Drew Barrymore Opens Up About Reconciling With Her Ailing Father John Before His Death

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore opened up to Ellen DeGeneres about reconciling with her ailing father, actor John Drew Barrymore, before his death -- get the details here. Michael Rozman/Warner Bros

After all, he's family. Drew Barrymore opened up to Ellen DeGeneres on Friday, Nov. 6, about reconciling with her ailing father, actor John Drew Barrymore, before his death in 2004.

The actress, 40, shared some of the stories she included in her new book, Wildflower, further discussing her relationship with her late dad and her mom, Jaid Barrymore. In the tome, Barrymore wrote that some people, like her mom and dad, just aren't cut out for parenthood.

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"He was very charismatic and odd," Barrymore recalled of her dad, who comes from an Old Hollywood lineage of actors beginning with Lionel and Ethel Barrymore. "And I just appreciated him from afar."

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The former child star, who experienced her fair share of lows in her teenage years — she went to rehab at age 14 and was successfully emancipated from her parents at age 15 — remained estranged from both her mom and dad for the majority of her life.

After decades of distance from her parents, Barrymore detailed in her latest memoir how she finally reconciled with her dad in 2001. "He got cancer," Barrymore shared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday. "And I had a very rare turn of events where I got to take care of him for three years in a hospice." (The actor passed away at age 72, in November 2004.)

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According to Drew, her dad's burial was a cathartic moment for her and her siblings, John, Jessica, and Blyth. "We buried, well we put his ashes at Joshua Tree," she recalled. "He loved Joshua Tree and I had spent a lot of time with him there whenever I visited. If he had an address at all it was Joshua Tree. If you know Joshua Tree, there are no houses there. So we took his ashes there, and I went to this little motel."

In a rather spooky moment, Barrymore believed that she connected with her late father's spirit. "I was sleeping until we were all going to wake up and spread the ashes," she shared. "And I felt a thing and I sat up in my bed and the doorknob of my room opened and the door just opened. And I just sat up in bed and I was like, 'Dad?' It was a moment where you can have hope."

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Nearly 10 years after her father's death, Barrymore reconciled with her mom in early 2014.

"She loves [my book]," the actress told DeGeneres on Friday. "I gave her a copy. We’ve talked about it very intimately and I have to say it was such an extraordinary year of my life writing this book. I came to terms with so many things. It’s a love letter to my daughters (Olive, 3, and Frankie, 18 months) and writing as a mother now myself and my daughters it was just, I found humor in places I didn’t have it before. I had a new perspective where it was different."

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