Drew Barrymore: Happiness Takes a ‘Tremendous Amount of Work’ and ‘You’ve Got to Fight for It’

Drew Barrymore in Good Housekeeping
Drew Barrymore in 'Good Housekeeping.' Brian Bowen Smith

Dropping hints? Before announcing her split from husband Will Kopelman, Drew Barrymore opened up about happiness — and how it takes a lot of work to achieve it.

The Miss You Already actress, 41, brought up the subject while recalling an emotional conversation she had with her producing partner and Jimmy Fallon's wife, Nancy Juvonen, in the May 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping.

"I first loved Nan because she loved the word ‘happiness’ so much. But last year, I called her with tears in my eyes, going, ‘Nan! I’ve finally figured it out! It’s not the word 'happiness' that’s so powerful. It’s the word 'choice,'" Barrymore said, without revealing why she was so upset at the time.

"Happiness is not this yellow, blithe, floating thing. It’s something that takes a tremendous amount of work. There’s a warrior aspect to being happy. You’ve got to fight for it," she continued. "And only when you’ve got that kind of earned happiness is it really good."

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman
Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman attend the Natural Resources Defense Council's Ocean Initiative Benefit Hosted by Chanel on June 4, 2011, in Malibu. Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

Barrymore's comments may have been foreshadowing her personal life. Us Weekly confirmed on April 1 that she and art consultant Kopelman were headed for divorce after nearly four years of marriage. The pair married at the former child star's Montecito, California, home in June 2012 and are parents of daughters Olive, 3, and Frankie, 23 months.

"I thought I knew what love was, but holy cow, I did not. I could never have imagined the kind of love I have for my children," Barrymore told the mag. "I am who I am because of my daughters. I’m an overachiever parent, and not because I think I’m going to repeat the patterns of my parents," she said. (Barrymore's mother, Jaid, institutionalized her at age 13 and the actress emancipated from her parents at age 14. Last year, Barrymore said she financially supports her mother.) "That’s not my fear — I’ve already broken that pattern in my life. But having grown up in the opposite way, I’m raising my children with all consistency, all protection. This is my chance to get it right."

And that's what she plans to do. Following their split news, Barrymore and Kopelman released a statement to Us about their family. "Our children are our universe," the estranged couple said. "And we look forward to living the rest of our lives with them as the first priority."

Drew Barrymore on the cover of Good Housekeeping
Drew Barrymore on the cover of 'Good Housekeeping.' Brian Bowen Smith

For Barrymore, that means a showbiz-free rule for her girls. "I’d never let them become child actors. They’ll have a chastity belt, a tracker system, no cell phones and we’ll live in the middle of nowhere," she joked. "In reality, I’ll just lead by example by being spirited, classy, consistent, philanthropic, hardworking, loyal to my friends and there any second they might need me."

Being supportive to her gal pals is very important to the Flower Beauty founder. "My girlfriends are my first family, and they know that I would lie down and die for them. My love for them is unbreakable," she said. One person that she'd always fight for? Cameron Diaz.

"If you are in scary prison in the middle of nowhere, call Cameron. She’ll get you out. If you’re looking for the best dinner-cooking partner and watching-TV-on-the-couch friend, call her. If someone is in a medical situation, call her!" Barrymore said of her Charlie's Angels costar. "She’s the most loyal, fierce, fun, cozy friend. We have incredible honesty with each other, and we work hard on our lives and our friendship."

Indeed, they do. Last week, Diaz, 43, opened up about her group of girlfriends during Andy Cohen's SiriusXM show. The one-on-one took place just days after Barrymore announced her breakup."When you're going through your ups and downs, and Drew is going through something now … is it an automatic to reach out to the other person?" Cohen, 47, asked on April 5. Diaz replied: "Of course. Everybody pulls the wagons around."

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