Drew Barrymore’s childhood was anything but easy. She’s talked a lot about her days of hard-partying and addiction in interviews and in her 1990 memoir, Little Girl Lost , but now she’s getting real about her time in a mental health facility — and it’s not the perspective we were expecting.
On Monday, she spoke with Howard Stern on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show about her mother, Jaid Barrymore, putting her in an institution at age of 13, and it sounds pretty brutal. “I was in a place for a year and a half called Van Nuys Psychiatric and you couldn’t mess around in there,” she explained to Stern. “If you did, you’d get thrown either in the padded room or get put in stretcher restraints and tied up.”
The daytime talk show host explained how she would “channel [her] inner-riot girl,” and emulate punk rocker Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics. Believe it or not, she found the humorous side to her experience, saying with a laugh, “it was like half a kids’ facility and half an old person’s place, so as I was riling up these young girls — a woman in a walker would go by.”
And while it took some time for the child star to learn to deal with the anger she felt at her mother and her situation at the psychiatric facility, she says that within six to eight months her anger started to subside and the therapeutic treatment began to kick in — and in fact, she now looks back on the experience with a surprising take: “It was the best thing to happen to me, in a sick way, because it cooled me out,” Barrymore shared.
Barrymore holds no ill will toward her mother, either: “I think she created a monster and she didn’t know what to do with the monster,” she explained. “This was her last gasp, and I really was out of control, and I forgive her for making this choice. She probably felt she had nowhere to turn.”
Becoming a mom herself — she shares daughters, Olive, 8, and Frankie, 6, with ex-husband Will Kopelman — has helped Barrymore get to a place of empathy for her mom, and while she says there are “real boundaries” in terms of Jaid’s relationship with her daughter’s daughters, she also says, “I feel goodness toward my mom. I feel empathy and understanding.”
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Before you go, click here to see all the celebrities who have opened up about their depression and anxiety.