Drew Barrymore’s therapist explains why he quit: ‘Chronic self-destructive behaviors’

A woman with long brown hair wearing a chunky necklace, earrings and a pink outfit
Drew Barrymore attends the 2022 Daytime Emmy Awards in Pasadena.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)
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Over the weekend, Drew Barrymore said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that her therapist once dropped her because of her excessive alcohol consumption.

Now, her therapist is telling his side of the story.

In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Barrymore’s longtime therapist, Barry Michels, explained Wednesday why he decided to stop treating the actor and TV host in the wake of her 2016 divorce. Michels is a prominent celebrity psychoanalyst who has been endorsed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Adam McKay.

At 48, Drew Barrymore has survived divorce, quitting alcohol and leaving her beloved Los Angeles. Now she’s trying to embrace herself as she forges ahead in a new direction — talk show host.

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“Occasionally a therapist has to suspend treatment until a patient is willing to stop certain chronic self-destructive behaviors that are impeding the therapy,” Michels told EW.


“Fortunately, in this case, I was dealing with Drew Barrymore — one of the strongest and most stalwart people I’ve ever met. ... She did the right thing for herself, and we were able to resume our treatment together.”

Michels’ response lines up with what Barrymore previously said about how things went down. While speaking with The Times’ Amy Kaufman, the “Never Been Kissed” star opened up about spiraling into a deep depression after she and her husband of four years, art consultant Will Kopelman, split in 2016.

‘You can look at someone you think is a strong person and see them so broken. ... And I was that person,’ Drew Barrymore said. ‘I broke.’

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“[Michels] just said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” Barrymore recalled. “It was really about my drinking. I said, ‘I get it. I’ve never respected you more. You see I’m not getting better. And I hope, one day, that I can earn your trust back.’”

Barrymore added that, after a two-year break, she reached back out to Michels and let him know that she quit drinking. He agreed to see her again.

“I don’t stay stuck,” Barrymore said.