Drew Barrymore on Her Troubled Childhood: “I Didn’t Really Have Parents”

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore opened up to More about her famously troubled childhood, telling the mag that she "didn't really have parents" growing up Ellen von Unwerth/MORE Magazine

Drew Barrymore has done a lot of living and learning in her 39 years on earth — the majority of which has been in the public eye. In a new interview for the December/January 2015 issue of More, the Blended actress and beauty mogul opened up about her famously troubled childhood, and how it taught her what kind of parent she wants to be — or doesn't want to be — to her own kids with husband Will Kopelman, 2-year-old Olive and 9-month-old Frankie.

"I was a happy, blithering idiot," the former child star told the mag of her youth, which included a trip to rehab at 14 and emancipation from her parents at age 15. "I don't know how to feel differently about it because I don't know what another life would be like, so it's hard to pretend or imagine or wish that it was different because it isn't. Even if I was a bad girl at moments here and there, I was never a bad person."

Drew MORE Magazine

A descendant of the Barrymore acting dynasty, the ET alum is the daughter of the late actor John Drew Barrymore (who died in 2004) and former aspiring actress Jaid Barrymore, now 68, from whom she was estranged as recently as last year. (She told Marie Claire's February 2014 issue, "We can't really be in each other's lives at this point," but says now that she "look[s] after" Jaid.)

Recalling her upbringing — or lack thereof — for More, the Whip It producer said, "I didn't really have parents, you know? And therefore the kind of parent I will be is a good, present parent. In a way, maybe that was a detriment to my youth, but it'll be the biggest asset to my adulthood." 

Drew MORE Magazine Cover

Being there for her kids is part of the reason Barrymore has stepped back from acting. (That and the fact that she says her "phone isn't ringing off the hook with great parts" anymore.)

"I'll get in trouble for it, but I'll say it anyway: Women can't do it all," the Big Miracle star told More. "Quantum physics actually says you can't do it all. Like, you can't do everything at every minute of every day; it's actually not mathematically, molecularly plausible. [However,] I do think that women can do everything they want to do, especially if they work hard enough at it. I don't believe anything comes easy. You have to earn everything in life."

Barrymore would know. In addition to being an actress and producer, she runs her own cosmetics company, Flower Beauty.

"I love the beauty industry because even on a workday I can wake up with my kids, go to work, come home, bedtime — there's a normal life there," she explained. "And it's exciting when you have to go on a business trip, as opposed to a film where you're gone for months. I can't do that right now. As you add more onto your plate, particularly family, things have to fall off, or you won't be a good parent."

Read the full interview in the new issue of More.

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