Drew Barrymore turned to drinking after her divorce — and her therapist quit because of it: '‘I can’t do this anymore'

Drew Barrymore discussed her decision to quit drinking alcohol. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Albie Awards)
Drew Barrymore discussed her decision to quit drinking alcohol. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Albie Awards)

Drew Barrymore may have entered rehab for the first time at 13, but she found herself dealing with the consequences of her drinking decades later.

The movie star and TV host, 48, opened up to the Los Angeles Times about the ultimatum she was given by her therapist of a decade, who was "so concerned" that he said he would no longer treat her if she didn't quit drinking.

While Barrymore had initially gone to rehab for drugs and alcohol as a teen, she found herself in the grips of alcohol again decades later, following her 2016 divorce from Will Kopelman. According to the star, she felt that she had failed her two daughters, Olive and Frankie, by getting divorced. Having moved to New York City before the split to be closer to Kopelman's family, she now felt alone, and turned to drinking to help her cope with depression.

“You seem to be so inspired by everybody else, but you treat yourself like s***," she told herself. “When are you going to be enough for yourself?”

Though Barrymore kept up her drinking because she felt she was still "highly functioning," her longtime psychoanalyst, Barry Michels, had had enough.

“He just said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” Barrymore told the newspaper. “It was really about my drinking. I said, ‘I get it. I’ve never respected you more. You see I’m not getting better. And I hope, one day, that I can earn your trust back.’”

Barrymore's friends were also dealing with the consequences of her drinking. Though producing partner Nancy Juvonen, who is married to Barrymore's former co-star Jimmy Fallon, says her friends gave her a "grace period" after her divorce, they ultimately confronted her about her drinking.

Cameron Diaz, Barrymore's longtime friend and Charlie's Angel co-star, says her pal's drinking was "difficult to watch."

“But I knew that if we all stuck with her and gave her the support she needed, she would find her way,” Diaz shared. “I have absolute faith in her. You can’t even comprehend how hard it was to be her as a child, and then she shot out the other end with the ability to save herself.”

Despite her friends' efforts, Barrymore didn't quit drinking immediately. But when she got the opportunity to host The Drew Barrymore Show in 2019, she knew it was time to make a change.

“I think the opportunity at a show like this really hit me,” Barrymore told the newspaper. “I was like, ‘I can’t handle this unless I’m in a really clear place.’”

Wary of coming off as "some perfect Puritan," Barrymore doesn't call herself "sober" or participate in Alcoholics Anonymous. But being able to stop drinking did prove to her that "I don't stay stuck." And after a two-year absence, Michels agreed to return as her therapist. The actress has credited his guidance with helping her navigate other tricky issues. When Kopelman remarried, Barrymore found herself wanting to be his new wife's "best friend."

"And my therapist said: ‘That’s a really nice thought. But take it slowly. Don’t overwhelm the situation. Find your rhythms and your boundaries so you can have the long game,'" Barrymore recalled.

Now on the cusp of the fourth season of her talk show, Barrymore is still managing her insecurities. Remembering the men who threw her in a car and hauled to rehab as a teen, she says she “will always have the ‘they’re coming, they’re coming’ mentality,” she said. “It’s the one thing that, unfortunately, I can’t shake. I’m pretty sure that this will all go away at any moment, I will get locked up again and I will lose my job.”

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