It’s interesting to think Drew Barrymore was just about the same age as her daughters when starred as Gertie in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” back in 1982. The role launched her into stardom at just 7-years-old, beginning her wild ride in Hollywood.

Given her unconventional upbringing, complete with absentee parents and a childhood plagued by drug and alcohol use, Barrymore was determined to paint an entirely different picture for her girls, Olive and Frankie. For the first time since her split from Will Kopelman in 2016, Barrymore sat down to discuss life after divorce in a candid interview with “Sunday TODAY” host Willie Geist.

Wanting to provide a life for her girls that she never had, Barrymore says she fought hard to make her marriage work.

“I know from not growing up with any family whatsoever that that was the last thing that I wanted to do for my daughters,” she said. “It was, like… the ultimate promise I wanted to make with you and for you was to have this amazing family and I found that and there’s something not working, that isn’t livable. How tragic is that?”

Barrymore married Kopelman in 2012 while she was pregnant with their first daughter, Olive. The couple went on to have another daughter, Frankie, in 2014. Despite Barrymore’s determination to raise her children in a two-parent household, she and Kopelman couldn’t keep their marriage alive, which she initially struggled to accept.

“I couldn’t make sense of it,” she said. “I really did not take divorce well. I took it really hard.”

The 45-year-old actress says it’s taken her five years to be able to speak about their split with “strength, articulation, perspective and hindsight”. Even still, she choked backed tears throughout much of the interview, particularly when discussing how it felt when she realized the relationship was no longer sustainable.

“I think it applies to everyone who thinks that something will be forever and it’s not,” she said. “It’s so hard. It’s like, I don’t think I’ve recovered from that.”

As far as moving on is concerned, Barrymore indicated she wasn’t quite ready to jump back into the dating pool. The divorce, she says, impacted her in a painful way that has still yet to subside.

“I don’t know how to open that up again,” she said. “Something closed and it stayed closed. I think I’m equally as scared to find love again as I would be as if it never happened.”

For now, she’s focused on growing meaningful relationships with her girls. While she admits moving forward with the divorced gave her pause, mainly because she worried it would impact their children’s happiness, she acknowledged she and her daughters are truly happy after years of trying to find their groove.

“When they were younger, this whole life of mine didn’t sit as well with them, and now it’s the exact opposite,” she said. “Like divorce, things fell into place — finally.”