Drew Barrymore Returns to Institution She Was Sent Aged 13

  • For the season two premiere of her talk show, Drew Barrymore visited important places from her past.
  • The last stop was a psychiatric facility where her mom sent her for 18 months when she was 13.
  • She began crying as she reflected on how wonderful her life is now compared to that intense period.

For the season two premiere of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” the eponymous host and Hollywood star revisited meaningful places in Los Angeles where she lived and hung out as a younger girl. The final stop was a psychiatric facility that Barrymore’s mom took her to when the star was 13 years old. 

“I was a real wild child, and I just got so out of control that no one knew what to do with me,” Barrymore said in the segment taped for her show. “And so my mom called a friend because her daughter was out of control [too] and they drove me here in the middle of the night.”

“I was there for a year and a half,” she continued. “I hated it. I kicked, I screamed. One minute you’re at movie premieres and clubbing and the next minute you’re in a full-blown institution with barbed wire everywhere and you can’t get out.”

Actress Drew Barrymore in 1988 wearing a black and plaid dress with her curly hair down.

Drew Barrymore in 1988 when she was 13 years old.


Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images



This isn’t the first time Barrymore — who began acting in major films at age seven — has spoken about her time in the psychiatric facility. Earlier this year, she went on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show and discussed being sent to Van Nuys Psychiatric after going to clubs, ditching school, and “stealing my mom’s car.” 

“You couldn’t mess around in there and if you did, you would get thrown either in a padded room or get put in stretcher restraints and tied up,” she told Stern.

On her new talk show segment, Barrymore (now 46 years old) said she wanted to share this part of her past with the people who watch her show because she personally will “never lose sight of this part of [her] story.” She became emotional after contrasting the way her new talk show has a “beautiful set” and how she gets to dress in nice clothes and get her hair and makeup done every day.

Drew Barrymore 1

Drew Barrymore photographed on Season 17 of “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.”

Bravo/via Getty Images


“My life is so wonderful compared to what it was in this place,” she said, and then started crying. “I can’t even believe I actually get to be where I am now, because when I was here I didn’t see that. I thought I would be here forever — I never thought I was gonna make it to somewhere better.”

Barrymore continued: “I’m just so happy with my life. I don’t know if I would have the life I have if it wasn’t for a place like this. So it was so important to come here today and just honor this.”

The then-young actress was emancipated from her mother when she was 14, and Barrymore told Stern that the two are currently in a good place. 

You can watch the full video of Barrymore’s visit to the institution below (the section outside the facility begins at 11:47). 

 

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