Drew Barrymore’s appearance in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial captivated audiences at the age of seven. Her traumatic childhood quickly led to substance misuse and a wild reputation, which had a long-term negative impact on her career.
Barrymore co-founded Flower Films in 1995 and has since reclaimed her reputation as a great performer, producer, and businesswoman, appearing in films such as The Wedding Singer, Charlie’s Angels, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Music and Lyrics. Since 2020, she has presented the syndicated chat show The Drew Barrymore Show.
Childhood and ‘E.T.’
Drew Blythe Barrymore was born in Los Angeles on February 22, 1975. Her parents, actors John Drew Barrymore Jr. and Ildiko Jaid Barrymore, are also performers, as are her great-grandparents Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew, and grandparents John Barrymore and Dolores Costello. Drew’s godfather is famous director Steven Spielberg, and her godmothers are actors Sophia Loren and Anna Strasberg, the wife of acting coach and theater director Lee Strasberg.
Jaid, who was split from her husband, began taking Drew to auditions when he was a baby. Before her first birthday, she appeared in a television commercial for Puppy Choice dog food. Drew made her film debut in Ken Russell’s Altered States (1980) at the age of five. She won one of her most renowned parts at the age of seven, playing Gertie, the charming little sister in Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982). The part thrust the young actor into the limelight. After finishing the film, she appeared on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and was the youngest guest on Saturday Night Live.
Playboy Shoot and Troubled Teen Years
Jaid, on the other hand, quickly began taking her daughter to nightclubs, and it was at Studio 54 and the China Club that Barrymore acquired a preteen addiction to drugs and alcohol. When she was 13, Barrymore became upset after being unable to kick her mother out of the house. She was institutionalized and later wrote about her ordeal in her memoirs, Little Girl Lost. Barrymore was 14 when she was emancipated from her mother and moved into her own apartment at the age of 15.
Movie parts were difficult to come by due to her reputation as a troubled wild youngster. Irreconcilable Differences (1984), Firestarter (1984), and Cat’s Eye (1985) were among Barrymore’s minor films. In the 1990s, she began appearing in films that capitalized on her bad-girl image, such as Poison Ivy (1992), Guncrazy (1992), and The Amy Fisher Story (1993), a made-for-TV drama based on the Joey Buttafuoco affair.
Barrymore married bar owner Jeremy Thomas in 1994 when she was 19 years old. The marriage lasted less than three months, and the actor went on to create headlines for further scandalous behavior, including posing naked for spreads in Playboy and Andy Warhol’s Interview, and then exposing herself on live television to a stunned David Letterman during his Late Night show birthday celebration. In reaction to these occurrences, Spielberg jokingly gave her a quilt for her 20th birthday, along with a note advising her to “cover up.”
Reestablishing Her Image and Career
Barrymore’s fortunes began to improve in 1995, when she co-founded Flower Films. That same year, she co-starred in the film Boys on the Side alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker. The next year, she co-starred in Woody Allen’s musical Everybody Says I Love You and made a small but unforgettable cameo in the horror film Scream. She was supposed to play Sidney Prescott in the Wes Craven horror picture, but scheduling constraints prevented her from doing so, so she instead made a brief appearance as one of killer Ghostface’s initial victims.
Barrymore established herself as a romantic leading lady in 1998, co-starring with Adam Sandler in the blockbuster comedy The Wedding Singer and with Anjelica Huston in Ever After, a rendition of the Cinderella story. Both films were box office triumphs, and Barrymore received favorable reviews, with Salon reviewer Charles Taylor saying, “Barrymore has the sort of charm that can make you cockeyed with happiness.”
The charming comedy Never Been Kissed (1999), in which she also played as a journalist posing as a high school student, was the actor’s first credit as an executive producer. The film was another box-office success, and while some critics panned the storyline, Roger Ebert noted that Barrymore “illuminates it with sunniness and creates a lovable character.” “I believe this is referred to as star power.”
Box Office Hits
Barrymore produced and appeared in Charlie’s Angels in 2000, alongside Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Bill Murray. Barrymore wanted to make sure the characters were encouraging to young women and that they didn’t “act like men or try to pretend they were masculine” even when they were fighting their foes physically. The film became a big hit, grossing more than $40 million in its opening weekend and indicating the start of Flower Films’ great financial success.
