Drew Barrymore Says She Has to 'Work So Hard' to Not Be the 'Size of a Bus'

Drew Barrymore

'Maybe I was thin and mean in a past life,' Barrymore jokes.

Drew Barrymore puts a lot of time and effort into staying healthy. The 45-year-old actress covers the August issue of InStyle and shares the steps she takes to stay fit amid quarantine.

"I eat really clean and healthy, and I do an hour of Pilates at least four days a week," she says. "I have to work so hard at not being the size of a bus. And it's OK. That is just my journey. That is my karma. I don't know, maybe I was thin and mean in a past life."

In terms of her mental health, Barrymore admits she felt "very overwhelmed" with work and parenting responsibilities when quarantine began, but has since come to terms with only being able to do so much. Barrymore and her ex-husband, Will Kopelman, share two daughters, Olive, 7, and Frankie, 6.

"I hate feeling overwhelmed. It was weird to be a mom and a teacher and a provider and a friend. I felt sad for a while that I was all I could offer my children," she says. "Then I realized that I had to get out from under it. I have so much empathy and patience for everyone but myself, it's sick."

"In these times you can just start to feel bad about yourself. I began to self-doubt and beat myself up. Then I was like, 'This is temporary,'" Barrymore adds. "I tell my kids that too. It's not normal; it's the new normal. It's a learning curve, and, hopefully, this is all happening for a reason. Timing is everything -- and this is not a time to get lost; it is a time to be found."

Barrymore continues by expanding on how she handles discussing world events like the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic with her kids.

"I don't watch the news in front of them because I worry about the images. But I also do not believe in bringing them up in any type of bubble," she says. "We all marched in the Women's March... They're very aware, and we're reading a lot of books and discussing it."

Despite the woes of the world, Barrymore makes it a point to remain optimistic in her day-to-day life.

"You can't be fueled by negativity. That's why, to me, what's happening now in the world does not feel negative; it feels overdue," she explains. "People will have different opinions about how to proceed, and based on history, there is nothing everyone in the world will agree on. But it seems like there is a collective consciousness right now -- an American and global awakening. And I am a student. I'll be learning until the end of time."


That positivity is something she hopes to continue with her upcoming talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show.

"Someone asked me to do a show a few years ago, but it didn't work out. It came up again in the past year, and this opportunity just seemed right," she says. "Gentle television is really important to me -- shows with a life-affirming approach, like Carol Burnett or Mister Rogers, that are playful and optimistic but still full of dignity and respect."

As for whom she hopes to welcome on the show as a guest, the list is long and varied, including everyone from A-list stars to working-class people.

"There are two gentlemen who work as security guards in the CBS building, and I talk to them all the time. I'll definitely ask them to come on the show," she says. "Steven Spielberg, because he is so important to me. If you think about a life lived, he transcends anything Hollywood. He has put incredible things into the world and is true to himself."

"I'd love to talk to Stephen King too. His stories have completely different tones, and I admire people who have range," Barrymore continues. "Jennifer Aniston, because, oh my god, I love her! And I'd also love to have [educator] Britt Hawthorne and [Black Lives Matter cofounder] Opal [Tometi], as well as chefs and designers and people who work in the U.S. Postal Service."

The range of dream guests comes from the fact that Barrymore likes "human-interest stories that highlight wonderful and funny things that people are doing out in the world."

While her show is on hold due to the ongoing pandemic, Barrymore is keeping up with her fans through social media, something that, she says, her childhood helped prepare her for.

"There was no social media when I was younger, but everything was very much out there about me. That was a great training ground -- it wasn't necessarily my choice, but it was best not to kick and scream about it," she says. "I was in a job where it was fair game for my behavior to make headlines, and I never had bitterness or a chip on my shoulder about the way my life went." 

"I moved out when I was 14, and then there was a 20-year period where I was very quiet. I went away, got my life together, took care of myself. And I got to enjoy the '90s, which was hella fun. There was a nice middle in the sandwich that was delicious and completely untapped," Barrymore continues. "You didn't know everything about everyone -- there wasn't the technology for it."

Now that the technology has advanced and she's more accessible to fans than ever, Barrymore makes sure what she posts actually reflects her day-to-day life.

"I'm proud to be a little naughty, a little imperfect, a little scared, a little human. I still think comedy is such an antidote to the bad things in life," she says. "When things are so important and high-stakes, such as this time in the world, you wonder how to find your voice. I write and speak as if no one is reading or listening."

"That doesn't mean I don't care what people think; I am a human welcome mat. Upsetting someone is the last thing on earth I'd want to do, but we should all be nicer to ourselves," Barrymore continues. "Humility and perspective are vital. I got some interesting examples of exactly what not to do growing up, but I was lucky enough to follow people who knew exactly what to do. So even though I'm embarrassed when I crash and burn or lose my way, I always get back on."


The August issue of InStyle will be available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download July 17.