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Drew Barrymore: Why I Have Embraced Judaism

01/28/2013 at 02:00 PM ET

Drew Barrymore Embraces Judaism
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Drew Barrymore has finally found her Ever After — and she’s not about to let her fairytale ending slip away.

During a Friday appearance on The View, the actress admitted her relationship with husband Will Kopelman is one she will never take for granted.

“You know me, I would never have messed this up. This is the most important thing I’ll ever do with my life,” she said. “I chose well, I’m so lucky he loves me back. It’s fantastic.”

Sharing that the art consultant is “a nice Jewish man from a nice Jewish family,” Barrymore has happily embraced Kopelman’s religion, and plans to raise the couple’s daughter Olive in the faith as well.

“I’m a shiksa. I do the seders and we do Passover. I haven’t converted yet, [but] Olive will be raised traditionally,” she explains. “We had a very traditional wedding ceremony with Rabbi Rubenstein and I did the ketubah. We wore the yarmulkes and we did the chuppah.”

Her decision to delve into practicing Judaism has brought an inner peace to the new mom. “I’m there, I love it! It’s a beautiful faith and I’m so honored to be around it,” she says. “It’s so family-oriented … The stories are so beautiful and it’s incredibly enlightening. I’m really happy.”

But while Barrymore is continuing tradition in some ways, she’s adamant that history will not be repeating itself in others — especially when it comes to her daughter’s happiness.

“I was such a hippie growing up, but I’m like the least loosey-goosey parent. I’m like, ‘Bedtime, structure, feeding time’ because this baby is so happy knowing when everything is happening,” she notes.

“And I as a parent succeed and thrive knowing when everything is happening [under] that type of structure.”

Although she is without “a shred of remorse” over her own upbringing — “I celebrate my journey [because] I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t done everything I did,” she explains — Barrymore, 37, is not willing to take any risks with Olive’s childhood.

“I grew up very differently … which was really fun, but I think kids need structure so I would not just throw caution to the wind and hope everything works out,” she states. “I will make sure that it does in a very timely manner.”

– Anya Leon

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Showing 66 comments

Lorelei on

I am really happy for her and her beautiful family. The structure they are giving their little girl is so removed from what she grew up with but I love the fact that she recognizes she wouldn’t be where she is without going through all the good and the bad.

irony on

This is her 3rd marriage which makes her statement about chosing well seem like a joke…right??

RKF on

Love her and welcome to our religion. :) I’m not religious at all – more traditional, but couldn’t be happier with my Jewish upbringing. She sounds like a wonderful parent thus far and I’m glad to see how truly happy she is. Olive is a lucky baby.

tina on

I’m so happy for Drew, sounds like she finally has her stuff together.

LIsa on

It is incredible how Drew has turned her life around and is now leading such a fulfilling and admirable life. Just a note, just as Drew is a “shiksa” so too is olive. Drew would have had to have undergone conversion BEFORE Olive was born, so if she wants Olive to be “Jewish” as well the baby would need to be independantly converted. (Additionally, if a child is converted as an infant they have to reaffirm the conversion in adulthood, if they so choose, but a rabbi should be consulted for the actual details) Furthermore, in order for the conversion to be “kosher” by all opinions, it is best done by an Orthodox Rabbi and Bais Din (Jewish Court).

SoNotHollywood on

Irony, my thoughts exactly. There is no structure in broken marriages.

KS on

LOVE HER!! She is a true and shining example of how you can overcome your dysfunctional upbringing. She isn’t perfect and she doesn’t have to be, but she is at least trying to learn from life. So happy for her!

meghan on

It’s called learning from your mistakes and growing up. You should try it.

Lynn on

Lisa,
You are correct about Orthodox and many Conservative congregations, but in Reform Judaism, my daughters are definitely considered Jewish. I did not formerly convert, but my husband and I raised our daughters in the Jewish faith. There has never been a moment in our congregation (one of the largest Reform congregations in the US) when the girls have not feel Jewish or welcomed.

Sarah on

I really love Drew. I have been rooting for her for a long time and it seems like she totally has her stuff together and you can tell she just loves being a mom.

Danielle on

Any religion brings peace to the soul and specially the Judeo Christian, because everything comes from there.

jones on

Drew is an example of someone who has learned from her past and used it to change in a positive way.

Gina on

She will do anything for attention – including converting to Judaism. Interesting how some people have forgotten her multiple sex partners (which included women).

