From child star at seven to re­hab at 11 to di­vorc­ing three hus­bands, Drew Barrymore has been through the mill – but has emerged a fear­less busi­ness­woman and de­voted mum. Caro­line Leaper meets a megas­tar in fight­ing form.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

how the for­mer Hol­ly­wood wild child fi­nally hit her stride

Pic­ture, if you can, the ac­tor Drew Barrymore shuf­fling around dur­ing a sharp Man­hat­tan win­ter, wear­ing a boho frock and fleece-lined Crocs. De­spite mov­ing to New York four years ago, every­thing about her wardrobe is still won­der­fully kooky and Cal­i­for­nian, to the point where it might even be deemed in­ap­pro­pri­ate for the cli­mate of her new home town.

“I wear Crocs all the time, stick­ing out from a cute lit­tle vin­tage dress,” she laughs, adding that she loves fash­ion’s most di­vi­sive shoes so much that she has de­signed a new col­lec­tion for the brand, putting a flow­ery spin on its sliders and clas­sic clogs. “Peo­ple think that they’re a com­fort shoe, but I’m ob­sessed. I’ve been try­ing to get hold of the Christo­pher Kane ones for ages.”

Drew has al­ways marched to her own beat when it comes to style, from taffeta and un­brushed curls on the red car­pet for her break­through role in ET, aged seven, to her rebel-teen look in the 1990s and hippy chic dur­ing the noughties. These days, look­ing glam­orous is high on her agenda – just not all the time.

“I dab­ble in it,” she says. “I know what’s hap­pen­ing in fash­ion and have a stylist to get me dressed for red car­pets, but I tend not to be a pur­chaser of high-end stuff be­cause I just can’t bring my­self to pay the prices. I do love [on­line shop­ping out­let] The Out­net though – some­times you can find de­signer pieces for, like, 80 per cent off and you think, ‘Okay, now I can jus­tify this.’”

Hon­esty has al­ways been one of Drew’s most cel­e­brated qual­i­ties (name an­other big-league ac­tor who’d ad­mit to chas­ing de­signer dis­counts), and with her spunky Val­ley Girl chat it is im­pos­si­ble not to like her. The child star turned wild, bad, and then good is now a highly suc­cess­ful en­tre­pre­neur worth an es­ti­mated $176 mil­lion. As well as her col­lec­tion for Crocs, she has launched a cloth­ing line, Dear Drew, with Ama­zon, is the founder of cos­met­ics brand Flower Beauty, has her own line of Barrymore

Wines and still runs Flower Films, the com­pany she co-founded in 1995 and which pro­duced era-defin­ing hits like Char­lie’s An­gels, Don­nie Darko and Never Been Kissed, all of which she also starred in. At 43, it seems that she’s fi­nally, al­most, maybe, found her happy place, if only she’d al­low her­self to feel it.

“I’m not al­ways so kind to my­self,” she says. “I am a re­ally hard worker. When I had my two chil­dren I put

act­ing on the back-burner be­cause I wanted to be able to be a mum. I’d been act­ing my whole life, so it felt like no sac­ri­fice to back away from it for a few years so that I could be there to raise my kids. I’m also not the kind of per­son who can be do­ing noth­ing, so it felt like a good time to de­velop my other busi­ness ven­tures and dic­tate my own hours.”

Drew’s daugh­ters, Olive, five, and Frankie, three, are at the cen­tre of her world and she ad­mits that she has cho­sen to raise them in an en­tirely dif­fer­ent way to her own tur­bu­lent child­hood. The daugh­ter of ac­tors John Drew Barrymore and Jaid Barrymore, Drew starred in a dog food com­mer­cial as a baby, made her act­ing de­but at the age of three in TV movie Sud­denly, Love, and hit the big time aged seven in Steven Spiel­berg’s E.T. the Ex­tra-Ter­res­trial. Her mother took her to Stu­dio 54 night­club at the age of nine, she was drink­ing by 11, and sent to re­hab with a drug ad­dic­tion be­fore turn­ing 13. She was legally “di­vorced” from her parents at 15, a judge rul­ing she was al­lowed to live alone, as a le­gal adult, in West Hol­ly­wood.

