Drew Barrymore opens up about her 2016 split from husband Will Kopelman: 'I really did not take divorce well'

Megan Johnson
·4 min read

Despite her own troubled childhood, Drew Barrymore, 45, is determined to make sure her two daughters grow up surrounded by love and support. But upon her 2016 divorce from husband Will Kopelman, Barrymore said she feared that wouldn’t be possible.

In a revealing interview with Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist, Barrymore spoke of her own turbulent childhood, which was filled with struggles ranging from drug abuse to being blacklisted from Hollywood at age 12. Fearing that her divorce meant she wouldn’t be able to provide her daughters Olive and Frankie (now 8 and 6, respectively) with a stable home environment, Barrymore says she was initially devastated by the relationship’s failure.

"I don’t think I would have been able to talk about it as openly at first,” she explained. “I really did not take divorce well. I took it really hard.”

In a revealing new interview with Willie Geist, Drew Barrymore discussed her 2016 divorce from Will Kopelman, and their decision to put their daughters first. (Photo:  Dimitrios Kambouris/"Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)
In a revealing new interview with Willie Geist, Drew Barrymore discussed her 2016 divorce from Will Kopelman, and their decision to put their daughters first. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/"Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

The split initially put her hopes for their children in doubt.

"I think that's why I took [the divorce] so hard," she explained. "I was, like, oh, the ultimate promise I wanted to make with you and for you was to have this amazing family. And I found them. And there's something not working that isn't livable. How tragic is that?"

Ultimately, Barrymore and Kopelman — whom she wed in 2012, following marriages to bar owner Jeremy Thomas and comedian Tom Green — found a way to come together for the benefit of their children.

“But, the good news is that his family and I sort of made the most important choice: to be so together and united and connected," Barrymore shared. "That's, I guess, what they call family. I know from not growing up with any family whatsoever that that was the last thing I wanted to do for my daughters."

Of course, reflecting on the split has provided to be challenging. Barrymore told Geist it took her five years “to be able to speak with strength, articulation, perspective, hindsight, and see everything we did right,” adding, “because when we were getting divorced, it felt like everything was just wrong. I think it applies to everyone who thinks that something will be forever and it's not. It’s so hard."

Barrymore says she struggled with her divorce from Will Kopelman (pictured in 2011). (Photo: REUTERS/Kena Betancur)
Barrymore says she struggled with her divorce from Will Kopelman (pictured in 2011). (Photo: REUTERS/Kena Betancur)

Moving forward, Barrymore said she doesn’t expect to be getting remarried anytime soon.

"It's like, I don't think I've recovered from that,” said Barrymore through tears. “I don't know how to open that up again. It's like something closed, and it stayed closed. I think I'm equally as scared to find love again as I would be as if it never happened."

Now in a steady place both personally and professionally, Barrymore says her daughters have grown to be her biggest supporters.

“Like divorce, things fell into place finally,” said Barrymore. “It’s amazing that my kids and I are happy. Because there’s been a lot of times I really did question, like, ‘will we be happy?’ and we are. So that chokes me up.”

Barrymore frequently speaks of her close connection with Kopelman’s family. In a recent episode of her daytime chat show, psychic Anna Raimondi provided Barrymore with a reading. Saying that she sensed the presence of a "judge," Barrymore burst into tears, explaining that it must be David, a deceased relative of her ex-husband, who was a judge. According to Vanity Fair, Raimondi told Barrymore that David’s presence demonstrated that “you are so a part of that family. It doesn’t matter whether the two of you are together anymore.”

But it turns out that David is alive and well, according Kopelman, who told Page Six that while he fully supports his ex-wife’s endeavors, she’s off on this one.

"Drew and I have a close and highly amicable co-parenting relationship; I have and always will continue to cheer her on from the sidelines,” he said. “That being said, the segment was a solid laugh considering my uncle Judge David Kopelman is still very much alive."

A representative for Barrymore told Page Six that she was speaking of Kopelman’s deceased grandfather, who was also a judge.

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