Following her performance in the drama film Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), Barrymore’s next project for her production company was the dark indie drama Donnie Darko (2001), starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The creators had struggled to find funding for the film until Barrymore got involved, and she also agreed to play a supporting role to help the project.Donnie Darko quickly became a cult favorite and was nominated for over a dozen independent film awards. In the critically praised film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, directed by George Clooney and starring Sam Rockwell, Barrymore played Chuck Barris’ love interest. The performance helped to establish Barrymore as a legitimate film actress.
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle was Barrymore’s return to the successful Charlie’s Angels franchise in 2003. This time, she enlisted the help of actors Demi Moore and Bernie Mac, and the sequel was another box-office success. The comedy Duplex, in which Barrymore co-starred with Ben Stiller, was released by Flower Films the same year. Barrymore reteamed with Adam Sandler in 50 First Dates (2004), a romantic comedy produced by Flower Films. In 2004, the actor was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Later Movies and TV Projects
Flower Films — and Barrymore — were busy over the next three years, producing and performing in Fever Pitch (2005) with Jimmy Fallon, Music and Lyrics (2007), and He’s Just Not That Into You (2009). In addition, she appeared in films such as Lucky You (2007), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008), and Grey Gardens (2009), in which she co-starred alongside Jessica Lange.
In 2009, Barrymore made her directorial debut with Whip It, a roller-derby film in which she also appeared as a supporting actor opposite Elliot Page and Marcia Gay Harden. She created the music video for the Best Coast song “Our Deal,” which featured Chlo Grace Moretz, Miranda Cosgrove, and Shailene Woodley, among others, in 2011.
Barrymore went on to star in films such as Going the Distance (2011), Big Miracle (2012), Blended (2014), and Miss You Already (2015). She made her television debut as an executive producer and co-star in Netflix’s comic horror series Santa Clarita Diet, starring Timothy Olyphant. Barrymore played a real estate agent and ordinary suburban mother who becomes a zombie and develops a desire for human flesh. Beginning in 2017, the show aired for three seasons. Barrymore joined RuPaul and Faith Hill as judges on the reality talent show The World’s Best in 2019.
‘The Drew Barrymore Show’
Barrymore’s syndicated talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show, which is now in its fourth season on CBS, premiered in September 2020.The show includes human interest stories, lifestyle segments, and interviews with celebrity guests.Vulture wrote that The Drew Barrymore Show “launched into a void during the pandemic [and] has become a therapy-infused, feel-good viral sensation.”
The series garnered criticism in September 2023 when Barrymore stated it will return to the air during the Writers Guild of America strike, which the WGA deemed a violation of strike guidelines. On the first two days of taping, protesters and striking writers picketed outside CBS Studios in Manhattan. Barrymore defended her decision to resume production of the show after earlier receiving accolades for standing aside as host of the MTV Movie & TV Awards in solidarity with the writers’ strike. “I own this choice,” she wrote on Instagram, adding, “Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience.”
Ex-Husbands and Children
Since her brief marriage to Jeremy Thomas ended in 1995, Barrymore has had a run of personal affairs. She married quirky Canadian comic Tom Green of MTV’s The Tom Green Show in 2000. The couple eloped in March 2001 after several false wedding rumors (some manufactured by Green himself), but filed for divorce six months later. She dated Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti and actor Justin Long after her romance with Green ended.
In June 2012, Barrymore married Will Kopelman. In September 2012, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter called Olive Barrymore Kopelman. Barrymore has discussed her enthusiasm for family life in an interview with Haute Living.
“I can’t wait until I have my children,” she said. “I just want to build fun, great things for my family.” The couple’s second daughter, Frankie Barrymore Kopelman, was born in April 2014. Barrymore and Kopelman decided to part ways in 2016, though they remained on good terms as they devoted themselves to co-parenting their daughters.
Aside from performing, Barrymore has a successful modeling career, having been the face of CoverGirl Cosmetics and Gucci Jewelry in 2007. She was included on the cover of People magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People” issue the same year. Barrymore was also named a World Food Program ambassador against hunger in 2007.