Lisa on

“I grew up very differently … which was really fun, but I think kids need structure so I would not just throw caution to the wind and hope everything works out,” she states. ”I will make sure that it does in a very timely manner.”

Umm, yeah.. good luck with that. Structure is one thing, control is another. It sounds like she thinks as long as she stays in complete control of every little thing in her life, her “fairy-tail ending” wont fall apart. Sorry to say, it just doesn’t work that way.

Kids need balance (structure and freedom)! Relax, realize good and bad things are going to happen. The more you box yourself into that glass house, the worse it will shatter with the tiniest crack.

Snowbird on

I always question those who were brought up in one faith and then decides to convert because of their new spouse.

My cousin did this – she was brought up in a Canadian Irish Catholic household – very strong convictions towards Christ and married a man who is jewish. Their marriage has lasted more than 35 years; however, even with she converted she always brought her kids to her mom’s for Christmas and Easter. She continued to celebrate those religious ceremonies including midnight mass; so my question is why do you have to convert? Why do you need to change your beliefs? Just because someone is jewish and catholic they can live a healthy marriage without feeling they need to be one or the other. You don’t. It can be an individual part of who you are even though you spouse may not have the same religious faith.

My mom was catholic and my dad protestant. At the age of 16 we were baptized under whichever faith we chose. We were exposed to both churches. One week we went to Catholic service and the next we went to Protestant. Of the 9 kids in my family there are 5 of us protestant, 2 catholics, 1 7 day Adventist and one athesist.

Laurie on

For those who are saying this is her third marriage, well third time’s the charm! Best wishes & much happiness to Drew & her family! She has been through a lot growing up! She deserves every happiness!

sparkle74 on

Someone down below mentioned there is no structure in broken marriages, I beg to differ, my mother did an incredible job by herself with 4 children…very structured. I could not imagine her and my father together. People who stay together because of the children, are pretty sad individuals. I have seen numerous times how these children have then watched their parents fight and dislike each other and then they themselves as adults go and choose similar partners with the same characteristics of berating each other. Children are not niave and see very clearly how adults treat each other. A good single parent can do an equally if not better job than a married unhappy, fighting couple.

cat on

Drew is the type of woman who loses her self in every relationship she has been in. In the past whomever she dated, she changed the way she dressed and took on the same interest and pesonality of her current boyfriend. Not to say she isn’t sincerely embracing judaism, it is natural to want to share the faith of your partner if you agree with the teachings of the religion.

It’s just a pattern with her and i get she is excited to be a mom but motherhood is not perfect and relationships aren’t either so she should be a little more reticent about her personal relationship and her child. I think she will try hard to not be like her own mother, we get that already. But having a jewish husband doesn’t mean a perfect husband and family. Hope everything works out for them because she seems so earnest and desperate for it to be “perfect.”

anonymous on

what a shining example of a happily ever after

anonymous on

what a shining example of happily ever after

Jennifer on

Danielle, there is no such thing as ‘judeo christian’. two completely different religions with nothing in common. jews don’t believe in jesus & Christianity is built upon jesus so …..nothing. in . common.

Purple on

Welcome, Drew! Can’t think of a better addition to the Tribe. Enjoy the next chapter in your journey. May it be one filled with self-discovery, questions and lots of laughter.

w on

I love her and don’t care that it’s her third marriage, but it is funny that she would say that she ” chooses well” after two divorces at such a young age

JR Jake on

Nice sentiments below by a few Jewish people welcoming her to the community. I wonder if you will feel the same way when she flashes a couple of your Rabbi’s as she has been so prone to do in the past.

Kat on

D. Trump’s daughter also converted to Judaism b4 she married the guy.

Happy for Drew….

meghan on

JR, do you ike being judged by the choices you made at 19? Do you act the way you did at 19? It was 18 years ago, get over it.

holly on

Jennifer, Judaism follows the Hebrew Bible, also known to Christians as the Old Testament. The Jews don’t believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah so they do not follow the Christian Bibles New Testament. So yes,there is a connection between the two.

Misty on

Jennifer, in response to:
Danielle, there is no such thing as ‘judeo christian’. two completely different religions with nothing in common. jews don’t believe in jesus & Christianity is built upon jesus so …..nothing. in . common.

