Drew Barrymore Is Refreshingly Honest About Her Troubled Past With Her Daughters

Drew Barrymore may be a big-name movie star and the host of her own daytime talk show now, but in her younger years, her reputation mostly boiled down to "the kid from 'E.T.'" and then "tabloid wild child." The actor was born to entertainers John Drew Barrymore Jr. and Ildiko Jaid Barrymore and became exposed to Hollywood's party scene long before she was even legally allowed to order a drink at a bar. Eventually, she was forced to go to a psychiatric ward for a year and a half to correct her unruly behavior.

Now that the star has children of her own — daughters Olive and Frankie — she has no intentions of hiding her past. "I have to talk to my kids about all my wild days," Barrymore told ABC Audio (via Good Morning America). "Now I'm like, 'Oh, I knew this was all going to come up at some point.'"

Even if the "Drew Barrymore Show" host didn't tell her daughters about her troubled past, they likely would have found out about their mom's highly publicized Studio 54 days and childhood drug addiction. However, her own honest account allows her to teach her children that past struggles can lead to better things. She told The Guardian in 2015, when her daughters were still toddlers, "I'm not going to pretend I am not who I am. I'm going to show them how [my past] got me to where I am now."

Drew Barrymore's parenting style isn't like her mother's

While Drew Barrymore might divulge some details about her former partying days with her daughters, she doesn't want them to grow up the way she did. Barrymore's mother Jaid Barrymore (who was also once her manager) treated little Drew as a friend, bringing her along to adult parties, according to a Vulture profile. This only fueled Barrymore's substance use, and after her long stay in the psychiatric institution, the young star became emancipated from her parents at just 14 years old. 

Now a mother herself, the actor is careful to treat her children differently than how she was treated growing up. Barrymore admitted to The Mail on Sunday that parenting didn't initially come easy to her, but she learned over time to ask for advice from others. "I've got love and humor but we're all learning on the job. I don't want to be my kids' friend — I am their parent," she added.

For the mom of two, that means setting some rules. In an interview with Better Homes & Gardens, Barrymore revealed that she limits her daughters' device use, explaining, "Now, I keep the iPads in a locked safe and they only come out for special occasions. I'd rather that the three of us all pile into my bed and watch together." As the trio spends time watching TV together, that's a far cry from the club hopping she shared with her own mother as a preteen. Happily, today, Barrymore's relationship with her own mother also seems to be in a healthier place with better boundaries.

Barrymore says her chaotic childhood made her a better mom

A drug addiction, a soured reputation, and spending over a year locked away in a rehabilitation facility — all before earning a driver's license — might be hard for most people to take in stride, but Drew Barrymore has found the silver lining of her troubled past: It inspired her to become a better parent. "I didn't really have parents, you know?" she told More Magazine in 2015 (via ABC News). "And therefore the kind of parent I will be is a good, present parent. In a way, maybe that was a detriment to my youth, but it'll be the biggest asset to my adulthood."

That same year, the actor told Today that she was grateful she waited until she was older to have children. Though Barrymore was fast-tracked to adulthood when she was still young enough to be in middle school and even got married (and divorced) as a teen, she postponed parenthood until her late 30s. "I'm glad I did it when I was older 'cause I got to be a lot more willing to be selfless and turn it all over to them," she shared. "If I hadn't had such an odd childhood, I'm not sure I would be this voracious to be traditional."