Drew Blyth Barrymore's father was the actor John Drew Barrymore, and her mother was the Hungarian actress Ildiko Jaid Barrymore.
Her parents divorced soon after she was born, but she also has a half-brother, called John Blyth Barrymore and two half sisters - Blyth Dolores Barrymore and Brahma (Jessica) Blyth Barrymore.
As if it wasn’t enough that both her parents were actors, Drew was born into an acting dynasty that stretched back for over two hundred years. Her grandfather, John Barrymore, was widely regarded as the most outstanding and highly acclaimed actor of his generation, and her grandmother, Dolores Costello, was also a very gifted actress. A couple of generations earlier, her great-great grandparents John Drew and Louisa Lane Drew were also actors; as were her great grandparents Maurice Barrymore, Georgiana Drew and Maurice Costello.
Drew is also the grand-niece of Lionel Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore and Helene Costello, and the great grand-niece of John Drew Jr., the actress Louisa Drew, and the silent film actor/writer/director Sidney Drew. In addition, her father and half-brother are also both actors.
And if all that weren’t enough, Drew also happens to be the god-daughter of movie director Steven Spielberg. Drew’s first name was the maiden name of her paternal great-grandmother, Georgiana Drew; her middle name, Blyth, was the original surname of the acting dynasty founded by her great-grandfather, the famous Maurice Barrymore.
With such an extraordinary acting background, maybe it was a foregone conclusion that Drew should follow in the footsteps of her illustrious forbears. Amazingly, she actually made her acting debut at the age of only 11 months old, when she auditioned for a dog food commercial. Right from the start, Drew showed herself to be a true “pro” - when she was bitten by her co-star, the dog, the producers naturally assumed that she’d burst out crying - but instead, she simply laughed it off, and secured her first job on the spot!
Drew went on to even greater things at a very early age, and soon became one of Hollywood‘s foremost child actresses. She played the part of Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s classic film, 'ET: The Extra Terrestrial' at the age of seven, and this was the role that first made her famous. Two years later, she followed this up by playing the role of Casey Brodsky in 'Irreconcileable Differences'; her performance in this movie secured her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Despite the early stardom, Drew underwent a difficult and stormy childhood, which drove her to seek solace in drugs and alcohol at a shockingly young age. She was already a regular club-goer at the famous Studio 54 in New York, despite the fact that she was actually still a child, and her constant partying served to make her a well-known name in the tabloid gossip columns. She was allegedly drinking alcohol by the time she was nine, smoking marijuana at the age of ten, and had graduated to snorting cocaine by the time she reached 12.
Drew talks about this unhappy period of her life at some length in her autobiography, “Little Girl Lost“, in particular the lack of support that she feels she failed to receive from her mother. In order to underline this fact, Drew officially “divorced” her mother when she reached the age of 17. But she claims to be pleased at the fact that she succeeded in achieving a reconciliation with her father, shortly before he died. Notwithstanding her troubled relationship with her parents, Drew enrolled in a rehab programme, and succeeded in overcoming her problems with alcohol and substance abuse by the time she had left her teens.
Despite winning her battle with her addictions, Drew still retained something of a “naughty girl” image, which she capitalised upon in her comeback movie, 'Poison Ivy', in 1992. In this film, Drew played a malicious, evil-minded teenage temptress, and and cast aside her child star image in order to reinvent herself as a newfound sex symbol.
Drew also continued to attract the attention of the tabloids, thanks to her habit of allowing herself to be filmed and photographed in compromising poses. She posed nude for the January 1995 issue of Playboy magazine, much to the disgust of her god-father Steven Spielberg, who sent her a quilt as a 20th birthday present, together with a card that bore the message, “Cover Yourself Up”. He also enclosed various copies of the Playboy pictures, that he’d had specially altered by his art department, so that Drew now appeared fully clothed.
Around this same period, Drew had actually appeared in the nude in her last five movies. She also attracted media attention for her exhibitionistic behaviour during an appearance on the 'David Letterman Show'. During the interview, Drew climbed on to the talk show host’s desk and, with her back to the camera, bared both her breasts to him! Apparently, Drew’s flamboyant gesture was intended to be a birthday present for Mr Letterman...
