A childhood wrought with parental troubles, early exposure to nightlife and endless partying…

by Ariane M – on Mar 30th in Showbiz

Drew Barrymore is one of the most adored actresses in Hollywood. Her acting career kicked off early, as she starred in her first (and very iconic) role as Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, in 1982, when she was just 6 years old. Over the years, she would develop a personalized acting persona that landed her in dozens of romantic comedies. She quickly became one of the most famous female leads in the genre, winning us over with her quirkiness and effortless humor.

Despite a penchant for all things funny, Drew’s roots are actually quite dark and murky. A childhood wrought with parental troubles, early exposure to nightlife and partying and several stints in treatment facilities during her youth all culminated to a boiling point. At just 15 years old, she emancipated from her parents and chose to live on her own, forcing an early maturation that is not known to many. Despite the dark parts of her past, Drew has managed to very successfully establish a career and family life for herself that is exempt of serious troubles. Learning from her parents mistakes, Drew has been able to embrace a certain maturity and love of the simple things in life. She has proved that the past does not need to precede us, here are 18 Dark Things Everyone Forgets About Drew Barrymore’s Childhood.


18. She Rose To Fame Amidst A Troubled Family Background

Drew Barrymore is one of Hollywood’s most lovable actresses. With a quirky sense of humour and the ability to be completely, genuinely herself, she has captivated fans with her authenticity. Despite this super well-rounded life that she enjoys today, she actually stems from a tumultuous family background. Her parents, John Barrymore and Jaid Maki, had a tumultuous relationship, complete with marital disputes, too much partying and a penchant for living wildly. Her mother, Jaid, was born in a German refuge camp for displaced persons, and met John, the heir to the Barrymore acting dynasty, when she arrived in America. Her family consisted of four children, including a half-sister who tragically passed away in 2014. Most of her life, Drew was estranged from her family members.


17. Her Godfather Is Steven Spielberg

Landing her breakthrough role at just 6 years old, Drew Barrymore emerged on the scene as Gertie, E.T.’s faithful human friend. She won fans over with her adorable blonde pigtails and heart of gold. Steven Spielberg, a long time friend of John Barrymore, was named her godfather when the pair met, and subsequently cast her in one of his most notorious and popular films. Despite having issues with her own parents, she has maintained a very healthy and long-lasting relationship with her godfather. He has served, in a sense, as a second father to her, giving her advice and guidance in the more troublesome moments of her young life. The two are still very close and Steven regularly visits Drew and her daughters.


16. After Filming ET Her Life Took A Turbulent Turn

After E.T. came out, Drew became a star overnight. Her instant notoriety was something that her fame-hungry mother ate right up. An aspiring actress herself, Jaid dreamed of the Hollywood parties, the awards and the fans. She, in many ways, was living out her dreams vicariously through her daughter, and of course, her husband’s legacy. Coming from such a troubled background with nearly nothing but dreams of America, Jaid’s obsession quickly got out of hand. Drew, at just 6 years old, was introduced to a lifestyle that is quite uncommon for a young girl of her age. Dressing up in ball gowns, make-up and fur to attend parties, staying up all night with adults as they celebrated and partied were just the norm for a young Drew. It quickly got out of hand.


15. Her Mother Took Her Out All The Time

Drew was essentially Jaid’s little doll that she brought out with her everywhere she went. When Drew was young, her father developed a penchant for drinking, and he was often violent with Jaid, who did her best to cover up what was happening by bringing Drew out to parties and special events. Despite her best intentions, Jaid was not a perfect mother. At a young age, Drew was already starting to understand the magnitude of her mother’s problems, and she has said that she felt pity and shame for her mom’s behaviour, which was generally very un-parent-like. The instability of her youth made her feel like she didn’t even have parents. Most of the time, she was fending for herself, putting herself to bed, finding things to eat and bathing herself while her mother and father prioritized the party scene of 80’s Hollywood.


14. She Grew Up Fast

Needless to say, Drew grew up very fast. She was exposed to things at a young age that most children only dabble with in their teen years. She had her first alcoholic drink at age 9, which quickly escalated into a steady habit. A year later, she was introduced to drugs. By 14, she was living a life heavily filled with substances, and was already reaching a critical breaking point. This early introduction to substances resulted in several stints in treatment facilities. At such a young age, she was already dealing with very mature feelings and emotions. Teenage depression hit her hard, and it wouldn’t be long before she decided to emancipate from her parents and live on her own.


13. The Barrymore’s Famously Had Tragic Lives

The Barrymore family have been considered Hollywood royalty since the 18th Century, and have notoriously been unlucky. Despite being part of the acting elite, the family have suffered through more than average amounts of turmoil, tragedy and bad luck! John Barrymore, Drew’s grandfather, was a famous actor who struggled with serious addiction issues throughout his lifetime. Married and divorced four times, his career went downhill in his 30s, and he spent much of his adult life parodying himself as a drunken mess. He has often been referred to as “the greatest American tragedy”. Other Barrymore family members would follow suit when it came to substance abuse issues, overdoses, tragic deaths and familial disputes.


12. She Was Hanging Out At Studio 54 When She Was 7 Years Old

Studio 54 was a notorious NYC nightclub that was frequented by Hollywood elite, Broadway actors and musicians. In the 70’s and 80’s it was one of the hottest spots, with parties going into the wee hours of the morning on the regular. Drew was a regular from the time she turned 8 years old, dancing and partying with the adults way past a reasonable bedtime for a child her age. This would be the environment where she took her first drink, started smoking cigarettes and eventually, started to experiment with other, harder substances. At the time, the media was starting to pick up on Drew’s strange and concerning behavior, so she was often followed by paparazzi and photographed during her late night escapades. By 14, she was already seeking help (for the first time) for her hard-partying ways.


11. Her Parents Weren’t Very Present

Although her parents brought her out to parties and social events on the regular, they weren’t very present in her life. Regular childhood activities like going to the park, going out to eat and reading bedtime stories together were just not a part of Drew’s life. Her father was a violent man who had a penchant for drinking too much, like his father before him. Drew’s mother, having never let go of her childhood post-traumatic stress, was an easy target for John’s aggression. She was a battered wife who didn’t find the courage to leave her husband, and let her daughter grow up in a household that was filled with rage, too many adult themes and a lot of substance misuse.


10. She Spent Time At A Treatment Facility At Age 14

At 14, most teenagers have not even approached the age where they have experimented with smoking and drinking alcohol, but for Drew, it was time to call it quits. After having lived hard and fast, with close to 5 years of partying under her belt, Drew hit her first real rock bottom and sought treatment at an in-patient facility. This would lead to a series of stints in sober living homes, treatment facilities, and even mental health hospitals. She even stayed with David Crosby (the singer known for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) and his wife for three months. They were committed to sobriety and provided Drew with stability and a lifestyle that she was not accustomed to. Shortly after this episode, she would take the decision to live on her own.


Read more at the source: TheTalkO


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