Drew Barrymore was institutionalized at age 13 after her mother, Jaid Barrymore couldn’t control the ‘monster’ she created, the host admitted in a shocking, new interview.
At just 13-years-old, a teenage Drew Barrymore spent a year and a half at Van Nuys Psychiatric for what she described as “out of control” behavior in a new interview on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show. Drew, who explained her actions as “channeling my inner-riot girl,” was institutionalized by her own mother, Jaid Barrymore — which strained their relationship into her adult life.
“My mom put me in a place that was like a full psychiatric ward,” the actress turned host, 46, told Howard Stern in a virtual interview, while promoting her new talk show on February 22. “I used to laugh at those like Malibu 30 day places, they talk about things that pissed me off. A little spa vacation for 30 days in Malibu was sort of the opposite of the experience I had,” Drew recalled. “I was in a place for a year and a half called Van Nuys Psychiatric and you couldn’t mess around in there. If you did, you’d get thrown either in the padded room or get put in stretcher restraints and tied up,” she said.
Howard asked, “Why were you so bad that you had to go in the padded room?” Drew explained, “I grew up with the Go-Gos and Wendy O. Williams (of the Plasmatics) and Blondie and all these bad a– chicks and I would channel my inner-riot girl. Some days it was really funny. I would rile up all the girls and I’d be like, ‘F**k this place! These people don’t care about you, let’s f–king show them!’,” she remembered, adding, “It was like half a kids facility and half an old person’s place, so as I was riling up these young girls and a woman in a walker would go by. It was hilarious.”
While institutionalized, “I asked myself like why is this happening. And I thought, ‘maybe you need the craziest form of structure because everything was so accessible available and screwed up in your world that maybe it’s going to take something like this for you to kickstart the rest of your life.” Though, that structure “didn’t come for probably about six to eight months” because “the first six to eight months I was just so angry. I couldn’t see straight.”
Drew went on to describe her relationship with her mother, and explained why she believed her Jaid had her institutionalized. “I think she created a monster and she didn’t know what to do with the monster and this was her last gasp, and I really was out of control,” she said, admitting now, “I forgive her for making this choice. She probably felt she had nowhere to turn. I’m sure she lived in a lot of guilt for years about creating the monster, but then I think she lived in a lot of pain that I also wouldn’t talk to her for a very long time,” she said.
Howard chimed in to asked, “Are you talking to her now?”, to which Drew replied, “Yeah, we texted this morning. I’m really glad there is healing there and we have spent our own lives trying to figure things out.”
Drew also recalled an experience she had with her own daughter. The Charlie’s Angels alum is mom to daughters Olive, 7, and Frankie, 6. “Something came up and I said, ‘I’m not your friend, I’ll never be your friend, I’m your mother, and I had a mother who was a friend and we’re not going to do that,’” she remembered telling her daughter, who she didn’t name.
Now, Drew has “so much empathy” as a 46-year-old mother of two girls. “It’s hard and I raise my girls so much more traditionally and quietly and very protectively,” she said, noting, “It’s such an antithesis to my upbringing, but I can’t have [my mother] feel bad anymore. I’m sure she’s already beat the crap out of herself for having her daughter not speak to her.”
Drew later explained the aftermath of her stay at Van Nuys Psychiatric. “I mean, the pain I went through from that. I felt so guilty denying my mom access to me, it felt like I was cutting off the source of life. It was as hard of a feeling as dog a feeling I’ve ever experienced, definitely the hardest pain I’ve ever know. And, I just thought, ‘I have to let this go, what is this going for either of us. I honk she’s old enough now tot be in a different place in her life. And, I know the changes I made and how long they took, I know that’s piece for people, so why not her too?”
Drew added, “I feel goodness toward my mom. I feel empathy and understanding.” When Howard asked if she’d let her mother around her kids, the Drew said, “She’s met my kids. But there’s real boundaries and distance and a lot of respect.”