“She had lost cred­i­bil­ity as a mother by tak­ing me to Stu­dio 54 (so wrong, but so fun) in­stead of school,” Drew would later write in her mem­oir, Wild­flower. “And I was out of con­trol due to work­ing since I was 11-months-old, and what that had done to my child­hood, which made me grow up too fast.”

Drew started again on her own, work­ing in a Los An­ge­les cof­fee shop – at 15 and fresh out of re­hab, she was now con­sid­ered dam­aged goods in Hol­ly­wood. She went to au­di­tions and worked ex­cep­tion­ally hard to break the “child ac­tor curse” – tak­ing small parts and re­build­ing her rep­u­ta­tion. En­gage­ments and breakups punc­tu­ated her late teens – af­ter ac­cept­ing two dif­fer­ent pro­pos­als at 16 and 17, she then mar­ried Welsh bar owner Jeremy Thomas at 19, di­vorc­ing af­ter a few months. At 26 she mar­ried co­me­dian Tom Green (who co-starred with her in Char­lie’s An­gels), but the cou­ple di­vorced the fol­low­ing year. It was al­ways, as she has said on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, a fight to the death to be happy.

“I re­ally care about be­ing a good mum,” she tells me to­day. “I will post pic­tures of my kids on In­sta­gram but I never re­ally show their faces. I try to be very care­ful with that. I think chil­dren should be off-lim­its to the pa­parazzi.

“It’s a mother’s curse and bless­ing to care so much about their kids. Ev­ery par­ent prob­a­bly feels this way: like it’s never enough, and you want to do more. I know I’m work­ing hard, but when my chil­dren are first in my life that’s when I have the bal­ance right.”

Drew di­vorced the girls’ father, art con­sul­tant Will Kopel­man, in 2016 af­ter four years of mar­riage, but the pair re­mains on re­mark­ably good terms and both live in New York. She de­scribes their “happy un­ortho­dox union” as one based on shared co-par­ent­ing val­ues and finds it al­most amus­ing that their split, in be­ing so am­i­ca­ble, is of lit­tle in­ter­est to the tabloids. On Christ­mas Day, she and Will posted a pic­ture on In­sta­gram of them to­gether drink­ing beers and eat­ing corn dogs while their chil­dren were nap­ping. “I have this big fam­ily that came with my kids,” she ex­plains, “be­cause I love my kids’ grand­par­ents and cousins – and we’re all so close that it’s as if noth­ing has changed, re­ally.”

Her girl gang, she says, is of al­most equal im­por­tance. She is still best friends with Gwyneth Pal­trow and Cameron Diaz, and Drew says that they still all let their hair down to­gether on an an­nual “#momtrip”.

“They’re every­thing – my girl­friends were my orig­i­nal fam­ily,” she says. “They are who I have al­ways turned to, so they’re right up there with what’s most im­por­tant to me. A lot of us are parents now and we can get so lost in par­ent­hood. But we take a lot of trips to­gether and it re­minds you that you are an in­di­vid­ual and you did have a life be­fore the kids. We have these mass text chains and some­one will say, ‘Okay, this place, these dates,’ and sud­denly ev­ery­one’s go­ing ‘ding, ding, ding, let’s go run free to­gether as women’.’’

Drew and Gwyneth fre­quently dis­cuss their re­spec­tive beauty and well­ness busi­nesses – Drew re­cently flew back to New York from Korea es­pe­cially to speak at Gwyneth’s Goop Health Sum­mit. Drew had spent five days in meet­ings in Seoul de­vel­op­ing a new line of green-tox face masks with skin­care in­no­va­tor Jayjun, which she says are a key part of her per­sonal beauty reg­i­men.

