The Barrymore Acting Dynasty: Drew’s Family Tree

Drew Barrymore is an A-list actress. It seems like she has been on the scene forever, and that’s probably because she pretty much has been. Even before 7-year-old Drew starred in the hit Steven Spielberg film E.T., her ancestors were in Hollywood for decades. Her most famous relatives are her great-aunt Ethel Barrymore, her great-uncle Lionel Barrymore and her grandfather John Barrymore.

Drew Barrymore as a young girl with pigtails in / John Barrymore Jr and his wife dancing / Drew Barrymore signing autographs in 2007 / John Drew Barrymore walking with an actress in 1963 / John Barrymore and his daughter Diana circa 1935 / Drew Barrymore posing with a bronze sequined shirt on
Photo by Barry King, WireImage, Getty Images / Los Angeles Examiner, USC Libraries, Corbis, Getty Images / James Devaney, WireImage, Getty Images / Keystone, Hulton Archive, Getty Images / Bettmann, Getty Images / James Devaney, WireImage, Getty Images

But those are the modern Barrymores. Drew’s family can be traced back at least 400 years to her fourth great-grandfather Thomas Haycraft, a combination of her two acting families, the Drews, and the Barrymores. Her ancestors were acting on the stage way before the silent film era. With generations of celebrities, acting is pretty much the family business for them. Being born into stardom may seem like a dream, but it’s not as glamorous behind the scenes.

This is the true story of the Barrymore acting dynasty and the truth about Drew’s childhood.

The Beginning of a Lineage

Thomas Haycraft Lane and Louisa Rouse Lane’s granddaughter, Louisa Lane Drew, started acting at an extremely young age. Louisa had a natural-born gift and was considered a child prodigy. She played The Duke of York in Shakespeare’s Richard III alongside Junius Brutus Booth (the father of John Wilkes and Edwin Booth). It one of the earliest roles for both of them.

A portrait of Louisa Lane Drew circa 1848
Louisa Lane Drew circa 1848. Photo by Kean Collection / Getty Images

She continued to work with some of the greatest actors of her time. In her autobiography, Louisa wrote about how she really enjoyed acting, even though she wasn’t given much of choice. She needed to support her family as a youngster and then again when her Irish American actor husband John Drew died.

Multiple Marriages Run in the Fam

Multiple marriages are another thing that Louisa has in common with her descendants. Lionel Barrymore tied the knot twice, John Barrymore four times, John Drew Barrymore (Drew Barrymore’s father) four times, and Drew Barrymore walked down the aisle three times.

Lionel Barrymore with his wife Irene Fenwick / John Barrymore and his wife Dolores Costello on their wedding day in 1928
Lionel Barrymore with his wife Irene Fenwick and John and Dolores Barrymore on their wedding day. Photo by Mishkin, Museum of the City of New York, Mishkin Studio, Getty Images / Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Before John passed away, he had three children, including the legendary Shakespearean actor John Drew Jr. and the comedian-actress Georgiana Drew Barrymore. Louisa worked as a stage manager for a year at the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia. The theatre had many successful shows under the leadership of the seasoned actress.

From Blythe to Barrymore to the Famous Siblings

Louisa’s daughter Georgina and Georgina’s husband Maurice Barrymore welcomed acting legends into the world: Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore. But Maurice Barrymore was a stage name; he was born Herbert Blythe. His father worked as a surveyor for the British East India company and thought his son was going to be a barrister. He didn’t have the highest opinions of the acting profession.

Maurice Barrymore and Georgina Drew circa the 1870s-80s posing embracing
Maurice Barrymore and Georgina Drew circa the 1870s-80s. Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images

The reason Hebert Blythe took on the stage name Maurice Barrymore was so that his dad wouldn’t be embarrassed that his family name was associated with acting. A few years later, the India-born Englishman moved to the U.S. He was a well-known stage actor and one of the very first Broadway stars to try vaudeville.

Raising the Children

Since Georgiana and Maurice spent a lot of time touring, Louisa helped raise Lionel, Ethel, and John. Sadly, Georgiana passed away from tuberculous at age 37, and Lionel and Ethel searched for acting jobs. But neither of them was particularly interested in an acting career when they were growing up; in fact, Ethel wanted to be a pianist, while Lionel and John wanted to be artists.

