For Drew Barrymore, getting nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award means more than most might realize. The actress exclusively opened up to ET on Tuesday about why getting nominated — along with her talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show — felt so special.

“I got my first apartment when I was 14, and I was terrified. I was really scared all the time, it’s scary to move out on your own at 14,” Barrymore recalled. “My little television that I kept on broadcast, because that’s kind of all there was… the thing that made me feel the safest in my apartment was my television.”

“I would keep it on broadcast. There really wasn’t much cable at that point and there certainly wasn’t content [to watch],” se continued. “I knew that if anything went wrong my TV would let me know. [The shows] were my friends. They were my roommates.”

Now, with producing and hosting her very own TV show, Barrymore says it feels like “there’s something so poetic about this show being nominated.”

“My television is what helped me grow up and become a whole person, so this moment is insane because it just feels really [like I’m] honoring something that was very giving to me at a time I needed it most,” she shared. “Throughout my whole life I just loved television. I’ve been doing it, I’ve been watching it, so this is so cool. I can’t believe it. It really poetically resonates with me that TV is such a calling card for security and safety.”

For many people who have been stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, afraid to leave lockdown and staying in doors for months, TV has become something of a security blanket and an escape. It’s something Barrymore said she’s experienced as well.

“I was totally scared all over again in my house. It was like full circle back to being 14,” she said. “TV can make us feel less alone and it can give us the temperature of the world outside when we are so lost… we are looking to this box to tell us when it is OK to laugh, if things are safe, if things are not safe. I can’t figure out the next thing to do with my kids? Guess what, we are watching another movie. So I am so excited about this moment, I really am. Television has always saved me.”

Barrymore said she found out on Monday night that she’d been nominated for Outstanding Daytime Talk Show Host. She told ET that she was spending time with her daughters — Olive, 8, and Frankie, 7, whom she shares with ex-husband Will Kopelman — when the news popped up.

“I was sitting alone with my two daughters in the kitchen and we were playing with stickers and I looked up and I said, ‘Girls, I’m so embarrassed to say this but you know how there’s, like, awards shows and stuff?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah.’ [I said], ‘I just found out I got nominated!'” she recalled. “They were so happy for me, and they gave me a hug… And then we just went back to playing stickers.”

“I told them they were the people that it mattered most that I got to tell, so it felt like a very whole moment,” she added. “But I’m not gonna lie, all morning long I had been pacing… I’m not nominated for [awards] a lot.”

While getting nominated for host was exciting, Barrymore admitted that she was really hoping The Drew Barrymore Show would get nominated for Outstanding Daytime Talk Show. On Tuesday morning, she found out it had.

“When I found out the show was nominated was when the real joy kicked in. Because we were all tasked to make a show from home, in unprecedented ways. We fought to have a studio but then people were producing remotely. It was a very bizarre dichotomy that was so new, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar to everyone,” she shared. “The world was in a place where permission had to be asked from oneself at every second, what was appropriate. And so, I’m just so happy for the show. I’m so excited too though- — I am! I admit it, I’m really excited.”

The show also got nominated for Outstanding Daytime Promotional Announcement for the show’s promo-trailer that featured Barrymore interviewing a child-aged version of herself, using footage from Barrymore’s appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the ’80s.

Barrymore also opened up about her decision to become a talk show host, and her journey over the past few years.

“It’s been a very interesting decade in my life, having kids, because it changed all my priorities. I was no longer comfortable just having my work come first. I didn’t want to do the same things, I wanted to do everything, really, quite differently,” she explained. “But you have an identity crisis without even knowing it when you’re not doing the same job as much or being as prolific anymore.”

“I knew that my children had to come first and that everything had to take a backseat. And then you’re like, ‘Wait, who am I even? Do I have a skillset? Did I lose myself in my kids? Are they going to be in therapy because I’m too much in their face?'” she continued. “I moved from Los Angeles to New York, I’ve changed jobs. I’ve been married, divorced, I’ve had two kids. And I wanted to find a job that matched my curiosity.”

“When you’re doing a film, you’re really playing someone else. And in this last decade I so wanted to understand who I am, what my relationship is with the world,” she added. “I no longer was satisfied with, like, just playing a character. I want the real-life stuff, I want the real world.” 

Barrymore will find out if she/her talk show take home any new accolades when the 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards air Friday, June 25 on CBS. Hear more in the video below.

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