I BEG TO DIFFER! Christianity is built upon judism. We believe in the old testiment, we just happen to believe the promised savior of the jews was fulfilled in Jesus. Yes they are two totally different religions, but you are wrong to say no such thing as ‘judeo christian’, unless you just don’t understand what the term means. There are shared beliefs between Jews and Christians, as found in the Old Testiment.

quick as a flashlight on

Recovering addicts have a tendency to take things to the extremes. It’s wonderful what she said, wish her luck.

Sammie on

I do admire that she’s pulled herself out of the sewer that used to be her life. But she’s a bubble head to the core. I want this article to come back up in 5 years. If she’s still with hubby in 5 yrs, I’ll eat crow.

Marky on

Jennifer, the term, Judeo christian, refers to the fact that Christianity comes from a Jewish background, so to speak. Christ was the fulfillment of the many prophecies regarding the Messiah in the Torah, and the books of the Old Testament. All Christians believe the Messiah was Jewish, as was His mother; because He was the fulfillment of the OT prophecies, and was Jewish, and Christians study the OT as well as the New Testament, there is definitely a connection, hence the term Judeo Christian.

Brandi on

They say the third time’s a charm, lol. I love Drew and wish her all the best with her marriage and baby :)

Anita on

Jennifer, “Judeo Christian” is as very common concept, and the two have a lot in common: the original roots of both are the Old Testament. And it’s not that the Jews don’t believe Jesus existed. He just wasn’t their Messiah, but the 10 Commandments are the basic tenets of both faiths.

Brandi on

Gina, lucky you that you’re so perfect and have never made any mistakes in your life. Instead of being negative and trying to throw her past in her face, you should try wishing her well. It’s called growing up…something you apparently still need to work on ;)

Karen on

There’s a reason the hippies all died out. I’m glad Drew is so grounded and so happy.

jaja on

I find it so strange when people convert for marriage. My beliefs aren’t that changeable…and Jennifer, I think you need to learn some religious history – Judaism and Christianity have plenty in common.

Anonymous on

Jennifer, Judeo-Christian is a historical term used in any high school and college to describe the linked religions. We started from the same place, just ended up in different ones. There is also a term called Judeo-Islamic, for the same reason. It distinguishes from polydeism and other, non-Judeo religions.

rjf2013 on

I converted to Catholicism for the same reasons. I love it and am happy to be a part of something with my husband and child.

shosh on

Wow, her accent, speech pattern and mannersims have totally changed. As a northeast Jew, I can say with certainty, she’s definitely been spending a lot of time with the tribe!

Dona on

It’s very disrespectful to jews for her to not convert and claim that she practices the religion. Also, according to jewish law, whatever the mother’s religion at the time of birth, that is also the child’s religion. It doesn’t matter if she has done seders and cooked shabbat dinners. Without a conversion by the mother before birth that child isn’t jewish and would require her own conversion to be jewish as well.

PS – she says she’s happy all the damn time! Her whole life she’s been claiming to be on cloud 9, insisting she never has been before. Good thing I don’t buy into her bs, she’ll be divorced and saying someone else makes her “finally” happy in no time.

ann on

I have a friend who is Catholic and her doctor husband is Jewish. She has stayed Catholic and he Jewish for all 50 years of their happy marriage.

lawinz on

In the Reform movement of the Jewish faith, Olive is considered Jewish because her father is Jewish. The Conservative and Orthodox movements would say she is not Jewish because the mother is not. It is very simple to understand.

Sadie on

A child raised in the Reform Jewish tradition can be considered Jewish if raised Jewishly and if either parent is Jewish.

American Mom on

Jennifer, while they aren’t the same thing, there is a lot in common- the entire basis of Christianity is Judaism and our worship services, especially as Catholics, is totally based on Jewish tradition. Not to mention that more than half our scriptures as Christians is shared with Jews and the primary morality- the Ten Commandments- are shared. And there is much more than that. So to say that there is nothing in common is very untrue simply because Judaism doesn’t recognize Jesus as God. We are brothers and sisters as children of the God of Abraham.

Candace on

First of all, she’s been a parent for 2 minutes but acts like she knows everything about “structure”.

Secondly, a three-stranded cord is not easily broken. By converting to her new religion, she’s decided to kick the big “J.C.” out of her marriage and her child’s life. If there was only one thing she could have done right it would be to have formed this very basic foundation but sadly, she’s still lost…

Rose on

Drew did not convert before the baby was born and is still not coverted therefore she is NOT A JEW and her daughter IS NOT A JEW. She should have converted before she got married.

hello on

by the way..her daughter isn’t Jewish

according to Judaism the mother has to be Jewish for the child to be

sry drew..

