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Drew Barrymore Says Her Mother Tried to Date Her Boyfriends

The host and guest Brooke Shields opened up about their complicated relationships with their moms.

On her talk show, Drew Barrymore tends to be as open about her own life as her guests are about theirs—if not more so. On a recent episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, she and guest Brooke Shields had a candid and emotional conversation about the complex relationships they had with their respective mothers. Both women were child stars who were managed by their mothers. And while mixing a professional arrangement with family already complicates it, the actors bonded over other ways in with their moms crossed lines in their personal lives.

During their chat, Drew and Brooke both expressed that their mothers were "in love" with them, which they say presented itself in different ways. While Brooke said her closeness with her mother meant that she was "cut off" from her own sexuality, Drew said that her mother tried to date her boyfriends. Read on to see what else the actors shared and how they feel about these intense relationships now.

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Drew claimed that her mother got involved in her romantic life.

During the April 11 episode, Drew told her guest that her mom, Jaid Barrymore, was inspired by Brooke's mom, Teri Shields, to manage her career instead of hiring someone else. Drew is nine year's Brooke's junior, so her mother was able to look at the older actor's career as an example. At one point in the discussion, Drew asked Brooke, "By the way, I was so confused about sexuality because my mom then went and dated my boyfriends. Did you ever have that weird situation with your mom?"

"No, because she was in love with me," Brooke responded. "I was her main focus. And both of us were going to be cut off from our sexuality. I was going to stay a virgin. She was going to just be Teri terrific and being there."

Brooke described the obsession their mothers had with them as "sad."

Drew Barrymore and Brooke Shields on "The Drew Barrymore Show"
The Drew Barrymore Show / YouTube

Drew shared her theory of what was happening with her mom. "I think my mom might have been so enamored with me that she actually wanted to be with the people I was with," she said.

To this, Brooke replied, "I don't get it, but I get it. It's so layered, and it's so needy, and it's so sad and broken."

Drew added that she loves that both of them are able to have a sense of humor about their relationships with their mothers.

"We're sitting here laughing about the fact that our moms were so in love with us that they behaved so absolutely inappropriately," she said. "And we have our sense of humor in tact and I love us for that."

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Drew was emancipated at a young age.

Drew Barrymore at the premiere of "Longtime Companion" in 1990
Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Drew is a member of the Barrymore family of actors, which stretches to the beginning of the movie industry and beyond that to theater in London. Her father is actor John Drew Barrymore. When she was seven years old, she starred as Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and she continued to act from then on.

When she was 14 years old, Drew became emancipated from her parents—her mother raised her as she was already mostly estranged from her dad. Prior to this, she had been placed in a mental health institution by her mother for a year-and-a-half. She had already been abusing substances and gone to rehab.

"It's no secret that I had to part ways from my mother because we had driven our relationship into the ground," Drew wrote in her 2015 memoir, Wildflower (via The Guardian). "She had lost credibility as a mother by taking me to Studio 54 (so wrong, but so fun) instead of school. And I was out of control due to working since I was 11 months old and what that had done to my childhood, which made me grow up too fast."

She has a better relationship with her mom today.

Drew has shared that she is on good terms with Jaid today, despite their history. (Brooke's mother Teri died in 2012.)

"I will always support her," Drew told People in December 2022. "I can't turn my back on the person who gave me my life. I can't do it. It would hurt me so much. I would find it so cruel. But there are times where I've realized that our chemistry and behavior will drum up a feeling in me where I have to say, 'Okay, I need a break again.'"

Similarly, in her book, Drew wrote of her mom, "I still support her—I must know that she is taken care of or I simply cannot function. I am grateful to this woman for bringing me into this world, and it would crush me to know she was in need anywhere. It is not who I am to harbor any anger for the fact that our life together was so incredibly unorthodox."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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