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Drew Barrymore on the ‘confusing’ part of her divorce: ‘Nothing went wrong’

The daytime talk show host reflected on her 2016 split with Will Kopelman and the difficult year that followed.

Drew Barrymore says "there was no scandal" or specific moment that ended her marriage to Will Kopelman, but it left her "broken" during the difficult year that followed.

The actor and daytime talk show host spoke to People about how she endured struggles in the aftermath of her 2016 split with Kopelman, with whom she shares daughters Olive, 10, and Frankie, 8.

“There was no scandal. Nothing went wrong, which is cleaner, but makes it harder and more confusing because there isn’t The Thing to point to,” she said. “We tried so hard to make it work. (A friend) said to me, ‘Divorce is the death of a dream.’ That’s exactly what it feels like, something so final you can’t get it back.”

Will Kopelman and Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore and ex-husband Will Kopelman share two daughters after splitting up in 2016.Jim Spellman / WireImage

Barrymore focused on her daughters in the wake of the divorce. She was emancipated from her parents at 14 and did not want them to experience growing up without a tight-knit family.

"I know what that feels like,” she said. “If I haven’t learned from that, then what was it all for?” This is a family, so nobody’s going anywhere. I was determined to make it work because we all loved each other so much.”

Following a "cripplingly difficult" year after the divorce, Barrymore said she struggled with alcohol. She previously had struggled with addiction as a young actor in Hollywood in the 1980s.

“It was just trying to numb the pain and feel good — and alcohol totally did that for me,” she said. "The drinking thing for me was a constant, like, ‘You cannot change. You are weak and incapable of doing what’s best for you. You keep thinking you will master this thing, and it’s getting the better of you.'"

She said she has since quit drinking and focused on her daughters and her talk show.

 “After the life I planned for my kids didn’t work out — I almost think that was harder than the stuff [I went through] as a kid," she said. "It felt a lot more real because it wasn’t just me. It was about these kids that I cared so much about. And then I probably cared so much that I was only giving to them and not taking care of myself. It was a messy, painful, excruciating walk through the fire and come back to life kind of trajectory.”

Barrymore, 47, and Kopelman, 44, now have a blended family after Kopelman married fashion director Alexandra Michler last year.

“The cool thing is all these years later, we do have the dream," she said. "It’s just different than the one I swore would be the case.”