The Grapevine

Drew Barrymore Opens Up About Being A 'Party Girl' As A Child, Being Institutionalized At 13

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore discussed her partying past with The Guardian. Danilla (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

She was born into acting and became a child movie star by 7. From that age on, she was a “party girl,” drinking and partying with adults until she ended up in rehab — twice — all before the age of 14. Drew Barrymore, in an interview with The Guardian, said that she was “locked up” in an institution for the mentally ill by her mother and remained there for 18 months.

The actress, now 40, said she didn’t ever think of herself as mentally ill, but recalled the incredible discipline at the institution, and how those in charge wanted to drug her.

“I was like, no, thank you,” she told The Guardian. “I wanted to clean out. I didn’t want to be a cliché.”

The institution suggested Barrymore legally separate from her mother and be declared an adult at just 14 years old. She had been going out with her mother and her mother’s friends since childhood, and experts believed that she would do better out in the world on her own.

“It was a very important thing to experience for me,” Barrymore said, of her time in the institution. “It was very humbling, very quieting. Maybe it was necessary, because I came out of there a more respecting person. And my parents didn’t teach me that, and life wasn’t teaching me that. I came out in a very different way, but I was still me.”

Barrymore went on to a rough couple of years — Hollywood no longer wanted to hire her. She took jobs in restaurants cleaning bathrooms and such, until she came back into the film industry with movies like Scream and The Wedding Singer. At 20, she started her own production company and had produced and starred in Never Been Kissed in the following years.

The actress is now married with two daughters and has written a book, Wildflower.

Loading...