Drew Barrymore Clarifies She “Never Said” She Wished Her Mother Was Dead in Instagram Video
Since she first appeared in “E.T.” when she was just 7 years old, Drew Barrymore has been a beloved fixture in the entertainment industry. Films like “Never Been Kissed” and “Charlie’s Angels” solidified her star power, and she’s started a new chapter as the host of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” which kicked off in September 2020.
Over the years, Drew’s candid, vulnerable conversation style has helped her interviews stand out on her talk show. She’s been able to connect with people like Brooke Shields about the sexualization they both faced as child stars, and in particular, Drew’s openness about the struggles she faced with her parents during her youth has allowed her to bond with stars with similar backgrounds, like Jennette McCurdy.
Drew was raised by actors John Drew Barrymore and Ildiko Jaid Mako Barrymore, but she’s been clear about how absent and unreliable they were during her childhood. She became emancipated from them at age 14 and told Vulture in a June 5 cover story that Steven Spielberg was “the only person in my life to this day that ever was a parental figure.”
Still, 48-year-old Drew has been sure to emphasize that while she’s struggled to come to terms with her mother’s impact on her in particular, she doesn’t wish her mom any harm. In a video shared on June 5, Drew spoke out against tabloids that misconstrued a quote of hers and reported she’d said she wished her mother was dead.
“You know what, to all you tabloids out there, you have been f*cking with my life since I was 13 years old,” she said in the Instagram post. “I have never said that I wished my mother was dead. How dare you put those words in my mouth. I have been vulnerable and tried to figure out a very difficult, painful relationship, while admitting it is difficult to do while a parent is alive, and that for those of us who have to figure that out in real time, cannot wait as in they cannot wait for the time. Not that the parent is dead.”
The video references a statement she made in the Vulture cover story. “All their moms are gone, and my mom’s not,” she said. “And I’m like, Well, I don’t have that luxury. But I cannot wait. I don’t want to live in a state where I wish someone to be gone sooner than they’re meant to be so I can grow. I actually want her to be happy and thrive and be healthy. But I have to f*cking grow in spite of her being on this planet.”
In the feature, Drew also clarified that she truly doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her mom. “I dared to say it, and I didn’t feel good. I do care. I’ll never not care,” she said, revealing she also supports her mother financially. “I don’t know if I’ve ever known how to fully guard, close off, not feel, build the wall up.”
Like her father, Drew’s mother is an actor, and Drew herself comes from a long line of actors and Hollywood royalty.
Ahead, learn more about the biggest stars on the Barrymore family tree.
Drew Barrymore’s Great-Grandparents and Distant Relatives
Drew’s family has been in the entertainment industry for quite a long time. According to Biography, Drew’s great-great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Haycraft Lane and great-great-great-great-grandmother Louisa Rouse Lane were traveling actors in the British countryside in the 1700s.
After moving to America, her family also found success in the theater. Drew’s great-great-grandfather John Drew was the owner of Philadelphia’s Arch Street Theater, and he often performed in shows with his wife, Louisa.
Meanwhile, Drew’s great-grandfather Maurice Barrymore was born in India to a British family and shocked everyone when he decided to become an actor, per Biography. He moved to America, became a stage actor, and married John and Louisa Drew’s daughter Georgiana “Georgie” Drew, who was also an actor.
Drew’s other paternal great-grandparents, Maurice and Mae Costello, were also actors. Maurice starred in “Sherlock Holmes” in 1905, becoming the first actor to play the detective in a serious screen production, and went on to star in many more silent films. Mae also starred in numerous motion pictures in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Drew Barrymore’s Paternal Grandparents, John Barrymore and Dolores Costello
Georgiana and Maurice had three children, including Drew’s paternal grandfather, John Barrymore, who earned high acclaim as a Shakespearean actor in the 1920s. He also starred in many major silent movies and talkies in the 1930s and onward, including “Grand Hotel,” “Dinner at Eight,” and “Twentieth Century,” and was ultimately one of the most famous actors of his time. John’s siblings, Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, were also major stars, with Ethel’s long career earning her the title of “The First Lady of the American Theatre.” Meanwhile, Lionel is perhaps best remembered for playing the evil Mr. Potter in the 1946 classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but he had a thriving career in stage, screen, and radio productions.
Meanwhile, John’s wife and Drew’s grandmother, Dolores Costello, was also a star. She appeared alongside John in “The Sea Beast,” a loose interpretation of “Moby-Dick,” and soon became a major movie star herself.
Drew Barrymore’s Parents, John Drew Barrymore and Ildiko Jaid Mako Barrymore
Dolores and John welcomed Drew’s father, John Drew Barrymore, in 1932. John was a successful movie and TV actor and starred in “The Big Night” (1951), “While the City Sleeps” (1956), “The Centurion” (1961), and “Invasion 1700” (1962), to name a few. He also had numerous TV roles, though he struggled with addiction and illness and died in 2004 at the age of 72.
Drew has previously opened up about how challenging it was to grow up with her father. “My mom chose a wild card for my dad,” she wrote in an Instagram tribute to him in 2020. “He was a mad poet hedonist man child! But I understood that as a kid. Somehow I have zero baggage or dad issues. I think I would have liked to have a dad who didn’t look so out there. Or who stayed. Or was capable of anything really. But his wildness runs through me. His gifts are here. His demons to overcome are mine to break! I love him not for who I wanted him to be, but for who he was.”
Meanwhile, Drew’s mother, Ildiko Jaid, was born in Germany in 1946. She was also an actor, though she mostly focused on being Drew’s manager after Drew was born and famously took Drew to party at Studio 54 when she was just 9 years old. Despite her complicated relationship with her mom, Drew told Vulture that the pair are in contact, and when it comes down to it, she still cares what her mother thinks of her. “I texted her. It simply read ‘Happy birthday, Mom,'” she said in the profile. “She wrote back, ‘Thank you so much! I’m incredibly proud of you and send you love,'” Barrymore wrote. “It was the biggest gift I could have ever received. To know that she is proud of me.”
Drew herself has two children with ex-husband Will Kopelman, 10-year-old Olive and 9-year-old Frankie, and she’s also spoken about wanting to give her kids more security than she had growing up. “When I had my kids, it was like, that changed everything,” Drew told Pamela Anderson in February. “Are we protecting our children the way we never got to have that protection?”
As for whether her family tree has inspired her own life’s work, Drew doesn’t deny that it’s played a role. “I’m not trying to do this job because I feel any obligation,” she told People in December 2022. “I think there is magic in genetics. I feel so compelled to do what they do.” She also told the outlet she keeps her TV on the Turner Classic Movies channel so she might catch a glimpse of her relatives. “It is never not on because it’s a portal,” she said. “They come and visit me through it. I will be walking into the kitchen and there will be Lionel or John or Ethel or my dad. And I literally gasp for air.”
Ahead, see more photos of Drew’s family through the years.