Drew Barrymore Explains Why She Told Her Kids She'd Never Be Their Friend
By Antoinette Bueno
John Lamparski/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York
Drew Barrymore is thinking about her own complicated childhood when it comes to raising her two daughters, 8-year-old Olive and 7-year-old Frankie. The 46-year-old actress recently had a candid conversation with Demi Lovato for Lovato's podcast, 4D With Demi Lovato, and explained why she's all about setting healthy boundaries with her children.
Barrymore grew up in the Hollywood spotlight and her mother, Jaid, put her in rehab and then a mental institution when she was a teenager. She was legally emancipated from her parents when she was 14 years old.
"I mean, I'm having amazing real realizations about my own kids and how little I understood what boundaries were," Barrymore reflects. "I didn't have them growing up and when you're a parent, you try to compensate with so much love and you're almost afraid to get into the argument sometimes, you're just trying to survive the day, so you let things slide and you're like, 'Oh, there should have been a boundary in that place probably a while ago but I guess I'm only realizing that now.'"
Barrymore said that after feeling a lot of anger and resentment toward her mother for 20 or 30 years, they're now "in a really good place."
"I realized that her and I were friends, we were not parent and child, and therefore I had to completely relearn what parent-child dynamic is and I've been both inside of myself," she says. "I'm too adult and I'm too childish, where is the middle? Where is the balance? Where does this all land? And it took me a long time, and I couldn't have a relationship with her until I figured it out myself and come to her as a woman, and not a damaged child, and not have that baggage."
Barrymore shared that she has told her children that she will "never be their friend" and did an imitation of their shocked faces.
"Like, I'm your parent, I'm not your friend," she notes. "You can be friendly and do activities -- it's not that it has to be this strict relationship -- but my god, if children aren't looking for that north star of how to behave and how to handle and how to deal, and they're not looking for that earth's crust core foundation of, 'If I fall you will catch me,' like, that I think is how it's supposed to be in those societal norms that are set up," she says. "But unfortunately ... that is not so many people's stories."
These days, Barrymore is thriving with her hit show, The Drew Barrymore Show, for which she's nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award. Barrymore recently opened up to ET about why the nomination is so meaningful to her given her past.
"I got my first apartment when I was 14, and I was terrified," she recalled. "I was really scared all the time, it's scary to move out on your own at 14. My little television that I kept on broadcast, because that's kind of all there was... the thing that made me feel the safest in my apartment was my television."
"My television is what helped me grow up and become a whole person, so this moment is insane because it just feels really [like I'm] honoring something that was very giving to me at a time I needed it most," she continued. "Throughout my whole life, I just loved television. I've been doing it, I’ve been watching it, so this is so cool. I can't believe it. It really poetically resonates with me that TV is such a calling card for security and safety."