She was in rehab at the age of 12 for abusing drugs and being an alcoholic.
“They just wrote me off as damaged goods and I, sadly, understood that,” Drew Barrymore told The Sun, referring to the time when filmmakers didn't want to work with her. That's who she is, a star who's been candid about her struggles as a child star who was too young to understand its consequences at that time. But she recovered from her dark past and came out of it even stronger.
Barrymore was just 7 years old when she shot to fame after her role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. But at the tender age of 12, she became an alcoholic and a drug addict, courtesy of her mother Jaid. Instead of going to school, the Scream actress, as a child, used to accompany her mother to Studio 54 where she would be left alone in the company of grown men and women while Jaid partied. In no time, at just 8 years old, she was a "party girl.”
Abandoned by her father at 9 after her parents' divorce, the Never Been Kissed actress was a raging alcoholic by the time she was 11. By 12, she was hooked on cocaine and marijuana and got admitted to a rehab center. However, the good days didn't last for too long and she relapsed, spiraling more than ever.
Talking to The Guardian she said, "When I was 13, that was probably the lowest." The situation got so bad that she had to be institutionalized. "My mom locked me up in an institution," Barrymore told the publication and continued, "Boo hoo! But it did give an amazing discipline." Continuing, she said, "It was like serious recruitment training and boot camp, and it was horrible and dark and very long-lived, a year and a half, but I needed it. I needed that whole insane discipline." She added, "Just knowing that I really was alone. And it felt… terrible."
At 14, she decided to get emancipated from parents — her absentee dad and her mom who was the reason for her drug-fueled childhood. "I legally became an adult," she said. The actress, at the age of 15 and 16, found herself struggling to survive on her own as she worked in restaurants and scrubbed toilets.
"It was weeeeeird," she said. "I had no idea how to run an apartment at 14... it was a disaster. It was in a dangerous neighborhood and I was so scared to sleep... I was so terrified." But that didn't stop her. She was back on her feet by 17 with the movie Poison Ivy.
Recalling her struggle, she said, "To have such a big career at such a young age, then nothing for years – people going, you’re an unemployable disaster – that’s a tough trip to have by the time you’re 14. To have access to so many things, then to nothing."
In an interview with Today, she said that her experience at 14 helped her get herself together. "Like, midlife crisis, institutionalized, blacklisted, no family, like, got it done, and then got into the cycle of being my own parent, figuring it out," she said.
Barrymore only went upwards in her career after climbing out of the dark days. Recently, on The Drew Barrymore Show, she confessed that she started riots in the rehab where she stayed, was out of control all thanks to her rebellious nature, but she "didn't like being thrown in solitary confinement." However, she said, "That place really did help me and it did save my life, and I actually wouldn’t change a thing.”
Expressing her gratitude for all that's happened, the actress, who once thought she would die by 25, said, "I don’t know how I ended up here but I will never lose sight of how lucky I am. Being blacklisted at 12, I appreciate every job I have," reported The Sun.
"I know what it’s like to lose and work for things and be so lucky and have the opportunities I have and everything in between. I don’t think there’s much to hide at this point," she added.
In 2014, Closer Magazine had reported that she admitted her relationship with her mom was "complicated". It said that she's never "just been angry" but also "felt guilt and empathy and utter sensitivity" towards her mom, to a point where they "can't really be in each other's lives at this point." However, the two have since found peace in each other's company.
She posted a picture of her and her mother on Mother's Day on Instagram, back in 2017, captioning it, "Proud. Me and my mom. On Mother's Day!"