Dearly beloved, Drew Barrymore is getting divorced. Again. Some of the sad details are in the current issue of People magazine. However, independent research would show that readers of this column spend little time reading the popular culture magazines — the Gossip Glossies — so as a service to them we are providing a taste of that slice of the culture.
It is not an insignificant slice. The circulation of the Gossip Glossies is huge: InStyle magazine (13 issues a year) boasts a readership of 9,542,000, of whom 92 percent are female; Marie Claire (a monthly): circulation 1,012,048, highest readership of any magazine among women aged 18 to 34; People magazine (a weekly): circulation 3,486,478; Entertainment Weekly: circulation 1,800,000. And there are others.
Compare those numbers with some of the publications that support the country’s traditional culture: at the top, National Review (a fortnightly), with a circulation of ca. 150,000. At the other end, The New Criterion (ten issues a year): circulation 6,000.
We will make a foray into pop culture easy for you.
The Drew Barrymore Marriage 411
Drew Barrymore’s first husband was Tom Green, “a Canadian actor, rapper, writer, comedian, producer, director, talk show host, and media personality” Wikipedia says, and I have no reason to doubt it. Isn’t that the kind of man every mom wants her daughter to marry?
The marriage lasted five months.
Number two was Jeremy Thomas, a man Us Weekly described as “the Los Angeles bar owner.” People magazine reported: “The lovebirds were married at 5 a.m. in Thomas’s dimly lit bar, the Room. And the presiding official was a minister–psychic–private detective who arrived with her English bulldog, Jimmy. ‘He snarled at everybody,’ recalls an amused Thomas. ‘Then he took a pee in the corner. It was quite surreal.” Yes. But the romance — married in a bar! And the security — he owned the bar! What more could a mother want for her child?
The marriage lasted two months.
We should pause to note that one of Barrymore’s problems was that, as Flanders and Swann put it in their “Hippopotamus Song,” “She hadn’t got a ma to give her advice.” (More later.)
Third Time’s the Charm?
The third time never fails, they say, and in a way that was true for Drew: her third marriage, to Will Kopelman, lasted almost four years, which, compared to two months, must have seemed like forever. People magazine says: “Drew Barrymore’s marriage did not start as a whirlwind fairytale.” That actually sounds promising. “According to InStyle magazine she didn’t originally realize that Kopelman was ‘the one.’” It can be difficult to tell, as Drew now knows. Besides, Kopelman was not only “the one.” He was also the third.
“The couple married in 2012,” People continues, “and has two daughters together 3-year-old Olive and 1-year-old Frankie [People doesn’t use the parenthetical comma after “together” — it’s probably a Gossip Glossy style thing]. Barrymore also credits her daughters as part of the reason she doesn’t discuss previous relationships in her new memoir Wildflower.”
“‘I felt it was inappropriate to discuss relationships and encounters I have had with another person,’ she says.” Drew’s phrasing makes it difficult to tell whether she is referring to numerous relationships and encounters she had with one person (“another person”), or to one or perhaps more relationships and encounters she had with numerous people. The smart money is going with the second interpretation, and you may want to too.
“‘I consciously chose not to include those. I want this book to be a love letter to my daughters, Frankie and Olive. They don’t need to know about my sex life.’”
Of course, there’s not much danger that her children (now 2 and 4) will read the GGs any time soon. But when they get older they will be able to pull up all the titillating details of Drew’s sex life on Google. Still, we have to admire her decorum. And her restraint.
‘Happy and Giggly’ as Her Marriage Ends
And her courage in the face of adversity. At the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival on April 2, when she introduced her new rosé (from Barrymore Wines), she “poured glasses of wine, gave out hugs and posed for selfies with festivalgoers. ‘She was simply a ray of sunshine the entire time,’” said one onlooker. And not only that. “‘She was happy and giggly and self-deprecating and sweet with everyone she came in contract with.’”
“No one would have guessed,” continues People, “that Barrymore, 41, had publicly confirmed that morning that she and her husband … were ending their marriage.”
“Sadly,” People quotes her as saying (but clearly not so sadly that people would guess her sadness), “our family is separating legally, although we do not feel this takes away from us being a family.” Interesting point, actually.
“A stable, happy family unit had eluded Barrymore until she met Kopelman,” according to People magazine. That’s putting it mildly: Us tells us that “Back in the late ’80s, the precocious E.T. actress famously entered rehab at age 14 and, at 15, successfully petitioned for juvenile emancipation from her parents, moving into her own apartment; her relationship with [her mother] Jaid … has been rocky ever since.” Barrymore told Marie Claire, “Ugh, I mean, my relationship with my mom is so complicated.” Ugh, yes.
Most of the readers of this column aren’t used to seeing this sort of copy. Just think of this as research into American culture, and keep reading: there may be a pop quiz.
She Still Believes in Love, Whatever that Means
A friend of Barrymore’s reported that their decision to get divorced “was not an overnight decision. They both really wanted to make it work.” You can tell: four years is a long time. Popsugar quotes Barrymore as saying, “I had a really hard time a couple of months ago and kind of knew life was heading in a different direction.” She asked a friend what to do and he gave her the kind of advice you want to put on the fridge: “You put one foot in front of the other.”
People reports that a Barrymore “insider” — inside what isn’t clear — says Barrymore is optimistic for the future (being worth $20, $30, or $50 million can do that for a girl, even for one who was in rehab at age 14 and whose relationship with her mother is, ugh, complicated). The insider goes on to say about Drew — this is the part almost worth waiting for — “She still very much believes in love.” Ooooh. She still believes in love.
Well, Scrooge didn’t. When he asked Bob Cratchit why he got married, Cratchit replied, “Because I fell in love.” Scrooge mocks him, growling: “Because you fell in love.”
Scrooge is always vilified, of course, but he was on to something. Marriage may be partly about the love Barrymore still very much believes in. But marriage’s primary glue is commitment. Puppy love won’t get anyone through a siege of 40 winters. Married people have to learn how to deal with the deep trenches time can dig in their lives.
The Rest of Us Don’t Have Life Insurance
Pope Francis, in his recent apostolic exhortation on family life (“Amoris Laetitia,” “The Joy of Love”), says, “As Christians, we can hardly stop advocating marriage simply to avoid countering contemporary sensibilities, or out of a desire to be fashionable or a sense of helplessness in the face of human and moral failings.” Those sensibilities and failings are exemplified by Barrymore as well as, of course, Donald Trump, to whom an invitee to his third wedding replied that he couldn’t make that one but would try to catch the next one.
With the popular magazines endorsing serial fornication hiding under giggly veils of matrimony (if you call mumbling some words in a bar at 5 a.m. in front of a minister–psychic–private detective “marriage”), it does not surprise that young people now endorse even homosexual “marriage” by an ever increasing margin. Or that mega-corporations use their economic clout to dissuade states from passing common-sense laws that support not requiring boys and girls to shower together.
Marriage was once seen by most people in this country as an honorable estate, with divine significance, not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly. No more. Today’s popular culture, nurtured by the progressives, trashes that concept, with terrible consequences for ordinary people — people who don’t have their very own brand of rosé or live in fifty-million-dollar bubbles, like Drew Barrymore.