Ethel and John Barrymore posing at a train station on a platform / Lionel Barrymore posing for a portrait in a three-piece suit
Ethel Barrymore with John Barrymore (left) and Lionel Barrymore (right). Photo by Bettmann, Getty Images / Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Lionel and John actually tried to become artists but, unfortunately, neither achieved enough success to do it for a living. Meanwhile, Ethel was often quoted saying, “I always wanted to be a pianist, but I had to eat, and acting seemed like the natural thing to do since the family was already in it.” She was a successful actress and even helped support her father and brother John.

Maurice Was One of a Kind

Maurice was a colorful character, to say the least. He owned a farm with exotic animals, wrote plays once in a while, and was involved in affairs. Maurice almost died over a poker game when the losing party shot Maurice in the chest. Despite all this, somehow, the guy still had time to perform on stage until… one day he decided to go off the script and “suddenly dropped his lines and began to rave,” according to The New York Times.

Maurice Barrymore leaning against a piano holding a small cup of tea
Maurice Barrymore. Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images

He found out that he had an advanced stage of syphilis, a disease that causes damage to your brain, heart, and nervous system if left untreated. When Maurice acted violently, John took him to Bellevue. Ethel eventually transferred him to Amityville, where he died four years later.

John Mourns His Father’s Death

The last years of Maurice’s life really affected John deeply. He always worried that he would end up like his father. John had a chaotic childhood, and his parents weren’t around much. When he was 11, his mother died, and when he was 15, his grandmother Louisa died. Similarly, Maurice was raised by his aunt after his mother died when he was only a couple of days old.

A portrait of John Barrymore at age nine
John Barrymore at about age nine circa 1901. Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images

At age 14, John started drinking and never stopped. His alcohol dependency issues made it difficult for him to hold down jobs. He started off working at The New York Evening Journal as and illustrated and poster designer before deciding that “it looks as though I’ll have to succumb to the family curse, acting.”

Acclaimed Actor

Like his brother and sister, John was an applauded actor on stage and screen. He really enjoyed performing Shakespeare. Thanks to his striking profile, he was known as “the profile.” John was a leading man and landed parts like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Lionel was more of a character actor who you might recognize as Henry Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life.

A portrait of John, Ethel, and Lionel sitting behind a desk
John, Ethel, and Lionel Barrymore. Photo by Library of Congress / Corbis / VCG / Getty Images

Ethel could play just about anything, but toward the end of her career, she often starred as bedbound ill characters. Lionel, Ethel and John each performed with different relatives on stage, but the three siblings starred in one movie together: Rasputin and the Empress. 20 years later, Lionel and Ethel partnered up once again for the film Main Street to Broadway (sadly, John had already passed away by then).

Acting in Their DNA

Lionel and Ethel both won Academy Awards, and John earned a Rudolph Valentino Medal in 1925, an outstanding achievement since it was the first awards ceremony to acknowledge artistic accomplishment in film. Valentino’s premature death a year later made it the only Valentino Medal ever given out.

Marie Dressler and Lionel Barrymore holding their Oscars behind a podium
Marie Dressler and Lionel Barrymore at the Oscars 1931. Photo by John Kobal Foundation / Getty Images

All three siblings, as well as John’s son, John Drew Barrymore, and granddaughter, Drew Barrymore, have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. John Barrymore even had his profile-print, handprints, and footprints immortalized at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Multi-Talented Siblings

Lionel and Ethel Barrymore had more than just acting chops. Lionel directed, wrote books, composed music, and was a talented graphic artist and horticulturist. Ethel enjoyed writing plays and short stories. John, on the other hand, dedicated himself to performing and alcohol.

Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore in character for the film Rasputin and the Empress
Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore in the film Rasputin and the Empress 1932. Photo by PhotoQuest / Getty Images

John’s drinking made him erratic, late to work, and even led to some memory problems. Toward the end of his career, he could barely remember his lines. At this point, he was landing very few roles, and the ones he got were just parodies of himself. However, his expensive divorces meant he needed to keep working. John was only 60 years old in 1942 when he died from cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure.

The Current Barrymores

Addiction and alcoholism are horrible traits that John passed on to his descendants. His children, Diana and John Drew Barrymore, both had successful acting careers before drugs and alcohol overpowered their talent.