Daniel on

All of you telling Jennifer that she is wrong are clearly Christian. The “Old Testament” is based on the Hebrew bible, but is nowhere near identical. Rather it consists of translations of translations crafted through Christian eyes.

Someone above said Jesus was the Massiah foretold in the Torah. The Torah makes no mention of a messiah.

Jews do not necessarily believe there ever was someone named Jesus. If he did exist, he didn’t make much of an impact on the vast majority of Jews. It wasn’t until Paul persuaded the early Church leaders that non-Jews could be Christian without being Jewish that Christianity began to spread.

I could go on and on with this. The bottom line is that Christianity may be based upon Judaism, but Judaism has nothing to do with Christianity. Many Jews have always been uncomfortable with the phrase “Judeo-Christian” because it implies that the two separate religions for some sort of equivalency. Jews just don’t see any such commonality. It’s hard to do so when Jews. slaughtered by Christians in the name of Jesus for over 1500 years.

olive on

Snowbird i agree with you but it is tradition that in all Jewish/ non-jewish marriages the Non-Jew always gives up and converts for the Jew. Just google the facts. It’s sad.

Drew obviously came from no structure in her life so of course when she met an orthodox/ very traditional Jew she found it so adorable. If it was a Scientologist, or a very involved Catholic, or Pentecostal, or very involved Muslim, same thing would have happened.
She is liking ‘the culture’ that jews refer to, not the religion of it.

Most Jews identify ‘ethnically’ not ‘religiously’ and that is false because the Jewish diaspora is all over so i wish Jews would link first to their nationality/ethnicity, then bow down to the religion, but that’s not how it goes.

His family is very very conservative, so i don’t know how they allowed her to not convert first before giving birth. Interesting. I dont know how much this will last, he always seems so blase around her. She is adorable and i will forever love her!

Guest on

Read the writings of the historian Josephus. Then recomment.

suzy diamond on

If Drew goes about her life and doesn’t make a HUGE DEAL about hiding her kid from the press then the press won’t make such a big deal about going after her and her child. They want the fame but are very select in how they deliver that fame. Can’t have it both ways Drew!

Anonymous on

Okay, where did Drew say Olive is Jewish? All she said is that she’s going to be raised in the faith. Presumably that means that they plan to convert her once Drew has converted (if they practice one of the forms of Judiasm that requires that. As a few other posters have pointed out, there is at least one form, called “Reform” that doesn’t!).

As for the rest of the comments…Yes, Drew made some not-so-good choices when she was younger, but guess what? People change! And it sounds like she has!

Anonymous on

irony, sonothollywood, et al- She didn’t say that she chose well in the past. She said she chose well this time around. There’s a big difference!

Gina- Have you had only one sex partner in your life? I’m guessing not (since most people don’t). If so, then you have no business condeming Drew (or anyone else, for that matter!) for also having multiple partners!

Dona on

Multiple points…Candace, I wholeheartedly agree with you that this woman is so precocious as a parent and shouldn’t be running around espousing things when her daughter is a mere few months old. Let’s see how far structure (or even lack of structure) goes when the true personality comes about as the child grows older. As parents we shouldn’t be stubborn thinking there is one way to love, raise, support our children – truly devoting yourself to motherhood means being willing to remain open to “tweaking” and modifying your approach continually to best provide your child with the fulfilments of their needs. I can think of countless examples of how this pertains but the bottom line is that you are right: Drew is wrong and ignorant in thinking she knows all about parenting when she’s just had her first child…..and PS I think she seems like she wants to “control” everything which is the exact recipe for a nightmarish, overbearing mother that will suffocate their children.

Secondly, I was raised jewish myself but I have known many Catholics and christians whose religion is beautiful and based on compassion and redemption more so than any other organized faith I’ve come across…but I don’t think Drew was ever “embracing” any religion before now…not that she’s a serious Jew, either, given what we know..she seems to be an impulsive person clinging to constant new “cure-alls” etc that will never satisfy her because she doesn’t give or open herself to profound commitment. I think if she WERE a serious christian to start with, yes I would object somewhat to her abandoning her faith…but my problem with her religion sentiments isn’t that..it’s that she doesn’t seem able to (or smart or deep enough) to validly, sincerely commit to any religion.

