Hewitt shared that when Paltrow won the Best Actress Oscar in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love, she wrote the fellow actress a letter.
"When Gwyneth Paltrow won her Oscar, I was sitting at my house, like everyone, I think, just in awe of her beauty and whatever," she tells ET's Matt Cohen. "I had never written a letter to a famous person before, but I did and I just wanted her to know how beautiful I thought she was and how much grace she had and that I was a fan and she handwrote me a letter back. It's framed, it's in my house. It was the first letter I had ever written to a famous person and it really meant a lot to me that she responded."
Hewitt said Paltrow continued to acknowledge her sweet gesture whenever they bumped into each other.
"For like probably a year and a half after that, every time I saw her somewhere -- Golden Globes, whatever it was -- she would come across the room and say, 'I just want to thank you again for that letter and those flowers you sent me, it really meant a lot to me,' and she just always made the time to do that and I have never forgotten. ... I want to be that person. I want to be the person that even if I don't remember someone's name or whatever, I want to remember that thing, that specific thing they did from their heart to try to connect to mine and give that to them over and over again because it is a really beautiful quality. It was really nice."
Meanwhile, Hewitt's experience with Barrymore was more recent, when she made an appearance on the actress' CBS talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show. Hewitt said Barrymore reached out to her after the show, and it left her in tears.
"She is everything to me personally, I just love her so much and we had such a good time and I felt like we had a heart and soul connection, and after the interview, she sent flowers to my house and said, 'Let's be friends, like, let's do this, like, not just in the business but people who are in each other’s lives,' and I think I cried for two hours straight," she reveals. "I still have the flowers, they are just starting to get old. I want to press them in a book. I am saving them forever, I have the letter."
"People think because you are in this business that that stuff does not touch you or does not mean anything to you like it does to people who are not, and it does," she adds. "It really does. When there is somebody that you admire and look up to and they take time for you, or they are a person who just reaches out to you at the right moment, it is beautiful."
These days, Hewitt is busy filming 9-1-1, and she talked about the precautions the show has been taking amid filming during the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's crazy. It's definitely different," she says about filming now versus filming pre-pandemic. "But I will say that I think they're doing a beautiful job handling the protocols and getting us back safely. You know, we're all wearing masks ... It's hard with makeup because you do your makeup and then all of a sudden you get, like, sweaty underneath the mask and so then you're like, 'Guys, we have to wait for 10 minutes, everybody put their stuff on so I can take mine off and touch it up.' You know, it's been scary to be back at work if I'm being honest ... but it's also been really beautiful to have a creative place to put all of the emotions that I've been holding onto since March of last year. And you know, the show premiered ... and I think people liked it and that's what we're supposed to do, and so we're hoping, you know, to bring them some joy and let them know that we're with them."
Hewitt also teased what's to come this season.
"I think that's the beauty of 9-1-1, you know, just when you think we have destroyed as much as we can possibly destroy, we destroy something else," she jokes. "So, I think people can feel really secure in the fact that even though the real world around us is crazy, 9-1-1 is going to continue to bring you everything that you want. I also think that this season though, you will see some real emergencies in the emotional relationships of the people in the show -- dealing with families, dealing with secrets, dealing with love, all of it, and so I think all of that is going to be really nice. I think that this season people get to know the characters even better and that's been really fun to play and really fun to do, so, yeah, it's gonna have all the stuff that you want it to have, people, we promise."
Hewitt later reflected on her character, Maddie, being pregnant.
"She will be pregnant for a very long time in the season. It was great for me especially after quarantine eating to get to go to work and put on a big old belly," she says. "I did not have to fast before going back to work this time which was wonderful, but I think that's what she's doing, she's spending a lot of time really trying to solidify the relationships in her life, make them strong, make them good, tell the truth, be open and rid herself of, you know, as much drama as possible other than the drama that is happening on the show, so that when that baby gets there, she can be solid."
Hewitt also has an idea of who could help with her onscreen baby's delivery, actor and her pal, Leslie Jordan. "I actually called because I want him to play a doctor and deliver my baby on the show," she pitched. "I just think it would be hilarious."
She quipped, "I'm just going to put him in my contract from here on out for the rest of my life. He just needs to be in everything I do or vice versa. I just love him. ...He has been such a light for people in this time. I'm so grateful to know him."