Drew Barrymore might be a big celebrity now, but she had a tough childhood that led her to emancipate herself from her mother before turning 16. The mother-daughter pair were estranged until Drew started a new chapter in her life.
When Drew Barrymore was only five years old, she became a household name as Gertie in "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," following a long line of actors in her family. Her parents, Jaid Barrymore and John Drew Barrymore, were also actors.
Jaid was born Ildikó Jaid Makó to Hungarian World War II refugees in a displaced person's camp in West Germany. She married John in 1971, but he struggled with addiction for years.
Drew and Jaid Barrymore pose for a photograph on June 8, 1982, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Before Drew's parents tied the knot in 1967, her father was imprisoned for possessing illegal substances after a car accident. Two years later, he was arrested again for the same reason.
In the mid-70s, Drew's father stopped working as an actor, and his wife eventually kicked him out of their home due to substance abuse. John became estranged from his children from that point onward.
Ildiko Jaid Mako and John Drew Barrymore at a David Carradine and Barbara Hershey Seagull concert in West Hollywood, California, on December 1, 1973. | Source: Getty Images
Jaid and John's marriage eventually concluded in divorce when their daughter was nine in 1984. Drew's father was also a violent alcoholic who was barely present in her life, and according to the actress, her mother "wasn't prepared" to be a parent.
Being ill-prepared and a single parent meant Jaid failed to make the right decisions when raising their daughter. Drew hardly had much of a childhood under her mother's care and suffered greatly in her early years.
THE DIFFICULT TIMES WHILE BEING RAISED BY JAID
John Drew Barrymore and Ildiko Jaid Mako at a David Carradine and Barbara Hershey Seagull concert in West Hollywood, California, on December 1, 1973. | Source: Getty Images
At age nine and after her parents' divorce, Drew was taken by her mother to Studio 54. That's where she was introduced to illegal substances and encouraged to dance with young men who were famous.
However, by eight years old, Drew had already considered herself a "party girl." Five times every week, she, Jaid, and her mother's friends would go out, but the little girl wasn't coping with her lifestyle.
Drew Barrymore poses for a portrait in 1980 in Los Angeles. | Source: Getty Images
By age 12, Drew had already done a stint in rehabilitation. When she was 13, the actress fell off the wagon again and was admitted for 18 months to an institution while being treated for substance and alcohol abuse.
In an October 2015 The Guardian interview, the "Charlie's Angels" star revealed that she had been working since 11 months old. She felt she was already out of control because she had to grow up fast.
The only thing she found positive in her life was her work, but it was taken from her when she was institutionalized. Jaid, who'd "lost credibility" as a parent after the Studio 54 incident, put her daughter in the hospital because she felt helpless at raising the actress.
However, when the public discovered her institutionalization, they wrote her off "as damaged goods," and she sadly understood. In adulthood, the star later acknowledged how her mother "created a monster," stating:
"This was her last gasp, and I really was out of control... She probably felt she had nowhere to turn."
DREW'S EMANCIPATION FROM HER MOTHER
Drew knew she wanted more for her life after being institutionalized, saying: "When I turned 14 and wanted to start my life over, I wanted to do things on my own terms." Strangely, Jaid supported her daughter in becoming emancipated.
"Divorcing" her mother meant she would live independently before she even turned 16. The actress and her mother appeared for the hearing in court, and the day went by in a blur with people testifying.
Drew never felt the procedure was dark or heavy as she saw it as the court trying to figure out if she could be treated as an adult or not. When the deliberations were done, the judge told her the clock could not turn back on the decision.
Drew said she was ready for the consequences and received her emancipation. After the judge ruled, Jaid hugged her daughter, knowing things would be different as they'd always been, and in California, the star was now 18.
Since she was now legally an adult, she left school because she'd hated how other children treated her. However, she didn't want to be uneducated but didn't want to study acting because she already knew how to do it and wasn't sure the industry would welcome her back.
The star decided to self-educate by buying a dictionary and learning every word. Drew also surrounded herself with the things she loved and was determined not to be defeated even though people thought she was crazy.
The actress created her own curriculum where she read, cleaned, and worked at a coffeehouse. Her boss seemed to dislike her and would often tell Drew that she sucked at her job, urging the young star to go and find herself.
The actress eventually acknowledged that being at the coffeehouse wasn't her destiny before turning her life around again. She quit her job and asked a neighbor, Justine, if she'd become her roommate if Drew found them a new place to stay.
Justine had just broken up with her boyfriend and enthusiastically agreed! Drew started looking at apartments available for rent in a paper, and every morning she would listen to cats fighting in an alley while looking out her window.
She waited for the sun to rise and tell her things would be well, and they eventually were. Although her parents were the reason she ended up in her predicament, the actress never thought they were trying to take advantage of her.
Drew Barrymore in Cannes, France, circa 1992. | Source: Getty Images
Speaking to The Guardian, Drew confessed that she never felt exploited by her parents, with her father just being unavailable. The truth was that the institution her mother put her in was the one that suggested she get emancipated.
The experts believed Drew would be better on her own, and she later admitted that she had no regrets about being hospitalized. She felt the significant experience humbled and quietened her life.
The star noted how it had been necessary because she left the institution a more respectful person. That wasn't something her parents or life taught her, and she left as a different person, but still herself.
FORGIVING BUT NEVER FORGETTING
Drew Barrymore and her daughter at the Baby2Baby Holiday Party Presented By The Honest Company on December 13, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
In 2014, while speaking to Marie Claire, Drew confessed that she'd "always been empathetic toward" Jaid. The star said the feeling was even stronger when she had a child, and she and her mother discussed it in depth.
In 2021, the “50 First Dates” star [Drew Barrymore] revealed that she cautiously invited Jaid [Barrymore] into her two daughters' lives.
Drew Barrymore at the Refinery29 Holiday Party on December 10, 2014, in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
The "Santa Clarita Diet" actress shared how becoming a mother didn't cause her to lessen the distance with her mother. Ironically, she never felt angry with Jaid but felt empathetic, guilty, and sensitive to her instead, before adding:
"But we can't really be in each other's lives at this point."
Drew and Jaid Barrymore at the 12th Annual MTV Video Music Awards on September 7, 1995. | Source: Getty Images
In February 2021, Drew appeared on "The Howard Stern Show," where she explained that she felt her mother had endured enough pain from their estrangement. She felt guilty denying Jaid any access to her, noting:
“It was as hard of a feeling as I’ve ever experienced. Definitely the worst pain I’ve ever known.”
Although Drew spent years not talking to her mother, the pair were texting in 2021, with the actress sharing her happiness that they were now healing. Currently, the duo was on much better terms, with the actress saying:
"As a woman, I could finally see and understand that and we've made peace. Now text and talk and I've reached out to her."
In 2021, the "50 First Dates" star revealed that she cautiously invited Jaid into her two daughters' lives. The grandparent got to meet the children but Drew still maintains distance and serious boundaries to keep her in check.
The new relationship the pair have forged involves a lot of respect. The actress and her mother have made impressive strides in healing their bond that Drew now posts photos of Jaid on social media.
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