Drew Barrymore Shares the One Thing She's Most Proud Of and It Has Nothing to Do With Movies

"I'm going to be the one to break the link in that chain and maybe my kids and their kids will be better off for it."

Actress Drew Barrymore is seen going to WWE WrestleMania 40 on April 06, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Drew Barrymore is opening up about the one thing she is most proud of accomplishing, and it has absolutely nothing to do with her storied, successful Hollywood career.

In an exclusive interview with People in honor of the publication's 50th anniversary, the actress opened up about her family's history with alcoholism and the work she did to break the cycle.

"I think, for me, stopping drinking is one of the most honoring things I can do to the Barrymore name because we have all been such hedonists," she told the publication.

“Don't look to me as the pillar of health and wellness and having it all together,” she continued. “It's just like, you know what? This didn't work for our family, and I'm going to stop it. I'm going to be the one to break the link in that chain and maybe my kids and their kids will be better off for it."

Actress Drew Barrymore is seen going to WWE WrestleMania 40 on April 06, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Drew Barrymore is seen going to WWE WrestleMania 40 on April 06, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Barrymore's grandfather, John Barrymore, was a famous Shakespearean actor in the '20s and '30s who "drank himself to death," People reports. Her aunt, Dianna, was candid about her own drug and alcohol use in her biography Too Much, Too Soon.

Barrymore's father, John Drew Barrymore, also had a history with alcoholism.

"We have to fight genetic follies that our families bring to us," Barrymore continued.

As a young Hollywood star who grew up in the entertainment industry, Barrymore said she was a "walking cautionary tale." At just 13, she entered a rehab facility for drug and alcohol use. At 14, she became legally emancipated.

Looking back at an interview she gave People in 1989 while still in treatment, she said she doesn't "see sadness or tragedy," but instead considers it to be "very empowering."

"When we talk about how we raise our kids in a world where they're all out there in social media, we all have to be almost parents in the mindset of what the Hollywood parents," she said. "Which is: Do I want to protect my child, or what are the boundaries? What should I be teaching them? We're all rowing in that boat."

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In a 2022 interview with People, Barrymore described the years that followed her 2016 divorce from art advisor Will Kopelman as "cripplingly difficult" and admitted that, to cope, she started drinking more.

"It was just trying to numb the pain and feel good—and alcohol totally did that for me," she told the publication at the time. "The drinking thing for me was a constant, like: 'You cannot change. You are weak and incapable of doing what's best for you. You keep thinking you will master this thing, and it's getting the better of you.'"

After spending time in therapy, Barrymore said she stopped drinking and threw herself into work.

"It was my kids that made me feel like it's game time," she added. “And as much as I expect myself to be a better, stronger, wiser person, I also expect myself to show up for any professional endeavor, giving my all. I don't phone anything in.”

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality and mental health, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find both her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.