Drew Barrymore: My childhood battle with addiction made me a better mum

Drew Barrymore has spoken out about her traumatic childhood, rife with alcohol and drug addiction, which saw the mother-of-two in rehabilitation before her thirteenth birthday.

The 40-year-old has explained how her erratic and unconventional childhood made her more determined to be a ‘traditional’ mum for her children, and provide them with the normality she never had herself.

Speaking to The Guardian, Drew, who has two daughters, Olive, 3, and Frankie, 1, said; ‘I really didn’t know how to feel about my mom for so many years. It’s painful to have conflicting feelings about the woman who gave birth to you.’

Drew with her mother, Jaid Barrymore and her half-brother, John

The Charlie’s Angels star was first put to work by her parents, John Drew Barrymore, an alcoholic himself, and wife Jaid, at 11-months-old when she featured in a dog food advert.

Her rise to fame continued with her appearance in ET at the age of 7, when, as a poignant sign of the instabilities in her life, Drew asked if director Steven Spielberg if he could be her godfather. He accepted.

Drew with ET director Steven Spielberg at the time of filming

After her parents divorced, when Drew was nine, her mother began taking her to nightclubs up to five times a week, where the young girl started taking drugs, socialising with older men and referring to herself as a ‘party girl’.  Drew was then checked into a mental institution at 13-years-old and left her there alone for a year and a half, her mother only visiting ‘occasionally’.

Subsequently, Drew was emancipated and legally separated from her parents, moving into a flat by herself at the age of just 14.

Drew with husband Will Kopelman, whom she married in 2012

Now married to her third husband, art consultant Will Kopelman, 38, the Never Been Kissed actress stated that enduring these experiences at such a young age influenced her views on being a mother; ‘I knew I would not repeat the mistakes of my parents. I knew I would never do that to a kid.’

She also referred to motherhood as the smartest, most patient and loving thing that people can do in their life.

‘I would never have had children unless I was incredibly stable, and willing to put them first,’ she explained.

Reflecting on her younger years, Drew said that having children really changed her priorities.

‘I felt that everything I did in film mattered. It was my whole world and now it’s kids, friends, marriage, work, health.’

‘I don’t want my girls to grow up saying, ‘Oh wow, yeah, she really worked hard, but I didn’t see her.’