Drew built on the success she’d achieved in 'Poison Ivy', and also appeared in the successful 1996 horror film, 'Scream'. Since her comeback in the 1990s, she has continued to be highly popular with cinema-going audiences, especially when she appears in romantic comedies, such as 'The Wedding Singer' (1998), 'Never Been Kissed' (1999) and in particular, '50 First Dates' (2004). One critic who reviewed the film described Drew as having a “smiling, coy sincerity”, and the film itself as “ingratiating and lovable”.
Barrymore also starred in the action movie 'Charlie’s Angels', where she teamed up with fellow Hollywood stars Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu; the trio of beauties have subsequently become firm friends. 'Charlie’s Angels' was one of the first films that Drew produced, and she now has her own production company called Flower Films. Shortly after the success of 'Charlie’s Angels', Drew achieved box-office success for her straight dramatic acting in 'Riding in Cars With Boys', a story that was based on the real-life story of Beverly D’Onofrio, a teenage mother who experienced a failed relationship with her drug-addicted boyfriend.
Next came Richard Kelly’s debut movie, 'Donnie Darko', where she played the character of Karen Pomeroy, Donnie Darko’s English teacher. In 2002, Drew appeared in 'Confessions of A Dangerous Mind', alongside one of the other main Hollywood leading ladies, Julia Roberts.
In 2003, Drew starred in the sequel to 'Charlie’s Angels'; this follow-up movie was called 'Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle'. To mark the occasion, Maxim Magazine featured Drew and her fellow Angels Diaz and Liu in their “Girls of Maxim” gallery, shortly after the film was released. To mark the fact that Drew Barrymore had succeeded in totally reinventing herself, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 3rd, 2004. In more recent years, Drew’s screen image has become progressively more “normal” and wholesome, in contrast to her former image as a recovering substance and alcohol abuser, “teenage sexpot” and “poor little rich girl.”
In 2005, she was the subject of a film called 'My Date With Drew', where a wannabe film-maker and Drew Barrymore fan strives to obtain a date with the celebrity object of his affections! She also scored a hit as a comedy actress through her appearance as a recurring character on the animated comedy 'Family Guy', where she played the role of Brian Griffin’s shallow girlfriend Jillian in several episodes.
In 2005 she starred in the Farrelly brothers' romantic comedy 'Fever Pitch', a remake of a 1997 British film, which paved the way for her appearance in 2007's 'Lucky You' and 'Music and Lyrics' alongside Hugh Grant. Drew has always loved to sing, and this film provided the perfect vehicle for her vocal talents, since she insisted on singing all her own songs on the movie soundtrack. This effort was rewarded with a Blimp Award nomination for favourite female movie star.
She followed this up with 'He's Just Not That Into You' (2009), which featured an ensemble cast including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Connelly and performed well at the box office. Her portrayal of Edith Bouvier Beale in the made-for-cable HBO film 'Grey Gardens' (2009) also won her further critical approval as a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress came her way. She also won a Satellite Award for Best Actress and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor for her role.
Having harboured a desire to step behind the camera and call the shots like her godfather Steven Spielberg, Drew made her directorial debut with 'Whip It' (2009) in which she also played an acting role. It received generally positive reviews and was followed by 2010's 'Going the Distance'. She will star opposite Adam Sandler once more for the comedy 'Blended'.
Drew's numerous screen performances have resulted in handsome box office returns: to date, she has a worldwide box office gross that stands in excess of $2.3 billion. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s annual Star Salary Top 10, she received the second highest salary per movie in Hollywood in 2006. Drew is a big success on TV shows too - in common with Adam Sandler, she has been a guest host on 'Saturday Night Live'. Drew also has the honour of being the youngest ever celebrity to host the show, since she first hosted SNL in 1982, when she was only 7!
Drew’s love life, however, looks to have been slightly less fortunate than her career, for she‘s been married and divorced twice. She married Jeremy Thomas in 1994, and the couple were divorced in 1995. She then married Tom Green in 2001, and got divorced in 2002. She went on to date The Strokes' drummer Fabrizio (Fab) Moretti, but the relationship ended in 2007 after five years. A union with 'Going the Distance' co-star Justin Long did not last long either. However, it's on the up as she recently married art consultant Will Kopelman in 2012. They have two daughters together - Olive (born 2012) and Frankie (born 2014).
She still considers herself an incurable romantic, however, and describes herself as “a sucker for romance”! Even if her love life runs less than smoothly, it’s almost certain that she’ll be starring in many, many more big-screen romances in movie theatres worldwide.