Drew Barrymore says post-divorce years were ‘cripplingly difficult’

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Drew Barrymore has spoken candidly about her divorce from art consultant Will Kopelman in 2016, describing the aftermath as “cripplingly difficult”.

The Drew Barrymore Show host said that although the split from Kopelman, to whom she was married for four years, was free from any scandal, it made it “harder” to explain what happened that led to the relationship ending.

“Nothing went wrong, which is cleaner, but makes it harder and more confusing because there isn’t The Thing to point to,” she said in a new interview. “We tried so hard to make it work.”

Speaking to People, Barrymore recalled: “[A friend] said to me, ‘Divorce is the death of a dream’. That’s exactly what it feels like, something so final you can’t get it back.”

The Music and Lyrics star and Kopelman share two daughters together, 10-year-old Olive and eight-year-old Frankie, and have been co-parents since they separated.

The actor said she was “determined” that her children would grow up with both their parents in their lives, unlike her own childhood. Her parents, John Drew and Jaid Barrymore, divorced when she was six months old, and she rarely spoke to her father.

“If I haven’t learned from that, then what was it all for?” she questioned. “This is a family, so nobody’s going anywhere. I was determined to make it work because we all loved each other so much.”

In order to keep her family together despite the divorce, Barrymore moved from California to New York City to be closer to Kopelman’s family. But she told People that winter was especially hard for her and said: “It just took me down.

“There are times where you can look at someone you think is a strong person and see them so broken and go, ‘How the f*** did they get there?’ And I was that person. I broke.”

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman in 2015, before their divorce

(Getty Images)

Barrymore, who has been married three times, has previously opened up about dating as a single mother.

In January, she tearfully told Queer Eye star Bobby Berk in a conversation on CBS Morning: “I don’t know how to date with kids. I’m not there yet. I have two young girls and, like, I don’t want to bring people home.”

In her recent interview, she reiterated that she doesn’t know how dating fits into her busy life as a working single mother.

Although Barrymore said she went on dates occasionally because “it’s a very human, natural thing to do”, she does not feel any pressure to be in a relationship thanks to her big blended family.

Kopelman announced his engagement to Vogue editor Alexandra Michler in January 2021. The pair married in September that same year, with Olive and Frankie as the flower girls at their wedding.

Barrymore has described Michler as “incredible” and told Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert podcast: “I just feel like I won the lottery with her, like, I really did. I feel like I’m lucky that there’s this new beautiful soul that came into our lives.”

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