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Drew Barrymore Says She Asked Steven Spielberg To Be Her Dad While They Made ‘E.T.’

Drew Barrymore may be doing pretty well these days, what with her hosting a daytime show that’s both delightfully her and, sometimes, gobsmackingly surreal. Her childhood is another story. Indeed, she barely had one. She was in rehab by 13, having stumbled upon drinks and drugs at way too young an age. Her problems with her parents were such that she convinced a judge to declare her legally emancipated at 15. One of the only bright spots? Making E.T. with Steven Spielberg.

Vulture has a new, wide-ranging profile of Barrymore, which includes her reflecting on the movie that first made her name: E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. She was seven years old when it became the highest grosser of 1982, and though it put her on the path to the most poisonous parts of stardom, the set itself was filled with people who cared about her. It gave her a makeshift family away from her parents, from whom she would legally emancipate herself at 15.

As such, Spielberg became, as Barrymore put it, “the only person in my life to this day that ever was a parental figure.” Barrymore has already spoken about how she thought E.T. was real, which prompted Spielberg to have a few crew members constantly operate him, should she suddenly show up and learn he’s a fake. The two often lunched together, Barrymore telling him her secrets.

So one day she asked him to be her dad. He said no, but he did agree to be her godfather. She wound up staying with him on weekends. He gave her a cat. They’d go to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farms.

But soon things took a dark turn:

When she walked into the office wearing red lipstick, he told her to wipe it off. “She was staying up way past her bedtime, going to places she should have only been hearing about, and living a life at a very tender age that I think robbed her of her childhood,” he once said. “Yet I felt very helpless because I wasn’t her dad. I could only kind of be a consigliere to her.”

Barrymore suffered, but she got to the other side and reinvented herself, repeatedly. As a late teen she rebranded as a sex object. Then she shed that and became a rom-com star. She’s been an action star, a producer, a film director, and now a daytime TV host who out-weirds Aubrey Plaza. And she and Spielberg remain close to this day.

(Via Vulture and Entertainment Weekly)