In a candid and thoughtful reflection on her “wild card” dad, Drew Barrymore celebrated Father’s Day with a throwback photo of her late father, John Drew Barrymore, on Instagram on June 21. Alongside a black-and-white image that also features her mother, Jaid, Barrymore offered some honest insights into growing up with an unconventional and complicated parent — and also expressed gratitude for the “wildness” that she inherited from her film actor dad, who died in 2004.
“My mom chose a wild card for my dad,” Barrymore wrote. “He was a mad poet hedonist man child! But I understood that as a kid. Somehow I have zero baggage or dad issues.” Writing that she “would have liked to have a dad who didn’t look so out there,” or “who stayed,” or “was capable of anything really,” Barrymore mused, “His wildness runs through me. His gifts are here. His demons to overcome are mine to break!” She added, “And as I look at all the photos of dads today, doing their dad job, sure, there is my tiny self that wished for him to fit in. But he never did. And I’m not sure I did either.”
“And I’m not sure what anything is supposed to look like, or what it really is beyond the images?!" Barrymore continued. "But I do know this... both my parents have played a major role in who I am as a parent. And none of it looks perfect. But it functions with so much love.” She concluded, “My dad gave me the gift of life! A wicked sense of humor! And that wildness that I truly do cherish.”
The Santa Clarita Diet actor has long been candid about her tumultuous upbringing as a child actor. Legally emancipated from her parents at 14, Barrymore has touched on how her past drug use and turbulent relationship with her mother has informed her in adulthood. During an interview with Norm Macdonald on his Netflix series Norm Macdonald Has a Show in 2018, Barrymore said of becoming famous at such a young age, “It really is a recipe for disaster. But you know what's exciting? I got my sh*t over with at, like, 14. Like, midlife crisis, institutionalized, blacklisted, no family. Like, got it done, and then got into the cycle of being my own parent, figuring it out.”
Now a mother to daughters Olive, 7, and Frankie, 6, with ex-husband Will Kopelman, Barrymore has since maintained a relationship with her mother, Jaid. She similarly paid tribute to her mom on Mother’s Day with a selfie of the two on Instagram last year and wrote, “Proud. Me and my mom. On Mother's Day!” Given how tough these holidays can be on those with complicated relationships with their parents, Barrymore's honesty is a breath of fresh air.