Drew Barrymore Would Support Her Daughters Becoming Actors – But Not Until They’re 18!

10/22/2015 at 10:45 PM ET

Drew Barrymore opens up about the lessons she learned throughout her troubled childhood and how she finally found her happily ever after. Subscribe now for this exclusive interview, only in PEOPLE!

Drew Barrymore has already lived quite a life.

After finding fame at age 7 following her breakthrough role on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the actress has spent years making movies and finding her way in the industry. Yet it’s her role as mom to daughters, Olive, 3, and Frankie, 18 months, with husband, Will Kopelman, that has most changed her life.

In her new book, Wildflower, Barrymore, 40, reflects on “the in-between moments” of her very public childhood and shares intimate stories — from working on the E.T. set with director and mentor Steven Spielberg to the professional relationships and lifelong friendships she’s made with Adam Sandler, Cameron Diaz and her producing partner at Flower Films, Nancy Jovonen.

“It was such a private, quiet thing to write the book,” she says. “It was just for me. My girlfriends aren’t even in it enough as far as I’m concerned because they are such a big part of my life. They seem like just my friends, but my friends were like my first family. But it was a very quiet thing. I really dedicate it to my kids.”

Drew Barrymore motherhood Wildflower

So would she encourage her daughters if they want to become actors? “One hundred percent,” she says. Even at a young age? “No!” she immediately responds.

“Not even a little. Not until they’re 18. I know it sounds crazy, but I want them to be kids. But I would by no means poo-poo a thing I love so much!”

Drew Barrymore motherhood Wildflower

Even after becoming an emancipated adult by the age of 15, Barrymore says she’s grateful for the invaluable lessons she learned about herself as an actress and a person along the way. “People ask in a weird way, ‘Would you let them be actors?!’ I’m like, ‘What are you insinuating, that acting is so horrible?’ What is it that you are saying?’ ” she says, laughing. “It’s wonderful, of course I would encourage it! They just have to be kids.”

“I think I heard Meryl Streep say something like, ‘I let my kids be in school plays when they were teenagers,’ ” Barrymore adds. “And I’m like, ‘Ooh, I don’t even know if that’s true but that sounds good.’ Whatever Meryl says.”

Barrymore’s book, Wildflower, hits bookshelves on Oct. 27.

Drew Barrymore people cover

For more of our exclusive interview with Barrymore — in which she reveals her own memories of childhood and the happiness she’s found as a wife and mother — pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Julie Jordan

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Tiffany on

I don’t think what she is saying sounds “crazy” at all. Quite sensible really. Let kids enjoy their childhood.

Anonymous on

Can’t blame her one bit for wanting her girls to have as normal a childhood as possible, after all the hell she went through at such a young age. School plays are one thing…especially if mom volunteers to direct it. That would be kinda awesome.

Tee on

Good for Drew! My husband and I won’t allow our kids to get into acting until after they finish their education.

Mike Senese on

Pretty cool article — REALLY cool rap track video.