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Drew Barrymore Says This Experience Made Her Stop Doing Sex Scenes

The star says the moment "was the end of an era," prompting a major career change for her.

Drew Barrymore has been a staple in movies and on TV for over 40 years, transforming from adorable child star to a respected entrepreneur, actress, producer, and talk show host along the way. The star says that one particular experience was the catalyst for her decision to make major changes in her career and personal life—and it's what prompted her to never film another sex scene again. Read on to discover what Barrymore says led to the shift in her career, and for more stars who've opened up about getting intimate on screen, Salma Hayek Said This Was the Hardest Sex Scene She Ever Had to Film.

A talk show interview led Barrymore to change her stance on sex scenes.

drew barrymore holding copy of her book, wildflower, in front of barnes and noble sign
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In 1995, during an interview on the Late Show with David Letterman, Barrymore famously climbed atop host David Letterman's desk, danced, and eventually flashed him.

In Barrymore's memoir, Wildflower (via Marie Claire), she admitted that, upon watching the footage of her Letterman appearance later on, she suddenly realized she wanted to make changes in her life.

"As I watched myself and my friends laughing from an objective perspective, I realized right then and there that this was the end of an era for me," Barrymore explained. "And so I started my journey into no sex scenes in movies, modesty clauses in my contracts, and a total lack of nudity in any public forum from there on out." And for more shocking interview moments, Kathie Lee Gifford Says This Celeb Was Her Worst "Live" Interview Ever.

Barrymore has since called the infamous dance "innocent and spontaneous."

drew barrymore smiling on red carpet
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Christian Siriano

While Barrymore's desktop performance has become an iconic moment in late night history, Barrymore admitted that it wasn't planned.

When Letterman made a surprise appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show in Feb. 2021, Barrymore said the infamous dance was just some innocent fun, commending Letterman's response to it.

"It was all very playful and well-intended and I just had no idea where it was going," said Barrymore. "I hope that I can be half the man that Dave is right now and just let something innocent and spontaneous be innocent and spontaneous."

She admitted to having a crush on Letterman.

drew barrymore wearing floral maxi dress in front of white step-and-repeat
John Lamparski/WireImage

While Barrymore may have considered her table dance innocent and playful, she also admitted to finding Letterman attractive at the time.

"I think you're so cute. I did. I had a crush on you forever," Barrymore told Letterman during his 2021 appearance on her show. And for more juicy details from celebrity interviews, James Corden Says This Was the Worst Guest He Ever Had.

Barrymore said Letterman's reaction informed how she treats others.

drew barrymore in yellow shirt and pencil skirt
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The Drew Barrymore Show

Barrymore commended Letterman for being gracious toward her, both in that moment and in the many years that have followed.

"You taught me in that moment how to be as a human being, because I was shocked and I almost was like, 'Should I be embarrassed? Did I do something bad? Am I in trouble?' And I knew in that moment, that with one turn, you could have gone, 'Why did you do that? What's wrong with you?' And instead, you had that smile and you said to everyone, 'This moment is okay,'" Barrymore explained. And for the latest celebrity news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Letterman said the table dance cemented their friendship.

david letterman smiling in black suit on red carpet
Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

During his 2021 interview on Barrymore's talk show, Letterman explained that he considers Barrymore a genuine friend, and that her table dance was a factor in their relationship becoming so close.

"I recognized it immediately as being unique. It had not happened prior to me and has not happened since to me. Later, I was thinking, 'Aw, geez, what if she goes and does this on Leno's show? Then I'll really be upset,'" Letterman joked. "But it was kind of a connection for us throughout the rest of our existence here."

Barrymore recreated the infamous moment in 2021.

drew barrymore standing on table while david letterman and savannah guthrie look on
CBS Media Ventures

While Barrymore may be keeping her performances more PG these days, she happily poked fun at her infamous dance routine. During Letterman's appearance on Barrymore's eponymous talk show, Barrymore climbed atop the table on set in a nod to the 1995 clip.

"Get off the furniture!" Letterman yelled at the star. And for more surprising celebrity confessions, Holly Madison Says Anyone Moving into the Playboy Mansion Had to Do This.


Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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