Following a turbulent childhood which was marked by drug and alcohol abuse and two stints in rehab,Barrymore wrote the 1990 autobiography, Little Girl Lost. She successfully made the transition from child star to adult actress with a number of films including the unsuccessful Poison Ivy, Bad Girls, Boys on the Side, and Everyone Says I Love You. Subsequently, she established herself in romantic comedies such as The Wedding Singer and Lucky You.
In 1995, she and partner Nancy Juvonen formed the production company Flower Films, with its first production the 1999 Barrymore film Never Been Kissed. Flower Films has gone on to produce the Barrymore vehicle films Charlie's Angels, 50 First Dates, and Music and Lyrics, as well as the cult film Donnie Darko. Barrymore's more recent projects include He's Just Not That into You,
Barrymore was named Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Since then, she has donated over 1 million to the program. In 2007, she became both CoverGirl's newest model and spokeswoman for the cosmetic and the face for Gucci's newest jewelry line.