Drew Barrymore says she was 'blacklisted at 12' by Hollywood: 'They just wrote me off as damaged goods'

Megan Johnson
·3 min read
Actress Drew Barrymore, who has a new daytime chat show, opened up in a revealing interview about her troubled past which included being blacklisted at age 12. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/"Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)
Actress Drew Barrymore, who has a new daytime chat show, opened up in a revealing interview about her troubled past, which included being blacklisted at age 12. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/"Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

Drew Barrymore is looking back on her troubled past — including being blacklisted from Hollywood at age 12.

The actress and talk show host, 45, opened up in a revealing new interview with U.K. newspaper the Sun, adding that, despite her struggles, she has immense gratitude for her journey.

“I don’t know how I ended up here but I will never lose sight of how lucky I am,” Barrymore told the paper. “Being blacklisted at 12, I appreciate every job I have. I know what it’s like to lose and work for things and be so lucky and have the opportunities I have and everything in between. I don’t think there’s much to hide at this point.”

After rising to fame in the 1982 classic flick E.T., Barrymore soon spiraled, spending her evenings navigating nightclubs and the party scene with her mother, Jaid Barrymore. She abused alcohol and cocaine, and attempted suicide at age 14. After going to rehab, Barrymore was deemed an adult by the courts, and slowly worked to rebuild her acting career. But it took a significant amount of time to earn the trust of film studios again, who feared she was too “damaged” to hire.

“They just wrote me off as damaged goods and I, sadly, understood that,” said Barrymore.

Barrymore at age 12 (circa 1987). (Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Barrymore at age 12 (circa 1987). (Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Barrymore’s daytime chat show is her latest endeavor, and she says it’s one she appreciates wholeheartedly.

“I’m honored anyone will come on the show. I’m not an assuming person. I’ve been in this industry my whole life but I’m just as excited to be around people of note as anyone would be,” she said. “I’ve never pretended to be anyone I’m not. I’ve never felt more humble and grateful than I do right now — to be alive, to have two kids that are healthy, to be among this crew and this team and getting this opportunity.”

Clearly, the show is making waves. On the Oct. 3 premiere of Saturday Night Live, Barrymore’s chat show was parodied for the host’s trademark free-spirited ways.

“There is a new face in daytime,” a voiceover intones, as SNL star Chloe Fineman frolics around a stage interacting with people on Zoom and attempting to hug her TV crew. “After seeing what went down with Ellen, we took a hard turn in the other direction.”

“I am just like you,” says Fineman as Barrymore. “A boho-free-spirit-mommy-mother-movie-star since I was 6!”

Barrymore has found strength in her role as the mother of two daughters, Olive and Frankie. She divorced their father, Will Kopelman, in 2016 after four years of marriage, calling the split her “worst nightmare.” Barrymore told the Sun it’s her experience as a mother that she keeps at the forefront of everything she does.

“When you have your kids, it’s different. You get asked to be the best version of yourself and that was something I didn’t take lightly,” she said. “I struggle, I fail and one of the most important things I want to teach my own kids — and myself as I grow with them — is that change is so important, change in the world and change in yourself.”

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