An 11-month-old Barrymore makes her acting debut in a Puppy Chow commercial. She comes from a long line of famous Barrymore stage and screen actors, including her grandfather John, great-aunt Ethel and great-uncle Lionel, although her relationship with father John Drew Barrymore – whom her mother left while pregnant with Drew – will be a cold one for most of her life. Her first memory of him, she tells PEOPLE, is when he threw her, then three, against a wall during a drunken fit. "I couldn't figure out how to deal with him," she says.
Called a "natural ham" by director Steven Spielberg, Barrymore is cast as Gertie in E.T., which becomes the fourth-most successful film in history. "One day I was a little girl, and the next day I was being mobbed by people who wanted me to sign my autograph or pose for pictures or who just wanted to touch me," she tells PEOPLE in 1989. "I was this 7-year-old who was expected to be going on a mature 29."
Barrymore dances until 2 a.m. at New York City nightclub Limelight for her 10th birthday. "I was a club-hopper at 10, as much as a 10-year-old can be," she tells PEOPLE in 1989. "I would sleep over at a friend's house, and we would sneak out."
Barrymore has her first drink at 9, begins smoking pot at 10, and takes cocaine at 12. Her mom checks her into ASAP Family Treatment Center, a private drug and alcohol rehab hospital. She stays 12 days before leaving to film Far from Home. After 85 sober days, she does cocaine in a New York nightclub bathroom. She steals her mom's credit card and flies to L.A. Her mom hires private agents that force her back into ASAP.
Barrymore slashes her wrist with a kitchen knife in July and is sent to rebab for a three-month stint. Afterwards, she spends three months with musician David Crosby and his wife, Jan Dance, both survivors of alcohol and drug abuse. "I didn't want to see her go down the tubes," Crosby tells PEOPLE. "She needed to be around some people that were committed to sobriety." Barrymore never relapses again and chronicles her struggles in the 1990 autobiography Little Girl Lost.
Fifteen-year-old Barrymore successfully petitions juvenile court for an emancipation decree, which makes her a legal adult with the same rights and privileges as an 18-year-old. Barrymore also moves into her own apartment in L.A.. "That's been a huge big deal," she tells PEOPLE. "But I think my mom and I have worked out the move. It's not like I don't see her or talk to her every day."
L.A. bar-owner Jeremy Thomas, 31, and Barrymore, 19, get hitched after dating for six weeks. A minister-psychic-private detective – found via a 24-hour wedding hotline – presides over the ceremony inside Thomas' bar The Room. "We're trying to figure out (living arrangements) now," she tells PEOPLE. "Usually people live together first and then get married. I guess we're doing it the old-fashioned way. Kind of." She files for divorce less than two months later.
During an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Barrymore talks about her striptease experience at a Manhattan bar and coyly asks Letterman if he'd like so see her dance. With her back to the camera, she jumps on his desk and flashes her breasts to the surprised host, who is celebrating his 48th birthday. "I can't thank you enough for that," he replies.
After being named one of PEOPLE's 50 Most Beautiful, Barrymore stars as Luke Wilson's wife in the wedding/bank robbery comedy Best Men; they appear together in 1998's Home Fries. "From the moment I saw him, I realized he was the most incredible person I'd ever been so fortunate to meet," Barrymore tells PEOPLE in 1998. The costars start an offscreen romance, but calls it quits in 1999.
In a romantic comedy boom, Barrymore stars in The Wedding Singer as the object of Adam Sandler's affection and 1999's Never Been Kissed, where she goes undercover to high school. The film is also the first title her production company, Flower Films, releases.
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