Drew Barrymore Reveals Time in Psychiatric Ward at 13

Actress Drew Barrymore opened up about her childhood in a recent interview with Howard Stern.

The actress revealed she was placed in a psychiatric ward for a year and a half at the age of 13.

The Decision

“I would channel my inner riot girl,” Barrymore confessed.

Barrymore was fascinated with powerful female pop stars, and tried to channel them during acts of rebellion. The actress used to skip school and take her mother’s car without permission.

Barrymore was confused by her mother’s decision to admit her at the time, but has come to respect that call.

“I think she created a monster and didn’t know what to do with the monster. This was her last gasp,” said the 46-year-old. 

She mentioned that Hollywood’s portrayals of psych wards are largely unrealistic. Barrymore compared it to her own experiences at Van Nuys Psychiatric, which ran a rather strict regime.

Causing trouble at the ward meant getting “thrown either in the padded room or get[ting] put in stretchers and tied up”.


Looking back,  the “Charlie’s Angels” actress finds humor in the situation.

The star revealed the strict rules only served to rile up young Drew. Barrymore would urge fellow in-patients to join in on her mini “revolutionary” demonstrations on a regular basis.

Barrymore was readmitted to rehab at age 14. She filed for emancipation from her parents at only 15, living independently from them ever since.

The “Never Been Kissed” actress told Stern that she no longer harnesses a grudge against her mother.

“We have spent our whole lives trying to figure things out,” she said.

The two have been working on patching up their relationship.

Now, as a mother of two daughters herself, Barrymore has since mellowed out. Learning from her own experiences, she has decided to raise her children quite differently from her upbringing.

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