Diana Barrymore sitting at a table with a cup of tea in a nice China set in the film Nightmare / John Drew Barrymore poking his head out of his dressing room with a sign with ‘Mr. Barrymore’ written on it
Diana Barrymore (left) and John Drew Barrymore (right). Photo by Bettmann, Getty Images / Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Unfortunately, Diana passed away from a drug overdose at the early age of 38. John Drew died of cancer at age 72. John Barrymore had a third child: Dolores Ethel Mae Barrymore. She chose not to follow the family path and didn’t go into acting. She is currently 90 years old=.

Acting Gene + Addiction Gene

Sadly, but unsurprisingly, addiction followed some of John Drew Barrymore’s children as well, including Jessica Barrymore, who died of an overdose in 2014. John Bluth Barrymore and Drew Barrymore also had notable struggles with drugs. Drew was a child star who landed her big break at age 7 for her role in E.T. and began drinking when she was 9.

Jaid Barrymore, John Blyth Barrymore, and Drew Barrymore posing together circa 1982
Jaid Barrymore, John Blyth Barrymore, and Drew Barrymore circa 1982. Photo by Tom Gates / Archive Photos / Getty Images

When she was just 15 years old, she had already been through rehab and emancipated herself from her parents. Or as her brother, John Blyth Barrymore, puts it, “Everyone in the family had a bad patch. My sister Drew was the only smart one – she got hers over before she was even 18.”

Drew Barrymore

Drew was able to reinvent her career, gaining extreme popularity with movies like Scream, The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, and Charlie’s Angels. The beloved actress also added screenwriter, director, and producer to her resume and received a Golden Globe for her role in Grey Gardens.

Drew Barrymore on the red carpet posing in front of a green leaf background
Photo by Paul Zimmerman / Beatycon / Getty Images

These days she plays a real estate agent-turned-zombie in the hit Netflix show Santa Clarita Diet. The remarkable starlet also wrote two memoirs and owns a clothing and cosmetic line. The acting was always important to her just like it was for many of her relatives. Luckily, she was able to find stability and not allow her family history of addiction to plague her forever.

Acting Saved Her Life

During an interview with The Guardian, Drew opened up about her family’s acting dynasty: “I think films saved my life. I mean, I come from a family that has done acting for 400 years. But film sets are a bizarre world. For me, it was better than my circumstances. It was a savior.”

Drew Barrymore with her daughter Frankie Barrymore Kopelman on the red carpet in 2017
Frankie Barrymore Kopelman and Drew Barrymore. Photo by Gary Gershoff / WireImage / Getty Images

Although she feels acting helped save her, she doesn’t plan on allowing her children to get into the industry. That doesn’t mean the Barrymore acting dynasty is over. She went on to say that if they choose to get into acting later in life, she would be supportive. She just doesn’t want to push them into such a toxic industry as little kids. And who could blame her?!

Is the Acting Dynasty Over?

I guess only time will tell whether Drew’s kids will get into acting or not. But with generations of actors marrying other actors and their children becoming actors, a career path unrelated to the entertainment industry seems like a radical choice. If talent runs in their blood, they might choose to be stage actors or work in theatre.

Drew Barrymore with her children Olive and Frankie Barrymore Kopelman
Drew Barrymore and her children Jaid Barrymore, John Blyth Barrymore, and Drew Barrymore. Photo by Stefanie Keenan / Baby2Baby / Getty Images

If they do end up becoming mainstream Hollywood actors, there will be one significant difference. It will be their choice, their dreams, and their achievements. They will not be pushed into anything as kids, and their genetic talent will speak for itself, not their family name.

The Truth in the Memoir

As we know, Barrymore started off as a child actress. She quickly embarked on a dangerous path of substance abuse. Although child stars going bad seems like a tragic cliché at this point, it makes for a good story. Barrymore’s memoir, Little Girl Lost, tells the story of her earliest years.

Drew Barrymore posing in front of stuffed animals with her chin resting on her hands
Drew Barrymore 1986. Photo by Pierre Perrin / Sygma / Getty Images

She has spoken openly about her early years and revealed that she had her first cigarette at nine years old and was regularly going to clubs just a few years later. She finished the book when she was 14 and, in 2015, she released Wildflower, which tells more about her life since she was a young teen.

