- Drew Barrymore is a wildly successful actress and television host who landed her big break at just 7 years old
- Drew comes from a long line of actors, starting with her great-grandfather
- Fans may be surprised to learn that Drew has several half-siblings
Drew Barrymore has been a beloved jewel of Hollywood ever since her breakout role of s Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial when she was just 7 years old. Her super early start as a Hollywood A-lister notoriously led her into some dark years —including struggling with alcohol and drug abuse as a pre-teen and teen. She has been open about the fact that her mom never attempted to guide her in the right direction, which resulted in her being legally emancipated at the age of 14.
Drew’s mom, Jaid Barrymore, was no stranger to the spotlight, as her parents and grandparents were involved in show business. In fact, Jaid was an aspiring actress herself. Read on to meet Drew Barrmorre’s family and learn about where she stands with them today.
Jaid Barrymore was born in 1946 in Germany. She acted between 1982 and 2008, per IMDb, but never came close to reaching the level of success as her daughter. She and Drew had a rough Relationship growing up, as she tried being her best friend rather than a supportive yet guiding parent, according to the Never Been Kissed actress.
“I had a mom, but she was more like my best friend,” Drew told comedian Norm Macdonald on his new Netflix series, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, per TODAY. “She was like, ‘Do you want to go to school and get bullied all day, or do you want to go to Studio 54?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, absolutely! I don’t want to spend the day with these little f****** who are just awful.’ Kids are so mean.”
It was decisions like that that helped the child star become acquainted with her partying ways so early. By the age of 13, she was admitted to the Van Nuys Psychiatric Hospital in Los Angeles, which was an extremely strict mental health hospital that meant business. “I was a real wild child and I just got so out of control that no one knew what to do with me,” she emotionally shared during the Season 2 premiere of The Drew Barrymore Show. “They drove me here in the middle of the night and they walked me through those two doors and when you go through those two doors you do not come out. And I was there for a year and a half.”
After she was let out, Drew became legally emancipated from her mother so she could focus on her health. Drew was taken in by the late The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash founder, David Crosby, for two months following her rehab stint. “We took her to school in the morning and tried to be a good influence. I think we were kind and loving, and it felt good to do,” he explained on a 2021 interview on The Howard Stern Show. “You try to do stuff, and you’re not sure how it’s going to work out. I think that one worked. I think she became a responsible human being and is a nice person.”
Although Drew and Jaid went through a rocky road together, the Flower Beauty founder is proud to say that the two are on much better terms and regularly communicate. “My mom and I are good now,” she confirmed The Drew Barrymore Show in May 2021. “It’s like there’s just some peace and respect and maturity there that could not have taken place maybe before.”
She also expressed that her infamous upbringing really helped to shape what kind of mother she wanted to be. “Her family was not there, and she was estranged, and then we repeated that pattern,” she explained. “And I think that due to my own experiences and my mom’s experience, I was like, I have to get this different. It’s not right or wrong but I’m going to have a determination about this that may have not been there otherwise, and I’m so grateful for it.” Drew shares her two daughters, Olive and Frankie, with her ex-husband, Will Kopelman.
Drew also said she’s “really glad there is healing there” with her mom while speaking to Howard Stern in Feb. 2021. “I feel goodness toward my mom.”
John Drew Barrymore was born in 1932 and was a successful actor — more so than his ex-wife, Jaid. He acted between 1950 and 1974, per IMDb, and was known for films such as 1961’s The Centurion, 1962’s Invasion 1700, and 1964’s War of the Zombies. He and Jaid were married between 1971 and 1984 and was largely absent father. Drew wasn’t his only child; John had three other children and was married three other times aside from his relationship with Jaid. He has an actor son named John Blythe, who was born in 1954 to his first wife, Cara Williams. He also has daughters Blyth Dolores Barrymore, who was born in 1966 and he shares with Gabriella Palazzoli, and Jessica Barrymore, who was born in 1968 to him and actress Nina Wayne. Blyth died in 2012, per Ancestry.com, and Jessica died in 2016 ahead of her 48th birthday, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Drew never had much of a relationship with her father, who although had a fairly successful career, had several run-ins with the law and substance abuse issues, per CBS News. In a 1962 interview with the Associated Press (via CBS News), he said he did not feel guilty about any of his issues. “I’m not a nice, clean-cut American kid at all. I’m just a human being. Those things just happen,” he noted. At the time, he was living in Italy as an actor.
John died in 2004, and in 2020, Drew commemorated him with a lengthy Instagram post on June 21, 2020. “My mom chose a wild card for my dad. He was a mad poet hedonist man child! But I understood that as a kid. Somehow I have zero baggage or dad issues,” she began. “I think I would have liked to have a dad who didn’t look so out there. Or who stayed. Or was capable of anything really.”
“But his wildness runs through me. His gifts are here,” she continued. “His demons to overcome are mine to break! I love him not for who I wanted him to be, but for who he was. And as I look at all the photos of dads today, doing their dad job, sure, there is my tiny self that wished for him to fit in. But he never did. And I’m not sure I did either.”
“And I’m not sure what anything is supposed to look like, or what it really is beyond the images?! But I do know this… both my parents have played a major role in who i am as a parent,” the 50 First Dates star noted. “And none of it looks perfect. But it functions with so much love. And togetherness. And availability. I don’t have a picture of a dad today to show how great everything was. I have a picture to show what it was. And that is my story. And that is perfect in itself. My dad gave me the gift of life! A wicked sense of humor! And that wildness that I truly do cherish.”
John Barrymore was a disntinguishes actor who consinstly had jobs between 1912 and 1942, per IMDb. His career was especially booming in the 1930s, duting which he starred in films such as 1932’s Grand Hotel, 1933’s Dinner at Eight, and 1934’s Twentieth Century. He died at the age of 60 in 1942 from pneumonia and cirrhosis, per the New York Daily News.
During a 2020 interview, Drew confirimed the rumor that her grandfther’s bodyw as stolen from the morgue by W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, and Sadakichi Hartmannand so they could prop him up and throw one last party with him. “Not only yes, but there have been cinematic interpretations of that,” she confessed to Sean Evans. “A Blake Edwards film called S.O.B. that’s just brilliant and fun to watch.”
The Golden Globe Award winner said that she wouldn’t mind if her friends did the same for her. “That is the kind of spirit I can get behind. Just prop the old bag up, let’s have a few last rounds,” she smiled.
Dolores Costello was John Barrymore’s wife. She, too, was an actress, and found great success as a silent film actress. In fact, she became known as “The Goddess of the Silent Screen”. She began acting in 1909 and like her husband, enjoyed role after role in the 1920s and 1930s. Some of her biggest films include a trio in 1927: Old San Francisco, The Heart of Maryland, and When A Man Loves, per IMDb.
She was married to John between 1928 and 1934, and then John Vruwink from 1939 to 1950. She lived between 1903 and 1979.
Lionel And Ethel Barrymore
John Barrymore Sr. had other successful actor siblings: Lionel and Ethel Barrynmore, who were John Jr. ‘s siblings and Drew’s uncle and aunt. In 1931, Lionel won Best Actor for playing Stephen Ashe in A Free Soul, per the Academy Awards database. Lionel may be best known for protraying Mr. Potter in the 1946 Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life.
Maurice Barrymore is the great-grandfather of Drew Barrymore and is the man who plante the family’s roots in the theater and film industry. He was born in India in 1847 as Herbert Blythe, per Britannica. He emmigrated to the U.S. to begin in career in 1800s and began the famous Barrymore acting family.
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