After a life seemingly lived on impulse, Drew Barrymore has settled down. Partying as a child, rehab at an early age, posing for Playboy, two marriages that each lasted about a year. She even flashed David Letterman on national TV.
Now, at 40, Barrymore is married to art consultant Will Kopelman and is the mother of daughters Olive, 3, and Frankie, 18 months.
Last month, she released Wildflower, a collection of autobiographical essays. Barrymore started to write after she scaled back her acting and work with her production company, Flower Films, to spend time with her daughters.
Work was “a bad man trying to take me away from my kids,” she told me. But writing, well, she could do that anytime — and the time felt right.
“It felt like a good midpoint, if I may be so lucky,” Barrymore said of writing Wildflower. “I am definitely feeling the most grown-up that I have ever felt, incredibly content with my kids.
“It doesn’t mean that I am perfectly calm and knowledgeable,” she added. “I still feel birdbrained, trying to figure things out. But that quest to find things was gone.”
She landed on the idea of writing little stories — a fun format she could manage in just two or three hours a day.
“I could think of a story, really focus on it, paint a picture of it,” she said. “I always wanted to write, and so I think that was the first big intention. To write in an unchronological, shuffled deck of cards. I didn’t want to write a memoir. I wanted it to be emotional.”
The stories are heartfelt and funny, written simply and honestly. There are no big revelations that aren’t already known: Her single mother, Jaid, raised her Bohemian-style in West Hollywood, where Jaid studied acting and took her daughter on auditions. At 6, Drew was cast by Steven Spielberg in E.T. The director is her godfather — and acts the part. In an essay titled The Blue Angel, Barrymore writes that when she posed for Playboy, Spielberg sent her a copy of the magazine doctored to look like she was wearing ’50s-style dresses, along with a quilt and a note that read “Cover up.”
Barrymore’s father, John, was a barefoot mess who drifted in and out of her life before she finally found herself sitting beside his deathbed. Her mother isn’t part of her life, but Barrymore supports her, just as she did when she was a child.
She didn’t hesitate to share anything about her background, or her family.
“If anything, there are probably worse messages out there about them,” she said. “I thought this was more intimate and flattering and nice.”
She didn’t write anything about ex-boyfriends “or too much about my past,” she said. “This was the in-between moments and silly moments and surprising moments and those that influenced me more than I realized at the time.”