Phone Home

By the time she was five, Drew had already starred in two TV movies and one feature film: Altered States. Her fourth and breakout role was in Steven Spielberg’s movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it propelled her to childhood fame.

Steven Spielberg and Drew Barrymore on the set of E.T. in 1982
Steven Spielberg and Drew Barrymore 1982. Photo by Sunset Boulevard / Corbis / Getty Images

Drew played the protagonist’s little sister, Gertie. She was only seven when the movie came out. The actress revealed that during filming, Spielberg told her that he would never do a sequel to E.T. Seven years old and already having conversations with Spielberg. Very impressive.

How Romantic?

How do you find your soul mate? A bookstore? The vegetable aisle? If you’re from this generation, perhaps Tinder? Well, if you thought meeting online wasn’t romantic, Drew met one of her exes, musician Eric Erlandson, while she was throwing up outside of a club. He stood by to stand guard. That’s quite the first impression.

Eric Erlandson and Drew Barrymore holding hands on the red carpet of a film premiere
Eric Erlandson and Drew Barrymore. Photo by Kevin Mazur / WireImage / Getty Images

Two weeks later, the actress ran into him by accident when she knocked on his door because someone had given her the wrong room number. She ran into him again in Seattle while filming Mad Love. This time, the musician made a move and asked Drew to come over and listen to some music. The pair moved in together almost immediately.

Happy Roles, Happy Girl

Drew Barrymore has been really open and honest about her childhood. She grew up in a world that gave her so much excitement and so much grief. But after overcoming so many obstacles standing in her way, including drugs and alcohol, the actress now focuses on positivity.

Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu walking in prison uniforms and chains through a field in a scene from Charlie’s Angels
Source: / Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Her goal is to bring happiness with the movies she makes. She particularly wants to take on roles that focus on self-improvement, optimism, and joy. That’s actually one of the reasons she took on one of her most famous roles in Charlie’s Angels.

Famous Friends

Most of us don’t regularly meet celebrities. The average person would be lucky to meet just a few of them and make sure to snap a picture for proof! But Barrymore rolled with the Hollywood crowd, so meeting celebrities wasn’t such a big deal… most of the time.

Mr. T giving Drew Barrymore a kiss on the cheek while holding his Peoples’ Choice Award in 1984
Drew Barrymore and Mr. T at the 1984 People’s Choice Awards. Photo by Bill Nation / Sygma / Getty Images

In 1984, she had the honor of meeting Mr. T at the People’s Choice Awards and casually partied with Rod Stewarts’ band in West Germany. You know, the usual. Barrymore also met Purple Rain co-star Apollonia, and the singer even gave her the ring she wore in the movie, The Rich Get Richer.

Money and Looks

Often times, when a Hollywood starlet takes a step back from the spotlight, fans fear the worst. But don’t worry about Drew Barrymore. Her net worth is currently estimated at approximately $125 million! She has quite a few houses to retreat to when she needs privacy, including her $8 million L.A. home.

Drew Barrymore on the red carpet in 2018
Photo by Dia DIpasupil / WireImage / Getty Images

Barrymore has still got it. I love seeing her beautiful face on the screen. Maxim ranked her #40 on the Hot 100 list, which is impressive, but I personally think she should have been higher. The stunner was also included in People’s 50 Most Beautiful People issue.

Happy Family

Since she had such an unconventional childhood, Barrymore wanted her children to experience a little more stability and normality. She got off to a good start with her hubby Will Kopelman by welcoming two children into the world: Olive and Frankie. But the couple split up after three years.

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman on the red carpet
Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman. Photo by Barry King / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Even though the divorce was disappointing, the actress revealed that the two on still on great terms. They wanted to set a good example for their kids, who will learn from seeing how their parents treat each other. More than anything, the actress wants her kids to feel “safe” and “know I’ve got them.”

Dog-Eat-Dog World

When you start acting as young as Barrymore did, the glamourous profession gets old pretty quickly. When the late ‘90s rolled around, she and Nancy Juvonen founded Flower Films, their production company. The first movie they produced was Never Been Kissed, starring Barrymore. The company produced other notable films, like Donnie Darko, 50 First Dates, and Charlie’s Angels.

