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The Surprising Career Lesson Drew Barrymore Learned After Her Divorce

Drew Barrymore has been on quite the upward swing professionally in recent years, receiving major props for her role on Netflix’s horror comedy show Santa Clarita Diet, but her personal life has been a bit rockier. In 2016, Barrymore navigated a divorce from her third husband, Will Kopelman, while resuming duties as a single, working mom of two. On Today on Monday, Barrymore opened up about just how off-kilter she felt immediately after separating from Kopelman and how it almost caused her to miss out on a major career opportunity.

“I was not looking for a job,” she told Today. “I had actually stopped acting for several years because I wanted to raise my kids, but then a shift happened in my life and I was separating from their father and it was just a very difficult time. I personally was in a very dark and fearful place, and then this script came along, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t think it’s a good time.'”

More: Drew Barrymore Is Totally Prepared for Her Daughters’ Teen Years

In spite of her initial misgivings, Barrymore said that the timing of the Santa Clarita Diet offer ultimately wound up being fortuitous, as the role helped her take her mind off the negativity from her divorce and instead focus on her future.

“Ironically, I think it taught me a valuable life lesson, which was sometimes when you think something is the worst timing and the worst idea, it can actually become a thing that saves you and pulls you out and gives you a new focus and empowerment and switches your constant stuck way of thinking and feeling and puts it into something else that might actually get you to a healthier place faster,” she told Today anchor Willie Geist.

More: Drew Barrymore’s Dating Life Is Very Complicated

A conversation Barrymore had with Chelsea Handler in 2016 highlights the stark contrast between how Barrymore felt in the immediate aftermath of her divorce and how she feels now. “When you break up with somebody, you’re like, ‘Yeah, that didn’t work,’ [but] when you get divorced you’re like, ‘I’m the biggest failure. This is the biggest failure,'” Barrymore told Handler, referencing the use of the word “failure” in the joint statement she and Kopelman issued when they announced their divorce. “It’s so shameful and hard to actually go through that, even privately.”

Barrymore has traveled a long road since splitting with Kopelman, and while the two successfully co-parent, Barrymore seems to have her feet back on the ground as a single woman and acclaimed actress — and we couldn’t be happier for her.

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