Drew Barrymore has used the F-word to describe the breakdown of her marriage to ex-husband Will Kopelman. No, she’s not cussing the father of her two children — she’s just being completely honest and admitting that it was a failure.
During an interview with Chelsea Handler on her new Netflix talk show Chelsea, 41-year-old Barrymore said, “I put in my statement, about [our] divorce, the word ‘failure,’ because it’s so honest.”
“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,'” she continued. “It’s so shameful and hard to actually go through that, even privately. It’s a tough time. It’s a hard thing to go through. It’s like you’re being put on a cheese grater and every second going, ‘Ah! This wasn’t the plan!'”
The actress split from the art consultant, with whom she has daughters — Olive, 3, and Frankie, 23 months — last month after almost four years of marriage.
When the couple announced their separation, they said in a statement: “Sadly, our family is separating legally, although we do not feel this takes away from us being a family. Divorce might make one feel like a failure, but eventually you start to find grace in the idea that life goes on.”
We love the fact that Barrymore is saying, “Hey, I failed at marriage.” Why are we so afraid to admit when we’ve failed, particularly when it comes to relationships? They’re messy and complicated, and there are no guarantees, no safety nets. Some relationships work, and some just don’t.
Failing at marriage doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you’re failing at life (although it might feel like it at the time). Think of it like this: If you’re failing to make a bad relationship work, why is that necessarily a negative?
A fairly recent theory, commonly applied in the business and entrepreneurial world, attempts to put a positive twist on failure. Books like The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success tell us that failure can be seen as a mere bump in the road before achieving success (whatever that is).
It’s true that we can learn a lot from past failures. If you can identify why a relationship didn’t work, you may be able to put that knowledge to good use and avoid the same pitfalls (or partners) next time around.
But we can also just accept our failures without having to learn any huge lessons from them. Failure is part of life — granted, not the best part of life, but one of the many parts we have to experience to really experience what it is to be alive.
So let’s not be scared of this particular F-word anymore.