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Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman attend Chanel’s benefit dinner for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Ocean Initiative at the home of Ron & Kelly Meyer in Malibu, California, June 4, 2011. David Livingston/Getty Images
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Broken Up About a Breakup

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman have called it quits, and I’m reeling

Rachel Shukert
April 05, 2016
David Livingston/Getty Images
Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman attend Chanel's benefit dinner for the Natural Resources Defense Council's Ocean Initiative at the home of Ron & Kelly Meyer in Malibu, California, June 4, 2011. David Livingston/Getty Images

Oh, how time flies.

It seems like only yesterday that right here, in these very (electronic) pages, we were covering Drew Barrymore’s marriage to art dealer Will Kopelman, their Jewish babies, and their Pesach plans. We even learned she was even thinking about—very seriously so! Probably for sure!—converting to Judaism in order to give her two children the kind of foundation of family, place, and tradition that she herself had never had.

You remember Drew’s childhood tell-all Little Girl Lost, right? The autobiographical book that details the child star’s alcohol use at the age of nine, marijuana use at the age of 10, cocaine use at the age of 12, and suicide attempt at 14? Well I do. In fact, as a child, I didn’t exactly realize Irreconcilable Differences wasn’t a documentary. Drew, to put it mildly, had a rough childhood. So I’m sad to learn that her relationship with Kopelman is now over. This week, the couple confirmed they are separating after three years of marriage. They have two small daughters together: Olive, 3, and Frankie, 2.

Said Barrymore in a statement, “Sadly our family is separating legally, although we do not feel this takes away from us being a family. Divorce might make one feel like a failure, but eventually you start to find grace in the idea that life goes on. Our children are our universe, and we look forward to living the rest of our lives with them as the first priority.”

I’m usually excited when I hear about celebrity couples breaking up, particularly those of the Jewish variety, but not in any mean way. It’s just that, you know, relationship flubs like these give me something fun to write about (see: Disick-Kardashian, Abedin-Weiner). But Barrymore and Kopelman’s breakup just makes me sad because for Drew, this marriage—what, after that early 19-days-long one to the Welsh bartender in the ‘90s, or to Tom Green, who I think we can probably all agree is an odd choice of a partner for an adult woman (or any adult for that matter)—made it seem as though her love life had turned a corner and found a happy ending of sorts.

And what a happy ending it seemed to be! What, with, Kopelman, the cultured, Jewish, art dealer son of the former CEO of Chanel, whose sister is Jill Kargman, the writer and actress who created Bravo’s Odd Mom Out and seems as though she’d be a super-fun lunching and shopping partner. What, with, Kopelman, who provided an unimpeded entrée into that rarified world of the incredibly rich, fancy, artsy, bohemian old-time Jewish Upper East Side clan, with their seats on museum boards and ownership of sprawling, classic pre-war co-ops and grocery shopping trips to Eli’s. This upper-crust life is the secret (or not so secret) ambition of every New York transplant. It’s Salinger meets Vogue. Barrymore seemed like she was living the dream, but I guess the dream just wasn’t hers.

I have all kinds of theories about why celebrity marriages so often end prematurely, but they all boil down to this: marriage is very, very hard, almost impossible, and if the majority of your energy is already engaged in doing something equally impossible, like being a movie star or running a production company or making hudreds of millions of dollars on tour as an international pop icon, there’s only a finite amount of energy you can give to it. But for some reason, I hope Drew and Will give it another chance, if for no other reason than to show that just once, the guy who looks perfect on paper can be perfect—or perfect enough—in real life. Not for their children, of course, but for me.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.