Drew Barrymore Opens Up About Being Placed in a 'Psychiatric Ward' for 18 Months When She Was 13 

“I was out of control,” the actress said of her mother’s decision to institutionalize her

Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore. Photo: Presley Ann/Getty Images

Drew Barrymore is sharing details about when she was placed in a "psychiatric ward" when she was 13 years old.

"I was going to clubs and not going to school and stealing my mom's car and, you know, I was out of control," the actress, 46, shared on The Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM Monday.

She continued, "So, you know, sometimes it was as humorous as that and sometimes I was just so angry that I would go off and then I'd get thrown in 'the thing.'"

Barrymore explained that "the thing" was a "full psychiatric ward" where she spent 18 months.

"I was in a place for a year and a half called Van Nuys Psychiatric and you couldn't mess around in there. If you did, you'd get thrown either in the padded room or get put in stretcher restraints and tied up," she claimed.

"Van Nuys Psychiatric Hospital for adolescents does not exist anymore," Prospect Medical – which operates the Southern California Behavioral Health Hospital at Van Nuys – tells PEOPLE.

"Prospect Medical was not formed until 1996," a rep added. "As we were not operator of the facility at the time, we are unable to comment on this matter."

Drew Barrymore
Michael Loccisano/Getty

Barrymore said she channeled her "inner-riot girl" modeled after Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics and would cause uproars in the facility out of anger.

"It was like half a kids' facility and half an old persons' place, so as I was riling up these young girls, a woman in a walker would go by. It was hilarious," she alleged.

The Charlie's Angels star went on to explain why she believed her mother, Jaid Barrymore, decided to have her sent to the institution.

"I think she created a monster and she didn't know what to do with the monster," she said. "This was her last gasp, and I really was out of control, and I forgive her for making this choice. She probably felt she had nowhere to turn."

Barrymore later cut her mother out of her life which she called "the worst pain I've ever known."

They have since reconciled. "I feel goodness toward my mom. I feel empathy and understanding," she said.

RELATED VIDEO: Drew Barrymore Explains Why She's Never Had Plastic Surgery: 'I'm a Highly Addictive Person'

Despite the details of her experience, Barrymore said, "It was the best thing to happen to me, in a sick way, because it cooled me out."

If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

Related Articles