Drew Barrymore on the challenges of finding love as a single mom: 'I don’t know how to date with kids'

·5-min read

Drew Barrymore, on the dating market for six years now, admits putting herself out there as a single mom has been an at-times difficult process.

In an upcoming episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, airing Thursday, the affable producer and host sits down with a few stars of Netflix’s Queer Eye, during which Barrymore tearfully reveals for the first time, “I don’t know how to date with kids.”

It's a moment of self-discovery Barrymore says she didn’t expect, and one that she hopes other single moms can relate to.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 10: Drew Barrymore attends the 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards at The Grill & The Pool Restaurants on November 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Drew Barrymore is opening up about the inner challenges she faces as a single mom in the dating pool. (Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

“I had never realized and said out loud that I don’t know how to date with kids,” Barrymore said on CBS This Morning while promoting the episode. “My kids’ dad [Will Kopelman] is happily remarried with the most wonderful woman in the world, Allie [Michler]. My children have this extraordinary stepmom. Our processes have been different and their side of the street is so functional and whole and happening. And I think I’ve been on the sidelines — in a beautiful, honoring purgatory.

“I’ve been saying 'It’s me,’ ‘It’s my choice,’ ‘I’m not ready,’ ‘I wanna wait,’” she continued. “I don’t think I’ve said out loud that it's really because I have these two daughters.”

Barrymore shares daughters Olive, 9, and Frankie, 7, with her third husband Will Kopelman, from whom she divorced in 2016. She'd previously been married to bar owner Jeremy Thomas and comedian Tom Green.

“I’ve been single for six years and I’ve [no idea] how to do this,” she added of dating. “I’ll go on an occasional date but that’s only in the last two years. It took me four to even step out there. And people have different processes. Then enter a pandemic, where you think maybe I should step out of my comfort zone and see.”

But dating in a pandemic isn’t Barrymore’s cup of tea. “I also honestly found Zoom dates really unromantic,” she explained. “They’re just a reminder to me of the state of the world that were living in. However, counterpoint, you can’t fight City Hall. Online dating is where it’s at.”

While she didn’t expect to have such an emotional response talking about dating as a single mom, Barry hopes her story inspires other parents to step "into our bravery.”

As far as the kind of man she’s looking for, well, it’s definitely someone who isn’t “interested in marriage or kids.”

Still, that doesn't mean she's ready to walk down the aisle anytime soon. “Never!” she exclaimed at the prospect of getting married again.

“There’s no reason to be. I would maybe live with someone, maybe, but I’ve had kids. There’s no way. I will never ever ever ever [get married],” she added. “This is not just about me being stuck. This is about, when you’re a single mom, it’s a dynamic that I have probably not been able to figure out yet. And that’s OK to have patience with ourselves.”

Barrymore has been open about her divorce, explaining in the past that she was initially devastated by the relationship’s failure, fearing that it would provide an unstable home for her kids.

"I think that's why I took [the divorce] so hard," she elaborated on Sunday TODAY in October 2020. "I was, like, oh, the ultimate promise I wanted to make with you and for you was to have this amazing family. And I found them. And there's something not working that isn't livable. How tragic is that?"

Despite her concern, Barrymore added that she and Kopelman found a great system for co-parenting, one that benefits the children.

“His family and I sort of made the most important choice: to be so together and united and connected," she shared. "That's, I guess, what they call family. I know from not growing up with any family whatsoever that that was the last thing I wanted to do for my daughters."

The actress also spoke about the experience in her new memoir Rebel Homemaker, revealing that she “unravelled” when trying to process the end of her marriage while living in New York City with her daughters.

“Lightless, grey, wet, soggy days trying to find a rental apartment, wishing I could run back to California so badly, but I knew that would separate my daughters from the other half of their family, and I would do no such thing,” she writes, according to an excerpt printed in Body+Soul.

"I struggled for the next several years to try to figure out a way to make Manhattan a place where I felt comfortable. Then the pandemic hit. I think I slowly unravelled and yet I felt things I didn't know possible."