Q: When was the last time you talked to Drew?
A: I ran into her on her birthday, three years ago. Ran into her on the street.
Q: Do I understand that you only have half-siblings?
A: My mother had three kids from three different men and my father had four kids from four different women. They weren’t able to tolerate anybody long enough to have a second child.
Q: You recently were notified that you’re the father of an unknown adult child?
A: The call started with Hi, John, it’s Barbara. “Wow, long time, what’s up?” Remember we had sex once, right? “Well, it barely qualified but yes, Barbara, I do remember.” It was a drive-by but it was enough. She was living with this guy. The mother always thought it was this other guy’s kid and then she was cruising my Facebook page and she saw a picture of my youngest daughter. All of a sudden that recognition that Oh my god …, it’s Barrymore’s kid. As soon as she showed me the baby picture, I said, “Barbara, that looks like my kid.” We did the [DNA ] test, I am the baby daddy.
Q: What is an inaccuracy about your family that you would like to dispel once and for all?
A: It’s hard to say. There are so many stories that are apocryphal or they’re applied to one person and another person said it. Oh, here’s one. One of my grandfather’s [John Sidney Blyth Barrymore’s] famous quotes is: “Sex. The thing that takes the least time and causes the most trouble.” All I can say to that is, he obviously wasn’t doing it right.
Q: Someone in your family has talked about how crazy your family is.
A: Noooo! Colorful! Eccentric! I used to say to my father [John Blyth Barrymore Jr. aka John Drew Barrymore] because his friends always used mercurial and colorful; I used to say to him, “Dad, mercurial is just a polite way of saying unreliable. Colorful is just a polite way of saying completely insane.”
Q: Do you think your family is any crazier than others? I think families are by definition crazy, dysfunctional.
A: Dysfunctional? Aw, come on now. I used to work at the Rand Corporation because I was a software developer. One day, there was one of their studies sitting on the coffee table. [It defined] a functional family as one that can impart to children the life-coping problem-solving skills they will need to become effective and responsible citizens. Fifteen percent of American families are functional. One-five.