“I’ve never done any­thing to my face and I want to keep it that way for as long as pos­si­ble,” she says. “I be­lieve

“My girl­friends were my orig­i­nal fam­ily. They are who I have al­ways turned to.”

in skin­care over any­thing in­va­sive – tech­niques to help you look and feel bet­ter. Also, I think if you’re not crazy, you’re go­ing to look the best you can. For me, men­tal health and hap­pi­ness is the most im­por­tant thing, and every­thing else is just a cherry on top to make it look a lit­tle more pol­ished.”

Af­ter tak­ing a break from act­ing in 2013, Drew made her come­back last year as flesh-eat­ing zom­bie mum Sheila Ham­mond in the Net­flix horror-com­edy se­ries Santa Clarita Diet, which she also co-pro­duced. A sec­ond se­ries was re­leased in March this year and has had a pos­i­tive re­cep­tion; it’s light (but graphic) and she’s funny in it. Drew says that she has no am­bi­tions to chase grit­tier work right now.

“I have plenty of drama in my life and ev­ery­body else does too – I find my­self not want­ing to even watch any­thing that will be dif­fi­cult or painful. I’m lucky that over the years I’ve been able to do films that are just fun for peo­ple to watch. That’s what I love about the job: be­ing able to trans­port peo­ple and take them some­where pos­i­tive.”

Drew has man­aged to largely stay out of the re­cent scan­dals en­gulf­ing Hol­ly­wood (“I was scrappy, no­body messed with me,” she told re­porters when asked if she’d ever ex­pe­ri­enced any sex­ual mis­con­duct) and she ex­plains she’d pre­fer to qui­etly sup­port women in the long term, rather than preach, or mis­place her voice in the heat of this mo­ment.

“Tak­ing ev­ery­one down with you is scary busi­ness. But for those who re­ally have been through hell and back, it’s right if they want to put them­selves out there to pro­tect other peo­ple,” she says. “But it’s all about tone. I go to the marches and get in­volved and I hope it makes a dif­fer­ence, but I tend to be more drawn to it when it’s with­out anger, and it’s about women mak­ing a bet­ter fu­ture for other women, rather than women tak­ing men down.”

Drew has lived many lives in Hol­ly­wood and would have enough ma­te­rial for many more mem­oirs. She grew up be­fore so­cial me­dia be­came a com­pul­sory part of star­dom (per­haps a sav­ing grace that’s al­lowed her to bounce back with class), and while she’s hes­i­tant about post­ing too much, she does have 8.6 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers. Peo­ple un­doubt­edly feel nos­tal­gic to­wards her and the best thing about hav­ing her child­hood doc­u­mented on film is the ar­chive of snaps she has avail­able to post.

“I value my pri­vacy now more than ever and In­sta­gram is the only thing that I share just a lit­tle bit of my­self with,” she says. “I could see my­self shut­ting that ac­count down in a few years, though, and be­com­ing even more reclu­sive.”

She could cer­tainly re­tire com­fort­ably if she fan­cied, safe in the knowl­edge she has seen and done more than most ever could dream of. “I of­ten think about that,” she says. “That I should work un­til I’m 45 or 50 and then just be like, ‘Peace out, ev­ery­one, I’m gone!’ But I don’t want to com­mit and be that per­son who pub­licly de­crees, ‘I’m quit­ting the busi­ness,’ be­cause what if you find you’re bored to death in a year? How many come­back tours can peo­ple have?

“For now, I keep find­ing more in­spir­ing things at work – but in a few years’ time I’ll prob­a­bly be ready to dis­ap­pear. No one will even no­tice at first; I’ll just fade away into the wall­pa­per, me and my girls.”

“Men­tal health and hap­pi­ness is most im­por­tant; every­thing else is a just a cherry on top.”

RIGHT: A young Drew with her mother Jaid, who took her to Stu­dio 54 when Drew was nine. BE­LOW: The star loves be­ing mum to Frankie and Olive.

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT: Wild child Drew aged 20; at four Drew was al­ready a movie veteran; Drew and Will Kopel­man re­main close de­spite their di­vorce; Drew was in re­hab by 13; Gwyneth, Cameron and Drew reg­u­larly catch up.

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