Drew Barrymore may bring people laughter on the small screen, but her life behind-the-scenes hasn't always been picture perfect.
Despite the success of her talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show, which premiered in 2020, Barrymore dubbed the years after her divorce as some of the hardest to date.
Calling those years "cripplingly difficult," the actress — who split from Will Kopelman in 2016 after four years of marriage — explained in a new interview that her move from California to New York to be closer to her ex's family brought dark days.
"It just took me down," she recalled. "There are times where you can look at someone you think is a strong person and see them so broken and go, 'How the f**k did they get there?' And I was that person. I broke."
Barrymore didn't grow up with a family — she estranged from both her parents at a young age before making amends with them later in life — so keeping her daughters away from Kopelman's was out of the question.
Barrymore and Kopelman share daughters Olive, 10, and Frankie, 8, who were 2 and 3 years old, respectively, at the time of their divorce.
Reflecting on what led to the former flames' demise, she explained, "There was no scandal. Nothing went wrong, which is cleaner, but makes it harder and more confusing because there isn't The Thing to point to."
"We tried so hard to make it work. [A friend] said to me, 'Divorce is the death of a dream.' That's exactly what it feels like," she shared, "something so final you can't get it back."
And as the Charlie's Angels star tried to cope with her divorce, Barrymore admitted she turned to alcohol. "It was just trying to numb the pain and feel good — and alcohol totally did that for me," she remembered.
Having had beaten addiction in her youth, Barrymore noticed the warning signs right away, and after getting lost for a period of time post-split, she credited her children for helping her to quit drinking.
"After the life I planned for my kids didn't work out — I almost think that was harder than the stuff [I went through] as a kid. It felt a lot more real because it wasn't just me. It was about these kids that I cared so much about," Barrymore confessed. "And then I probably cared so much that I was only giving to them and not taking care of myself. It was a messy, painful, excruciating walk through the fire and come back to life kind of trajectory."
The 50 First Dates actress also explained that after finding her footing again, she began to put her focus towards developing her talk show. "It gave us something to believe in," Barrymore said.
As her show continues to prosper, Barrymore has managed to find some time to explore the dating scene — having found no success thus far.
"Every once in a while, I'll go on a date because it's a very human, natural thing to do. I've gone on dates where I'm like, 'Oh my God, why did I say yes to dinner? Because we haven't ordered yet, and I don't want to be here,'" she said of her failed efforts, pointing out that she doesn't feel pressure to find a new love because of her healthy blended family dynamic.
"We've got an awesome family dynamic that proves that life goes on," she gushed, as her ex-husband wed Alexandra Michler, a Vogue fashion director, in August 2021. "We've got an awesome family dynamic that proves that life goes on. Allie is my favorite person. I love her. I love us all being together. These kids have an example of one of the parents moving on and rebuilding another life for themselves. I'm like, 'Oh, I don't have to do that now? Perfect.'"
People conducted the interview with Barrymore.