"I walked into [an] audition and the casting director just sat there laughing," recalled a 17-year-old Drew Barrymore. "He said, 'I can't believe you have the balls to walk into this audition, Little Miss Drug Addict. Right, like we're going to give you this job.' I was blacklisted, big time."
F Scott Fitzgerald said there were no second acts in American lives. But then he never got to meet Drew Barrymore actress, producer and Hollywood survivor.
Drew Blythe Barrymore was born on February 22, 1975, in Culver City, California, to John Drew Barrymore and Ildiko Jaid. Her father and mother parted company two months before she was born, however, and Jaid was left to raise baby Drew.
The budding actress' career began with a TV advert made before she had completed her first year, and, aged four, she starred in Altered States opposite Oscar winner William Hurt. Her godfather, none other than Steven Spielberg, made her a star in ET and three years later she starred in Stephen King's Cat's Eye a part written specifically for her. Then it all went terribly wrong.
Jaid started taking Drew along with her to Hollywood parties and at age nine the precocious youngster began a descent into alcohol and drug-related problems. Her mother put her into rehab, and after a suicide attempt, Drew emerged sober at age 14. She somehow maintained her now-famous optimism and chronicled the tale in her autobiography, Little Girl Lost.
Drew returned to acting, despite resistance from Hollywood's power players; but then acting was in her blood, she was born into the Barrymore acting dynasty. Her grandfather, John Barrymore Sr, was a Twenties and Thirties matinee idol, while her great aunt and uncle Lionel and Ethel starred in It's A Wonderful Life. "This is my soul, my calling, my family... And it's everything I wanted to do," she says of her profession.
After a series of forgettable telefilms and a forgettable 19-day marriage to British-born LA bar owner Jeremy Thomas she landed parts in Batman Forever and Boys On The Side before scoring with 1996's ultra-hip Scream. With 1998's The Wedding Singer and Ever After Drew cemented her return. "Success is the best revenge in the world," she said. "And I'm back."
Eager to have more creative input she reportedly gave Spielberg cinematic suggestions on the set of ET Drew and business partner Nancy Juvonen founded a production company called Flower Films in 1994. Their Never Been Kissed did solid business and paved the way for 2000's box-office hit Charlie's Angels. It was on the set of Angels, an update of the camp Seventies TV classic, that she'd seemingly meet her match in every way. Enter gross-out comic Tom Green.
The two free spirits they once surprised each other by dressing up in drag for dinner out on the town appeared to be a perfect match. The pair started dating on the set, but were immediately challenged by the unthinkable: Tom was diagnosed with testicular cancer in early 2000.
Drew remained by her new beau's side, and following a combination of treatment and laughter, Tom was given a clean bill of health. The couple wed in an ultra private ceremony in July 2001. Sadly, they split after just five months. Drew later became engaged to Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti, but, after an on-off relationship spanning nearly five years, they too called it a day in early 2007.
Drew hopes for a family of her own one day, but isn't taking the role of motherhood lightly. "It's not playing dolls," she says, perhaps recalling her troubled relationship with her own mum. Mother and daughter have since been somewhat reconciled.
"I went to hell and back," says Drew. "But I wouldn't have it any other way. Then I wouldn't be in the position I'm in happy about life and comfortable in my skin. Everything is fate."