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Drew Barrymore had a hard transition leaving L.A. for New York. Here’s how she coped


Drew Barrymore, who grew up in LA, is a very reluctant New Yorker.

After moving to New York so that her daughters, Olive and Frankie, could be closer to father Will Kopelman’s family, the couple’s dynamic quickly shifted and they separated, divorcing in 2016. Still, the actor-producer-host sold her home in Hollywood Hills. in 2018.

Now Barrymore has a house in Manhattan and another in the Hamptons, but it still doesn’t quite feel like home, she told The Times’ Amy Kaufman.

“If you think I don’t spend every night at Zillow doing research…,” Barrymore told her LA interviewer with a coy smile. ‘I’m sure I’ll be there again. This is just a chapter.”

She’s had other chapters in New York, but they didn’t seem quite as real as this one.

“I’ve been coming to New York since 1982. But I’ve always felt like it’s like plugging in,” Barrymore, 48, told Kaufman. “When I was a kid I totally loved Times Square because it looked exactly like Hollywood Boulevard, and I grew up with that. So I was like, okay, okay, I see the similarities.

“You know, a lot of them were taboo at the X-rated movie theaters, and, you know, the more tawdry side of life. But that felt safe and familiar to me because that was what was in my West Hollywood backyard.”

But New York was just a “playground where I’d stay awhile,” she said, and she’d “run back” to LA. She never felt that New York was her home.

Then it became her only home.

“I think I had to sell my house in Los Angeles to realize: this is all you have now. This is what you got,” Barrymore said. ‘And here you are. So you have to embrace it in a way that you’ve never really been able to.

Moving out of the 8,000-square-foot home she’s owned since 2002 wasn’t easy. Most of her friends were in LA. The only “unit” she had in New York was her ex’s family. (She’s still good friends with Kopelman’s sister, Jill Kargman, even after the divorce.)

“I sobbed hysterically. I didn’t want to move here. I also think, like the area code 90046 is my one constant. I grew up there as a little baby. And that’s where I lived until I moved here and had to sell my house. It was so difficult.”

Barrymore felt “really lost,” she said, and didn’t know what to do with her life.

For the details of what came next — including heavy drinking, being dumped by her therapist, quitting drinking (again), and the near-flop of her syndicated talk show — read Kaufman’s full profile of Drew Barrymore.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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