Drew Barrymore gets emotional talking divorce, 'intimidating' search for new love

Maura Hohman
·3 min read

It's no secret that Drew Barrymore struggled with addiction and had challenging relationships with both her mother and father growing up as a child star. She often speaks candidly about her drug use and being blacklisted from Hollywood at age 12.

But the 45-year-old is a little more private about her personal life in recent years, especially when it comes to her two daughters, Olive, 8, and Frankie, 6. She married her daughters' father, actor Will Kopelman, in 2012 and they divorced in 2016.

In a recent interview with Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist, the newly-minted talk show host emotionally explained how her divorce and her family as a kid play into her parenting style now.

"His family and I sort of made the most important choice: to be so together and united and connected," she told Willie. "That's, I guess, what they call family ... And I know from not growing up with any family whatsoever that that was the last thing I wanted to do for my daughters."

Drew Barrymore talking to Willie Geist.
Drew Barrymore talking to Willie Geist.

"I think that's why I took (the divorce) so hard," she continued. "(I) was, like, oh, the ultimate promise I wanted to make with you and for you was to have this amazing family. And I found them. And there's something not working that isn't livable. How tragic is that?"

The Golden Globe-winner also reflected on her ability to discuss her divorce openly, as she does with so many aspects of her life.

"At first ... I couldn't make sense of it," the "Charlie's Angels" star recalled. "And if I even spoke about it, I would've just become a blubbering — I really did not take divorce well. I took it really hard. Even now, I'm just like, oh, it's such a painful thing."

"It took me five years to be able to speak with strength, articulation, perspective, hindsight, and see everything we did right," she added. "Because when we were getting divorced, it felt like everything was just wrong. ... I think it applies to everyone who thinks that something will be forever and it's not."

Her divorce has made it difficult to find love again, she said. Barrymore was also married to producer Jeremy Thomas from 1994 to 1995 and comedian Tom Green from 2001 to 2002.

"It's like, I don't think I've recovered from that. I don't know how to open that up again. It's like something closed, and it stayed closed," she explained. "I think I'm equally as scared to find love again as I would be as if it never happened."

"Love with a partner is just — it's still really intimidating to me," she added.

Even if Barrymore is still working through her own love life, her daughters have adaptedwell to having their mom in the spotlight.

"It was interesting because when they were younger, this whole life of mine didn't sit as well with them. And now, it's the exact opposite," she told Willie. "And, like divorce, things fell into place finally. But it's amazing that my kids and I are happy. Because there's been a lot of times I really did question will we be happy? And we are. So that chokes me up."

These days, Barrymore is focused on parenting and hosting "The Drew Barrymore Show," which premiered a month ago, to the day, as Willie pointed out.

"I always feel like, every day, I'm going to get fired. I'm positive of it," she joked. "It's so intimidating because the more you care about something, the more you're afraid of it going away."