Drew Barrymore's Childhood Was Far From Glamorous — Why Did She Legally Become an Adult at Age 14?

Drew Barrymore's rise to fame came after a childhood filled with drugs, alcohol, and trauma. Here's everything we know about her parents and past.

Kelly Corbett - Author

Jul. 18 2022, Published 3:36 p.m. ET

Drew Barrymore young
Source: Getty Images

It’s the small things for Drew Barrymore!

The talk show host recently shared a video of herself basking in the rain. “Whenever you can go out into the rain, do not miss the opportunity,” she cheerfully shouts as her glasses fog up.

“I love your joy,” wrote one user in the comments. Meanwhile, other folks mocked the star's happiness. On Twitter, Drew's rain video became a hot-button topic.

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“Some of you need to Google what her childhood was like. I’m just glad she’s here with us, enjoying the rain,” tweeted one defensive fan.

Another wrote, “I relate to Drew Barrymore’s moments of joy. When you’ve experienced trauma and abuse in childhood, suffered through addiction, and fought hard for a beautiful life, simple things mean everything.”

Drew Barrymore enjoys the rain
Source: Instagram / @drewbarrymore
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Indeed, the 50 First Dates star actually had a rough childhood, which explains why she always leads with kindness and gratitude. Keep scrolling for everything we know about Drew's upbringing and how it molded her into the star she is today.

Drew Barrymore had a rough childhood. She was introduced to drugs and alcohol at age 9.

While Drew did have a leg up when it came to Hollywood as there were some actors in her family, her childhood was anything but easy. After landing her first movie role at age 5 when she starred in Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, she disappeared from the limelight for a decade as she struggled with drugs and alcohol.

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In an interview with The Guardian, Drew chronicled her tragic past. As she explained, her father, actor John Drew Barrymore, was a “violent alcoholic” and her mother, Jaid, had little understanding of "parental responsibility."

Her parents divorced when she was 9 and from there, she stuck by her mom's side. Jaid was involved with the performance arts theater Studio 54, which Drew then started frequenting.

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There, she was introduced to drugs, alcohol, and men. She would hang out with her mother and her mother’s friends several times a week.

By the time Drew turned 12, she had already been in rehab once. At age 13, her mother sent her out for help again — this time to an institution for the "mentally ill."

Drew Barrymore legally separated from her parents at age 14.

Drew stayed at the psychiatric hospital for 18 months. While she wasn't thrilled to be there in the first place (she admitted she was "off" but didn't think she was mentally ill), it gave her some time to sort her life out. The institution suggested that Drew legally separate from her mother. Drew did just and was declared an adult at 14.

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Drew Barrymore
Source: Getty Images

From there, she worked low-wage jobs until she could try her hand at acting again. At age 17, she landed a role in Poison Ivy, then went on to star in films like Batman Forever and Scream.

She remained estranged from her parents but reconnected with her dad in his later years. In 2003, she moved her father near her home as his health was deteriorating. She paid his medical bills until he died from cancer at age 72 in 2004.

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