Jaid Barrymore's Daughter Drew Barrymore Emancipated from Her at 14 — inside the Turbulent Period

Aby Rivas
Jul 04, 2020
01:30 P.M.
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Drew Barrymore's life as a child star went wrong in every possible way it could have. She started drinking at 9, and by age 14, she had been in rehab twice and was emancipated from her mother, Jaid Barrymore.


Drew Barrymore comes from a long lineage of thespians on her father's side. Her grandfather, John Barrymore, was a Shakespearean actor who drank himself to death, and her father, John Drew Barrymore, was a renowned film star in the '50s and '60s.

Drew Barrymore at the Building a Brand in a Mobile-First World panel on the Times Center Stage on September 27, 2016 | Photo: Getty Images


She inherited her family's passion and talent for acting, but also their story of alcoholism and drug addiction.

However, unlike some of her ancestors, Drew Barrymore managed to come up clean on the other side, although not without facing many struggles in life and ruining the relationship with her mother, Ildiko Jaid Barrymore.

Drew Barrymore with mother Jaid Barrymore. File photo promoting the motion picture "E.T." in 1982 | Photo: GettyImages



Drew Barrymore landed her first audition in a puppy food commercial at 11 months old. It was her mother's friend's idea to have her audition in the first place.

Barrymore decided with the help of her caretakers that if she was to take on the world again, she needed to do it alone.

Drew Barrymore and mother Jaid Barrymore attend the Young Musicians Foundation's Second Annual Celebrity Mother/Daughter Fashion Show on March 10, 1983 | Photo: GettyImages


Barrymore was four years old when she told her mother she wanted to be an actress, Five when she made her film debut in "Altered States," and seven when she had her big break as Gertie in Steven Spielberg's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."

Barrymore's mother, Jaid, was also an aspiring actress at the time. She never wanted her daughter to start working so young, mainly because taking the girl to auditions and shoots got in the way of Jaid pursuing her own dreams.

"I thought, what about me?" Jaid told the NY Post about the time she started managing her daughter's career. "I wanted to be able to focus on my own career. But I wanted to be a good mother and give her [a] chance."


Drew Barrymore poses for a photograph June 8, 1982 with her mother Jaid Barrymore in New York City | Photo: Getty Images


By the time Barrymore was 9, she and her mother were regulars at Hollywood parties, and although it wasn't a place for a child, Barrymore could often be found at the lewd nightclub Studio 54. 


She started drinking alcohol then, and she was often hanging out with people that were older than her for many years.

On the other hand, Jaid once told Oprah Winfrey that although she and Barrymore arrived together at the parties, they would later go their separate ways because she wanted to give her daughter some space.

Drew Barrymore and Mother Ildiko Jaid outside China Club in New York City, July 17, 1985 | Photo: Getty Images


"I had a mom, but she was more like my best friend," Barrymore recently told Norm Macdonald in 2018, adding:

“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!'”

Jaid Barrymore, mother of Drew Barrymore, poses for photographers, 1995 | Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images



Barrymore entered rehab at age 12 for the first time. She spent a few months getting clean, got out, and relapsed. Desperate, and not knowing how to help, Jaid decided to lock Barrymore in an institution for the mentally ill.

Barrymore spent 18 months in the facility, and although she claimed her mother blindsided her to take her there in the first place, she soon realized she needed to get her life back on track.

Drew Barrymore attends the Ninth Annual Youth in Film/Young Artist Awards on December 5, 1987 at Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images


"It was like serious recruitment training and boot camp, and it was horrible and dark and very long-lived, a year and a half, but I needed it," Barrymore told The Guardian. "I needed that whole insane discipline. My life was not normal."

When she finished her treatment, renewed and ready to start a new life, Barrymore decided with the help of her caretakers that if she was to take on the world again, she needed to do it alone. Jaid agreed with the decision.

Drew Barrymore attends the Poetry in Motion Special Performance to Benefit The Children's AIDS Foundation on June 25, 1989 | Photo: Getty Images



Drew Barrymore emancipated from her mother at age 14. In an excerpt from her memoir, "Wildflower," shared by The Guardian, Barrymore recalled that day vividly.

She explained that after hearing testimonies from everyone involved, and before dictating a verdict over whether or not she would walk out of the court as an adult under the law, the judge in charge told her first:

“I can turn the clock forward, but I can never turn it back. Are you ready for that?”

Drew Barrymore on the street outside Sally Jessy Raphael's show, where she plugged her book, "Little Girl Lost." | Photo: Getty Images


She thought she was ready but soon would discover that living alone while being a pariah in Hollywood wasn't that easy.

Barrymore would go on to work at restaurants and coffee shops, and although she went to auditions, she had gained a bad reputation among directors and producers.

It took her a while to return to Hollywood, but when she did, Barrymore managed to restart her career — even though she still exhibited erratic behavior sometimes.



Inevitably, Barrymore and Jaid's relationship deteriorated after the actress became independent. They didn't talk for long periods, and according to Jaid, there wasn't exactly one thing that caused the estrangement, as she explained:

“It was like a series of dominos one after the other after the other.”

Drew Barrymore attends the 2014 Women's Leadership Award Honoring Stella McCartney at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on November 13, 2014 in New York City. | Photo: GettyImages


Still, Barrymore made sure to keep helping her mother financially, mostly as a thank you for the woman who brought her into the world.

Now married to Will Kopelman and herself a mother of two, Barrymore described her relationship with Jaid as "complicated" in an interview with Marie Claire a few years ago.

The "Charlie's Angels" star admitted that she always had sympathy for her mom, but she came to understand Jaid better after becoming a mom herself.

The pair looked close in a Mother's Day pic Barrymore shared in 2017. However, Jaid Barrymore seems to lead a private life away from social media these days.

"I've never just been angry with her," Barrymore said about her mom. "I've always felt guilt and empathy and utter sensitivity."