Last, to Daniel: as a jewish person myself I can tell you I’ve never met any jew who denies that Jesus existed. Jews do not “believe in” Jesus as a spiritual, Godly, or significant figure to their faith but it’s bizarre to hear someone describe Jews as denying of Jesus’s existence. And if anything, Jewish people have been slaughtered, maimed, harassed and tortured by Muslims! Christians are not of bother to us, nor is anyone unless they are malicious towards us. We KNOW Hitler was not muslim, and we also know it was the good Catholics and christians who gave and risked their very lives to save, protect, and defend jews during the awful Holocaust.

Peace to all-

Charli on

Lfe is a journey and it is about learning and growing and it sounds like she is doing just that. Good for her.

jess on

only men wear yarmulkes = if she wore one they got married by a reform rabbi

Diana on

No people probably don’t need to convert to have a happy marriage. but I don’t believe you always are happy with the religion you were born into.

daria on

Many of these comments should be removed for being religiously intolerant and inflammatory. That includes the ones from the closed minded Jews and Christians alike. Blaming an entire religion for the actions of a few is unacceptable, whether they are Christian or Muslim. For my fellow Jews who are being needlessly judgmental of a celebrity and her right to raise her child as she deems acceptable, you have no right to judge her “Jewishness.”

Alicia on

What, Gina, women who have slept with other women in the past are incapable of being good parents or commited wives? Please. What a lot of bull. Drew idenitifies as bisexual; this does not mean that she’s incapable of being monogamous.

emma on

I am very happy she has found peace and happiness. I wish her a lifetime of happiness and joy. After all, she has made bad choices in her life but I can tell she is more stable and centred.

Many blessings a thousand fold

Angi on

I wish her much happiness and so should everyone else. Stop being so cynical. It’s a wonder society is in the state it is in with people spouting hatred and wanting to see people fail, instead of trying to make better a world with love,teamwork and hope.

Daniel on

Wow Dona, your ignorance is fascinating. While Christians were slaughtering Jews throughout every Crusade (most “crusaders” didn’t make it much past the next town, let alone the Holy Land so they turned their blood thirst against their Jewish neighbors) Jews were flourishing amongst the Muslims. Mimonidies, one of the greatest Jewish sages, was the personal physician of the Sultan in the 11th century. Pogroms against Jews occurred from the Damen ages through the Holocaust all perpetrated by Christians. And if you think that it was all love and roses by Christians toward Jews during the Holocaust, you must not realize that all of Europe was Christian, including Germany. God bless those small minority of Christians who rusted everything to save Jews. But the Holocaust could not have happened without the complacency of Christian Europe.

As to Jews who don’t believe Jesus ever existed, all I can say is that you don’t know many orthodox Jews (and nowhere will you find that i said Jews in general do not believe Jesus existed. I, for line don’t care one way or another). And while the religion that sprang up from the teachings of someone named Jesus would appear to confirm his existence, there has not been found any direct archeological evidence of his existence. Just like there hss never been any direct archeological evidence of the existence of David. Religion is faith. The faithful do not/should not need proof.

And none of this has anything to do with the fact that many Jews reading the phrase “Judeo-Christian” because it implies that Christianity is just an extension (and for some the conclusion) of Judaism. Words have meaning; and just because a phrase is widely accepted does not mean that it is accepted by all.

Anonymous on

Jess- She wasn’t wearing one in the wedding pictures in PEOPLE, so I’m guessing she’s referring to all the men in the wedding party. :)

Daniel- As a Christian, I find your obvious dislike of Christians sad. Believe me, while our ancestors may have been bloodthirsty towards Jews in ancient times, most of us today are not (in fact, many of us are absolutely horrified and sickened by the things some of our brethern did to Jews during the Holocast and the crusades).

Daniel on

You are mistaking my explanation of Jewish ambivalence to the phrase “Judeo-Christian” as a reflection of many opinion about any group. I have historical context to my explanation.

I hold everyone, regardless regardless of their religion, faith, creed, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, our any other relevant background in the highest esteem. I see everyone add individuals and judge them by their actions.

To put things in context, however, I will just stay that my grandfather was thrown into Buchenwald as a political prisoner because he converted to Judaism and refused Gestapo orders to throw his Jewish books into the street on Kristalnacht. Anti-Semetism is very real to me and my family.

coco on

Well shes right dont forget judiasm faith is the least welcoming of the three abrahamic faiths. Theres a written test as one part of the convsrsion process :)

coco on

Yes but thecqnically they are not jewish reform orthodox or how ever you phrase it you are only a jew if you’re born by a jewish woman. Or converted through the orthodox beit din.

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