Drew Barrymore: My Mom Institutionalized Me at 13

But hospitalization was a good thing, she says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2015 10:46 AM CDT
Drew Barrymore: My Mom Institutionalized Me at 13
Drew Barrymore, a cast member in "Going the Distance," poses at the premiere of the film, Monday, Aug. 23, 2010, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Drew Barrymore opens up about her troubled childhood in a candid new interview with the Guardian, from her first days as a "party girl" at age eight to her time at age nine at Studio 54 with her mom, doing drugs and dancing with men, to her first stint in rehab at age 12. But she relapsed the following year ("When I was 13, that was probably the lowest" point in her life, she says), leading to 18 more months in a hospital. "[My parents] were pretty out there," Barrymore says. "But I realized, honestly, yeah, my mom locked me up in an institution. Boo hoo! But it did give an amazing discipline. It was like serious recruitment training and boot camp, and it was horrible and dark and very long-lived, a year and a half, but I needed it. I needed that whole insane discipline." She clarifies that, yes, it was an institution for the mentally ill.

The 40-year-old Barrymore—while sipping a Corona—notes that at 14, "I was so scared of not knowing where I was going. I really had a fear that I was going to die at 25," but that "no matter how dark shit got, I always had a sense that there should be goodness. I never went all the way into darkness." Her mother "occasionally" visited her at the hospital, she says, but when she got out at 14, she became legally emancipated from her parents, at the institution's suggestion. "It was a very important thing to experience for me," she says of her hospitalization. "It was very humbling, very quieting. Maybe it was necessary, because I came out of there a more respecting person. And my parents didn’t teach me that, and life wasn’t teaching me that. I came out in a very different way ... but I still was me." Click for the full interview. (Barrymore also recently opened up about postpartum depression.)

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