Drew Barrymore and her mother Jaid Barrymore posing backstage at an event
Drew and her mother, Jaid Barrymore. Photo by Yvonne Hemsey / Getty Images

There is a very early Drew Barrymore credit you won’t find on IMDb. She was actually in a dog food commercial that her family put her in when she was 11 months old. A promising start to a long career.

The Director’s Chair

Although she is famous for her acting chops, Barrymore revealed that she prefers to direct. The first movie she directed was Whip It in 2009, and she loved it. Drew found much more satisfaction in controlling the outcome of things, instead of just saying her lines and hoping everything works out at the end.

Drew Barrymore standing behind a video camera with headphones on the set of Whip It
Drew Barrymore directing Whip It. Source: / Copyright: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Drew revealed that it was fun for her to work behind the scenes of a movie: “Having a hand in it, being part of the process, has given me tremendous satisfaction. I don’t like just showing up.”


I don’t know where Drew Barrymore ranks on IMD’s star meter, but she has certainly become a household name… at least for my generation. However, it looks like we won’t be seeing Barrymore on the big screen as much as we did back in the 1990s.

Drew Barrymore waiting tables in a scene from The Wedding Singer
Drew Barrymore in The Wedding Singer 1998. Photo by New Line Cinema / Getty Images

The actress is a mom first. With her family duties and business endeavors such as producing, her time is restricted. She wants to take care of her kids, and a busy Hollywood life tends to take time away from more important things, like family. She admitted that she no longer has time for demanding roles.

Dumb Blonde

If you watch Family Guy, you know Brian goes through girlfriends the way most people go through underwear. One of the most notable girlfriends was arguably Jillian, the good-looking blonde girl with a heart of gold, even though there wasn’t much going on in her brain.

Brian and Jillian sitting on a couch talking in a scene from Family Guy
Source: IMDb

The dumb blonde was actually voiced by Drew! Since the show has had lots of celebrity talent appear throughout the years, ranging from Jessica Biel to Ryan Reynold, many people are unaware that Drew Barrymore was the voice of Jillian.

Toughest Critic

Most actors can be pretty quiet when it comes to giving themselves an honest critique and admitting that they pretty much play themselves in their characters. But Drew Barrymore has no problem admitting that there was only one specific role that truly tested her as an actress.

Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange standing by a piano with a man sitting behind it
Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange in Grey Gardens. Source: / Copyright: Portrait Films

That part was in her portrayal of Edith Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens. The actress revealed that her earlier roles in rom-coms like Never Been Kissed allowed her to play herself. The older she got, she landed roles as a contented mother that fit her personality more. For example, her character in Blended.

Breaking Records at Seven Years Old

When I was seven, the most notable thing I accomplished was winning a game of pin the tail on the donkey. But when Barrymore was seven, she did what all other second graders did… become the youngest person to host Saturday Night Live. Just a casual evening for this little lady.

The cast of Saturday Night Live sitting with Drew Barrymore holding their pointer fingers out like in the film E.T.
The 1982 cast of Saturday Night Live posing with Drew Barrymore in 1982. Source: / Copyright: NBC Universal

On November 20th, 1982, she made history with her SNL debut. Barrymore is part of the exclusive club of people who have hosted SNL more than five times. She still remains the youngest person to have ever hosted the show.

She Wanted to Die First

I’m not an expert, but I would assume that any actor or actress would fight to get a lead role instead of playing the first victim in a horror movie. In Drew Barrymore’s case, she was offered the lead role in Scream that ultimately went to Neve Campbell.

Drew Barrymore screaming into a phone while standing by a glass door
Drew Barrymore in Scream. Source: / Copyright: Lionsgate Entertainment

The filmwriter Kevin Williamson knew he wanted the biggest star in the movie to die first; he even considered courting Alicia Silverstone for the part of Casey Becker. As Barrymore looked over the script once again, she realized she loved the opening scene and told Williamson that she wanted the role of Casey Becker. The actress still considers the scene a masterpiece.

Family Ties

As we know, Barrymore has quite a family history when it comes to Hollywood. But when it comes to her famous family members in the industry, it’s not always related by blood. Drew’s godfather is renowned director Steven Spielberg.

