her life. She had far from an easy family life when she was younger, but she’s since grown. “I have so much more empathy now, being 46 and the mother of two girls,” said Barrymore. “I raise my girls so much more traditionally, quietly, and very protectively. It’s such an antithesis to my upbringing.”
Now that she has children of her own, the question of how much to let them in on is pertinent. Her position differs from that of most other parents, though, because of her very public history. It only takes a quick internet search to determine the extent of Barrymore’s troublesome past during her younger years.
Barrymore stresses the importance of being honest and upfront about her journey. She has no plans to hide her past and plans to share the truth with her children instead. “I will never lie to my daughters, and I think it will give me ammunition to say, ‘This is why I am this way.’ 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 life lessons I’ve really come to value.”
Her approach is likely the best way to handle having two young daughters and keep them from the same path she was on. Barrymore does her best to protect them from the stress of the spotlight while teaching them the values they’ll need as they grow up.