Tales out of School: Drew Barrymore

One time I went to interview Drew Barrymore at a restaurant in West Hollywood, and she seemed kind of down. I’d written about her a bunch of times before, starting from when she was nineteen, and so I had a pretty good idea of how she moved through the world on an average day, and this was not it. Even when Drew’s serious, she likes to play. But on this night she was distracted and quiet. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me: She’d just found out that her boyfriend (who has to remain nameless) had been cheating on her; she’d found letters that went way back.

She spent the whole night telling me the story, and crying, and all of it was off the record. Which is intense, because I was on assignment, and this was supposed to be the only time I was seeing her. I can’t remember the magazine I was writing for*, but it was a big one and I hadn’t done my job. What’s worse, I couldn’t tell my editor that this had happened—what if she/he told me I had to write about it?

Drew understood that we had a problem, so she invited me to the photo shoot the next day at her house. This was the house in the hills that later burned down.** It didn’t have any furniture in it, except for in this one room that was like a den, with couches and books. So we spent a lot of the day sitting on the floor with other ladies there for work (the stylist, the make-up lady, etc.), all of whom looked like Cameron Diaz.

The phone rang at one point and Drew went upstairs to answer it. After a few minutes, you could hear her running down the bare hallway. It sounded like a stampede of kids chasing each other around with dogs. She came bounding into the room after a minute yelling, “A boy called me! A boy called me!” I don’t feel comfortable telling you who it was, except that he’s a super famous funny person who makes movies—one of these: Steve Martin, Buster Keaton, Billy Crystal, Jim Carey, Woody Allen, Red Buttons, Adam Sandler, Max von Sydow, Jerry Seinfeld. He’d asked her out on a date.

She was psyched. They were going to go to the movies. (How does that work?) Much of the rest of the day was discussing whether she should wear jeans or trousers to the date, or a skirt. That evolved into the question, Should a boy wear a jacket on such an occasion or not. I guess this was a date with a capital D. The Date didn’t go anywhere, apparently, but at least the thought of it restored her to her old self.

*That’s a lie.
**Remind me to tell you about the time I burned the house down.

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