Courtney Love and Drew Barrymore sitting in a booth hugging for a photograph
Photo by KMazur / WireImage / Getty Images

Barrymore was also close friends with Courtney Love before Courtney, and Kurt Cobain had their daughter. Drew is Francis Bean Cobain’s godmother. If that isn’t crazy enough, guess who Drew’s daughter Frankie’s godmother is? The one and only Cameron Diaz.

First Smooch

Drew Barrymore’s autobiography Little Girl Lost reveals a lot of juicy details about the young star’s life, including her first kiss with fellow actor Breckin Meyer. You might recognize Meyer from the TV show Franklin & Bash or notable movies like Clueless and Rat Race.

Breckin Meyer posing on the red carpet / Drew Barrymore in all denim on the beach
Photo by Ron Galella, Ron Glalella Collection, Getty Images / Mikel Roberts, Sygma, Getty Images

The actor revealed that the kiss happened when he was an 11-year-old kid. But it worked in his favor. After the kiss, Barrymore got her new crush an audition with an agent. Therefore, she possibly paved the way for his impressive acting career.

Looking at the Bright Side

When it comes to discrimination in Hollywood, Barrymore is not naïve. She is fully aware that they can restrict the variety of roles women receive. She joked that after hitting 40, she passed her prime for love interest roles.

Drew Barrymore and David Arquette sitting in the cafeteria
Drew Barrymore and David Arquette in Never Been Kissed. Photo by Hulton Archives / Getty Images

But the actress feels lucky that she was able to create her own production company and work on successful projects. When she was only 23, she produced the film Never Been Kissed. Barrymore remembers wearing corduroy pants when she went to meet Fox executives, but she still got the green light to take on the project.

Celebrating With the Red Sox

Like everyone else in the world, Barrymore had a few missteps. She worked on Fever Pitch with Jimmy Fallon but, unfortunately, it wasn’t well-received. The rom-com followed Barrymore and Fallon’s characters’ relationship, which was stalled by Fallon’s devout commitment to the Boston Red Sox, and it was a financial disappointment.

Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore sitting in the stands at a Red Sox game in the film Fever Pitch
Source: / Copyright: Twentieth Century Fox

The movie came out in 2005, just one year after the Red Sox won the World Series. As it turned out, the film’s production overlapped the Game 4 win, so Barrymore and Fallon were on the field when the Red Sox celebrated. The Red Sox seem to have forgiven the on-screen couple, but fans don’t think the actors deserved to celebrate with the team.

Dating History

Barrymore has openly stated that she has been in a relationship with women. Sometimes, these types of relationships can be seen as publicity stunts, but the actress explained that she sees a woman and a woman as a beautiful coupling, the same way she thinks a man and a woman is a beautiful union.

Fabrizio Moretti and Drew Barrymore posing in front of gold patterned wallpaper
Fabrizio Moretti and Drew Barrymore. Photo by Kevin Mazur / WireImage / Getty Images

For a little while, Barrymore was dating the drummer or The Strokes, Fabrizio Moretti. Moretti dated Kristen Wiig, Barrymore’s close friend, in 2012. Barrymore expressed that the dynamic of that relationship “seems so wacky and incestuous, but that’s kind of how life works.” That’s one way to look at it. Wiig and Moretti called in quits in 2013, which hopefully made things a little less awkward.

Wine and Stars

Next time you’re in the mood for a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon, check out Barrymore’s winery. She really likes wine, so she decided to make it a business endeavor. Barrymore specifically enjoys a fruity white wine, but her winery offers a much wider selection.

Drew Barrymore kneeling next to her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004
Photo by Chris Polk / FilmMagic / Getty Images

In February 2004, the actress received her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which really cemented her status as a Hollywood A-lister. She is actually the fifth member of her acting family to get this honor, in addition to her father, grandfather, and two more relatives.

Didn’t Call Batman Back

Barrymore was pretty much born into Hollywood, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that she crossed paths with other celebrities. When she was a teenager, Barrymore went out on a date with the very famous Christian Bale. Bale later revealed that the actress never called him back.

Drew Barrymore on the red carpet / Christian Bale posing in a leather jacket for paparazzi
Photo by Jason Merritt, Getty Images / Randall Michelson, WireImage, Getty Images

In Barrymore’s defense, this was a difficult time in her life. She was dealing with severe addictions to alcohol and drugs. As she puts it, she “had a lot of fish to fry,” and boys were not a priority at that time in her life. Luckily, she was able to recover and then had plenty of time for dating.

