The best possible quote on Drew Barrymore and bipolar disorder comes from Drew herself:
I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and the lows.
Drew Barrymore is beautiful and brilliant – but is she bipolar?
Along with most of the world, I first fell in love with Drew when I saw her performance in the movie ET. That scene where she opens the closet door and she and ET just both stand there screaming is still one of my all time favorite movie moments. Drew was only 7 years old.
She was off my radar for a while and then I saw her in Ever After in 1998 when she was 23 and fell in love all over again.
Today Drew Barrymore is enjoying renewed success – not just as an actor, but as the producer of some great movies such as Charlie’s Angels, Fever Pitch and Donnie Darko.
Even more impressive was her debut as director with her outstanding documentary The Best Place to Start – a fascinating and intelligent examination of why young Americans don’t vote.
She co-founded the production company Flower Films in 1995 with friend and business partner Nancy Juvonen. Drew’s acting come-back has been inspiring, but even more striking has been the commercial acumen, vision and resourcefulness she has demonstrated as the powerhouse behind Flower Films.
Is Drew really bipolar?
Drew has never said she has bipolar disorder.
Drew’s name is listed on several sites in lists of famous bipolar people or famous people with serious depression. However, so far I have not found any explicit mention of bipolar in any of her interviews. Also, she has clearly stated that she does not medicate. Therefore, it does not seem possible to be certain that the references to bipolar disorder are accurate.
There is certainly evidence of impulsiveness! Who could forget Drew flashing her breasts on Letterman back when she was 20? And then there are the marriages – for five weeks when she was 19 to Welsh-born bartender named Jeremy Thomas in a ceremony performed in an LA bar by a clairvoyant from a psychic hotline.
Sometimes I bust out and do things so permanent. Like tattoos and marriage. (Drew Barrymore)
Drew’s second marriage, to TV host and comic Tom Green, was also strikingly short – they wed in July 2001 and had split by December!
Another reason for the association between Drew Barrymore and bipolar disorder may be Mad Love – the 1995 movie where she stars as a young bipolar woman.
Also, Drew has been afflicted with two of the most typical bipolar co-morbid conditions – alcohol and drug abuse when she was very young and panic attacks as a grown woman.
In a piece of truly weird bipolar synchronicity, Drew is the godmother of the late Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s daughter, Frances Bean.
Drew openly says she is “crazy”, and “crazy” is also an adjective she throws around freely in discussing her famous family. Just what kind of crazy is something she doesn’t seem to have made explicit.
There is such a strong family pattern of extreme peaks and troughs, alcoholism, suicide and self-destruction that manic depression sounds like the best fit. But it is hard for me to get past the fact that she is doing so well without medication.
Perhaps two of Drew’s own quotes best sum up the seeming paradox of Drew Barrymore and bipolar disorder:
I don’t want to be stinky poo poo girl, I want to be happy flower child.
The truth is that you are never mended. You just learn how to deal with the problems that intensify your disease.
More Drew sites
Drew’s Wikipedia biography is more interested in whether she is bisexual than bipolar. (The entire section entitled “Personal Life” is devoted to this – seriously!)
Sadly for anyone titillated by this possibility, Drew’s MySpace page states clearly that her sexual orientation is straight.
The best Drew site seems to be The Drew Barrymore Collective, which emphasizes Drew’s charity work for The World Food Program. The reason I like this site so much is the inclusion of so many quality articles about Drew, dating from 1984 right up until 2007. In particular, the 2000 Playboy Interview and the 2007 interview in Jane are absolute gems.