Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore Biography

(1975–)
Updated:
Original:
Actress Drew Barrymore gained early fame as a child star. She later struggled with substance abuse and notoriety, before re-emerging as a talented actress, producer and businesswoman.

Who Is Drew Barrymore?

Actress Drew Barrymore captured audiences' hearts at age seven with her role in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial. Her troubled childhood soon led to substance abuse and a wild reputation, which negatively impacted her career for many years. Barrymore co-founded Flower Films in 1995 and has since regained success as a talented actress, producer and businesswoman, starring in such films as The Wedding Singer, Charlie's Angels, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Music and Lyrics.

Early Life and 'E.T.'

Drew Barrymore was born Drew Blythe Barrymore on February 22, 1975, in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of actor John Drew Barrymore Jr. and Ildiko Jaid Barrymore, but her family tree of actors doesn't end there: Her great-grandparents Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew and grandparents John Barrymore and Dolores Costello were also actors. Famous director Steven Spielberg is Barrymore's godfather.

Jaid, estranged from her husband, began taking her daughter to auditions when Barrymore was an infant. The actress appeared in a television commercial for Puppy Choice dog food before her first birthday.

Barrymore made her big-screen debut at the age of five in Ken Russell's Altered States (1980). At the age of seven, she landed one of her most famous roles: Playing Gertie, the adorable little sister in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982). The role pushed Barrymore into the spotlight. After working on the movie, she appeared on NBC's The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and became Saturday Night Live's youngest host.

Troubled Teen Years

However, Jaid soon began taking her daughter to night clubs, and it was at Studio 54 and the China Club that Barrymore developed a pre-teen fondness of drugs and alcohol. At 13, an enraged Barrymore became violent when she was unable to throw her mother out of the house. She was placed in a rehabilitation center and later wrote of the experience in her autobiography, Little Girl Lost.

Because of her reputation as a wild child in trouble, film projects were slow to materialize. Barrymore made some minor films, including Irreconcilable Differences, Firestarter and Cat's Eye. In the 1990s, she began starring in a series of films that exploited her bad-girl image, including Poison Ivy (1992), Guncrazy (1992) and The Amy Fisher Story (1993), a made-for-TV movie based on the Joey Buttafuoco scandal.

In 1994, Barrymore entered into a short-lived marriage to bar owner Jeremy Thomas at age 19. The union lasted for less than three months, and the actress went on to make headlines for more controversial behavior, posing nude for spreads in Playboy and Andy Warhol's Interview, and then exposing herself on live TV to a shocked David Letterman during his Late Night show birthday celebration.

Flower Films and Mainstream Success

'Boys on the Side,' 'Scream,' 'Everybody Says I Love You'

Barrymore's luck began to change in 1995 when she co-founded a production company, Flower Films. That same year, she gave a solid performance in the film Boys on the Side, co-starring with Whoopi Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker. The following year, she made a memorable terror-filled appearance in the blockbuster Scream and co-starred in Woody Allen's musical Everybody Says I Love You.

'The Wedding Singer,' 'Never Been Kissed,' 'Charlie's Angels'

In 1998, she proved her strength as a romantic leading lady when she co-starred in the popular comedy The Wedding Singer with Adam Sandler and in Ever After, a version of the Cinderella story, with Anjelica Huston. In 1999, Barrymore earned her first credit as an executive producer with the likable comedy Never Been Kissed, in which she also starred. The following year, she produced and starred in the hit film Charlie's Angels, performing alongside Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Bill Murray. The movie became a blockbuster hit, bringing in more than $40 million in its opening weekend and signaling the beginning of true financial success for Flower Films.

'Donnie Darko,' 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind'

Barrymore's next choice for the company was the dark drama Donnie Darko, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The film, in which Barrymore also co-starred, became an instant cult classic and was nominated for more than a dozen independent film awards. In 2002, she appeared as the love interest of Chuck Barris in the critically acclaimed biopic Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, also starring Sam Rockwell. Through this performance, Barrymore's reputation as a legitimate film actress was finally solidified. 

'Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle,' '50 First Dates'

Barrymore returned to the successful Charlie's Angels franchise in 2003 with Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. This time, she also brought actress Demi Moore and comedian Bernie Mac on board, and the film was another box-office smash. That same year, Flower Films released the comedy Duplex, in which Barrymore starred with Ben Stiller. The following year, Barrymore starred in 50 First Dates, a romantic comedy co-starring Sandler, again produced by Flower Films. Also in 2004, the actress earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

'Music and Lyrics,' 'He's Just Not That Into You,' 'Grey Gardens'

Flower Films — and Barrymore — kept busy over the next few years, producing such films as Fever Pitch (2005), Music and Lyrics (2007) and He's Just Not That Into You (2009). Additionally, the actress took roles in films like Lucky You (2007), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) and the biopic Grey Gardens (2009), in which she co-starred with Jessica Lange.

'Whip It'

In 2009, Barrymore made her directorial debut with the roller-derby film Whip It, in which she also had a supporting role alongside Ellen Page and Marcia Gay Harden. In 2011, she directed the music video for the Best Coast song "Our Deal," which featured Chloë Grace Moretz, Miranda Cosgrove and Shailene Woodley, among others.

'Miss You Already,' 'Santa Clarita Diet'

Barrymore continued to star in films including Going the Distance (2011), Big Miracle (2012), Blended (2014) and Miss You Already (2015). She also served as an executive producer and star of Netflix's zombie sitcom Santa Clarita Diet, alongside Timothy Olyphant, which ran for three seasons beginning in 2017. In 2019, Barrymore joined RuPaul and Faith Hill as judges on the reality talent competition series The World's Best.

Model and Ambassador

In addition to acting, Barrymore has had a successful career as a model, becoming the face of CoverGirl Cosmetics and Gucci Jewelry in 2007. That same year, she was honored as the top pick on People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People" list.

Also in 2007, Barrymore was named an ambassador against hunger for the World Food Program.

Personal Life

Barrymore has had a string of romantic relationships since her marriage with Thomas ended in 1994: In 2000, she became engaged to the eccentric Canadian comic Tom Green, of MTV's The Tom Green Show. After many false wedding rumors (some started by Green himself), the pair eloped in March 2001, but filed for divorce six months later. Following her relationship with Green, she dated Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti and actor Justin Long.

Barrymore wed Will Kopelman in June 2012. The couple had their first child, daughter Olive Barrymore Kopelman, on September 26, 2012. In an interview with Haute Living, Barrymore spoke about her excitement for family life. "I can't wait until I have my children," she said. "I just want to build fun, great things for my family." Their second daughter, Frankie Barrymore Kopelman, was born on April 22, 2014.

The couple decided to part ways in 2016, though they remained on good terms as they devoted themselves to co-parenting their daughters.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!