Spilling Her Guts

If someone asked us to rank Adam Sandler, Hugh Grant, and Jake Gyllenhaal in terms of talent, I would keep my answer to myself in order not to hurt anyone’s feelings. However, during an appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden, Barrymore and John Boyega were playing a game of “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts,” where they have to answer a tough question… or eat something disgusting.

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler on the red carpet together
Photo by Kevin Mazur / National Board of Review / Getty Images

Instead of being forced to eat bird saliva, Barrymore came clean about who is the least talented of co-stars, and her answer was pretty surprising. She put Gyllenhaal at the bottom! I mean, has she not seen Nightcrawler?!

Body Positivity

Like many actresses, Barrymore needs to really act the part in her personal life (to an extent) in order to make her character’s portrayal more believable on screen. Barrymore sticks to a vegan diet and exercises while filming The Santa Clarita Diet but returns to a normal diet when filming ends.

Drew Barrymore looking over her shoulder on the red carpet
Photo by Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Barrymore revealed she puts on weight whenever filming wraps. Her mom even suggested cold-sculpting (fat-freezing). I’m not entirely sure what that means. However, Barrymore embraces her looks. A stranger once asked her if she was pregnant. The witty actress was quick to answer, “No, I’m just fat right now.”

That Was a Close One

Barrymore was happily dating Tom Green back in 2001, and the couple was enjoying their home in a canton north of Beverly Hills. But when they were sleeping one night, things took a turn for the worst, and their house caught on fire. Their dog Flossie woke them up barking and likely saved their lives. The house was ruined, and there was about $700,000 in fire damage.

Tom Green and Drew Barrymore on the red carpet
Tom Green and Drew Barrymore. Photo by Frank Trapper / Corbis / Getty Images

Back in 2002, the punk band Eden Park released a vinyl called Journey to the Centre of Skill Mountain. It included a track called “Barry Loves Drew Barrymore.” The band hasn’t had much of a big break since, but that doesn’t change the fact that they wrote a song about her.

No GED? No Problem

Since Barrymore was required to stay in a mental institution when she was 13, it probably doesn’t come as a shock that she didn’t finish high school. However, she did put all her experiences and feelings into her acting career.

Drew Barrymore on a dark street wearing a white t-shirt in 1992
Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard / WireImage / Getty Images

Barrymore’s past hardships made for some convenient fuel to get raw emotion out of her. Director Wes Craven noticed this during the filming of Scream. Barrymore opened up to Craven so he would know exactly what to say in order to make her cry during the week-long shoot of her scene in the movie.


Barrymore was introduced to the world of the paranormal and sci-fi at a young age. She read Stephen King’s Firestarter at the tender age of five. She went on to appear in two Stephen King movie adaptations and almost landed the child’s role in Poltergeist.

Drew Barrymore as Charlie starring forward with wires attached to her head in the film Firestarter
Source: / Copyright: Universal Pictures

The movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter may not be as popular as It or The Shining, but Barrymore remembers it from her role as Charlie McGee. If you’re a Stranger Things fan, you might notice some similarities in the plot, which is about a girl with powers running away from a clandestine branch of the government.

Stripping With David Letterman

Barrymore stopped by The Late Show with David Letterman back in 1995. During her interview, she spoke about a movie scene where her character does a striptease. She offered a demonstration, and let’s just say it didn’t exactly go as planned.

Drew Barrymore on the red carpet in 1995 / David Letterman behind his desk on the set of his show in 1989
Photo by Barry King, WireImage, Getty Images / Paul Natkin, WireImage, Getty Images

She ended up accidentally flashing Letterman with her back to the camera! The actress returned to the show and explained how she developed good chemistry with Letterman. I could only imagine. At least they were able to laugh off this awkward moment.

Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman

When she was only 19 years old, Barrymore posed nude for Playboy. In response, her protective godfather Steven Spielberg sent her a quilt with a note saying, “cover yourself up.” I guess she really is daddy’s little girl. Or at least god-daddy’s little girl.

