Drew Barrymore ‘Really Had a Fear’ She Wouldn’t Live Past 25

Drew Barrymore has been gracing our screens for the past four decades. Since achieving fame as a child actor, Barrymore has appeared in over 60 films and a handful of television shows. Nowadays, she’s hosting her very own syndicated daytime talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show.

While Barrymore is considered one of the most successful celebrities in Hollywood, she never thought that her career would last this long, much less her life.

Drew Barrymore attending Netflix's "Santa Clarita Diet" season 3 premiere in 2019
Drew Barrymore | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Drew Barrymore struggled with substance abuse as a result of a troubled childhood

Drew Barrymore has been in the spotlight since before her first birthday.

When she was eleven months old, the actor auditioned for a dog food commercial and got the job after she laughed when her canine co-star nipped at her. At the age of 5, Barrymore made her first big-screen debut in the 1980 film Altered States. Her breakout role came two years later when she starred as Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Drew Barrymore attending the U.K. premiere of 'E.T. in 1982
Drew Barrymore in 1982 | Peter Case/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

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Barrymore continued to act throughout the 80s, starring in movies such as Firestarter and Irreconcilable Differences, with the latter earning her a Golden Globe nomination.

Though Barrymore’s acting career was on a rapid incline, her home life was falling apart at the seams.

As a result of her mother taking her out dancing at Studio 54 when she was just a child, Barrymore was introduced to drugs and alcohol at a young age. By the time she was 12, Barrymore was addicted to cocaine and marijuana.

At the age of 14, the actor attempted suicide. Afterward, her mother Jaid placed her in a treatment center for alcohol and drug addiction. Following her stint in rehab, Barrymore decided she was ready to legally separate from her family and emancipated herself that same year.

The actor had feared she wouldn’t live to see 25

In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Drew Barrymore opened up about her troubled childhood and falling off the wagon several times before she was even 18.

The actor shared that as a young child, she called herself a “party girl,” going out with her mother and her mother’s friends up to five times a week. Soon, Barrymore began hanging out with older individuals on her own. It was with these friends that Barrymore started experimenting with drugs. Before she knew it, the actor was addicted.

While speaking about that time in her life with the outlet, Barrymore revealed that she was at an all-time low, noting that she had no one in her life to steer her in the right direction.

Drew Barrymore attending a birthday party in 1989
Drew Barrymore | S. Granitz/WireImage

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“When I was 13, that was probably the lowest,” Barrymore explained. “Just knowing that I really was alone. And it felt… terrible. It was a really rebellious time. I would run off. I was very, very angry.”

Barrymore’s life was on such a destructive path that she was convinced she wouldn’t make it past 25.

 “I was so scared of not knowing where I was going,” she confessed. “I really had a fear that I was going to die at 25.”

Drew Barrymore knew exactly what edge to avoid to stay alive past 25

Although Barrymore was in a pretty dark place during her early teens, she refused to get to the point of no return.

During the interview, the actor revealed that the only thing that kept her alive during her darkest times was knowing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

“No matter how dark s— got, I always had a sense that there should be goodness. I never went all the way into darkness,” she shared. “There were so many things I could have done that would have pushed me over the edge and I just knew not to go there.”

Because she avoided that edge, Barrymore was able to get clean and continuing living life.

Almost 40 years later, Barrymore is a healthy actor, mother, producer, and entrepreneur.

Looking back, the actor is grateful for that period of her existence as it allowed her to get the partying out of her system before her life really got started.

“You know what’s exciting? I got my s— over with at, like, 14,” Barrymore said during an interview on Netflix’s Norm Macdonald Has a Show in 2018, per People. “Like, midlife crisis, institutionalized, blacklisted, no family. Got it done. And then got into the cycle of being my own parent.”

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.