Drew Barrymore got emotional during her recent visit to the mental health institution that she was placed in as a teenager.
In celebration of the premiere of Season 2 of The Drew Barrymore Show, the actress and talk show host, who lives in New York, took a tour of Los Angeles and stopped at the institution where she spent time as a child. She recalled the experience in a video clip, discussing how it shaped her into the woman she is today.
“I was a real wild child and I just got so out of control that no one knew what to do with me,” Barrymore, 46, tearfully shared. “They drove me here in the middle of the night and they walked me through those two doors and when you go through those two doors you do not come out. And I was there for a year and a half.”
Barrymore has been open in the past about being admitted to Van Nuys Psychiatric Hospital when she was 13 years old for 18 months, detailing moments where those in the facility were thrown in “the padded room” or “put in stretcher restraints and tied up.”
“I think this is important for me to share with people because when they watch our show we have a very beautiful set and I get to dress in nice clothing and get my hair and makeup done and there is an elegance, hopefully, to the show,” the actress said of her talk show. “But I will never lose sight of this part of my story and I have seen and been through things and they’ve helped me just recognize in all of us that we go through stuff.
She continued, “And it can’t be embarrassing. It has to be our strengths, it has to be something that we can be proud of because we overcame it and we look back with honor and humor.”
Prospect Medical — which operates the Southern California Behavioral Health Hospital at Van Nuys — told PEOPLE earlier this year that “Van Nuys Psychiatric Hospital for adolescents does not exist anymore.”
Barrymore said it was “empowering” to revisit the grounds of the facility after so long, to see how far she’s come and to feel proud of that.
“Life is so wonderful compared to what it was in this place. I can’t even believe I actually get to be where I am now because when I was here I didn’t see that, I thought I would be here forever,” she said as she continued to tear up. “I never thought I was going to make it to somewhere better and I am just so happy with my life and I don’t know if I would have the life I have if it wasn’t for a place like this. So it was so important to come here today and just like honor this.”