Drew Barrymore on the cover of Playboy magazine January 1995
Photo by Playboy / Getty Images

By the time she became an adult, Barrymore had a long and successful career as a child actress. That’s why in 1999, she received a child star “lifetime achievement” award. Although she had a troubled upbringing, she accomplished more in her childhood than most of us do in our entire life.

Great Role Model

As we know, Barrymore began drinking and clubbing at an extremely young age. But do you ever wonder how her mother let her get away with it? As it turns out, Barrymore’s mother, Jaid, was actually born in a displaced person’s camp for Hungarian World War II refugees.

Jaid and Drew Barrymore posing together in a black and white photograph in 1982
Jaid and Drew Barrymore. Photo by Mark Weiss / WireImage / Getty Images

Barrymore believes the situation had a huge impact. Her mom was living in an unregulated environment, and it must have led to her unhealthy parenting style: Barrymore started drinking and partying with her mother and her mother’s friends about five times a week! That’s a lot for a grown adult, let alone a 9-year-old child!

Divorcing Her Mom

Unfortunately, her early problems with drugs and alcohol led Drew down a dangerous path that led to a suicide attempt when she was just 13. Luckily, Drew was found and taken to the hospital. After that, her mom sent her to a mental institution, where she stayed for a year and a half. Drew said she didn’t even get a warning.

John Drew Barrymore and Jaid Barrymore arriving at a nightclub in 1973
John Drew Barrymore and Jaid Barrymore 1973. Photo by Frank Edwards / Fotos International / Getty Images

However, Drew revealed if she had known anything, she would have run away. When she was released at age 14, she legally became an adult by emancipating herself from her mother. Despite all this, Barrymore thinks fondly of her mom now, even though they don’t talk very often.

Learning From Other People’s Mistakes

After her suicide attempt and subsequent stay at a mental institution, Barrymore lived with David Crosby. The rock star and his wife, Jan, had also dealt with drug and alcohol abuse and wanted to help Barrymore get her life back on track.

Jaid and Drew Barrymore at a film premiere in 1990
Jaid and Drew Barrymore 1990. Photo by Jim Smeal / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images

Crosby also believes Barrymore will be the one to break the chain of addiction that runs in her family. The most recent victim was Barrymore’s father. The actress hasn’t discussed that experience much, but she did admit she would be f— up” if it wasn’t for people like “David and Jan and Steven (Spielberg).”

Paying the Bills

Despite her extreme success as a child actress, Barrymore’s life wasn’t so easy. Especially after her substance abuse and emancipation from her mother. She found herself in a rough spot where she was having financial difficulties (despite working her entire life).

Drew Barrymore posing in a portrait for the film Poison Ivy
Source: / Copyright: New Line Cinema

She ended up taking a job at a coffee shop and was called a “bad employee” by the owner. Not long after, Barrymore landed the role in Poison Ivy. The movie helped the reinvented and grown-up Barrymore snag roles. And it led to her successful career as an adult actress.

The Famous Name

When she was born, the little starlet was given the name Drew Blyth Barrymore. However, at one point or another, she really hated to be called Drew. Perhaps because it’s derived from her dad’s middle name. The way Barrymore put it in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, no one who cared about her called her Drew. Her preferred nicknames at the time were D or Daisy.

Drew Barrymore sitting in the back of a car with a stuffed animal in 1985
Drew Barrymore 1985. Photo by Garcia / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images

These days the name doesn’t bother her as much. We can see how the names are repeated in the family, but it looks like Drew broke the cycle when she named her own children Olive and Frankie.

Acting Royalty

Barrymore’s ancestors are acting royalty, with a legacy stretching back to the 1800s. Drew’s grandpa John Barrymore and her dad John Drew Barrymore were talented actors. John was a Shakespearean actor who tragically drank himself to death at age 60. Drew’s father, John Drew Barrymore, was a movie star in films like The Sundowners and While the City Sleeps. He dealt with his own struggles with drugs, alcohol, and physical abuse.

Portraits of John Barrymore, his son John Drew Barrymore, and his daughter Drew Barrymore
John Barrymore, John Drew Barrymore, and Drew Barrymore. Photo by Bettmann / Getty Images

He passed away in 2004. Even though he was an estranged father who wasn’t involved in his daughter’s life much, Drew still referred to him as a “cool cat” in a statement her publicist released after his death.