Drew Barrymore ''loves'' her pal Adam Sandler ''so much''.

The 44-year-old actress has worked with Adam on movies including 'The Wedding Singer', '50 First Dates', and 'Blended', and has said she has ''always believed'' in her co-star and friend, whom she says is ''the best''.

Speaking as she presented Adam, 53, with the Best Actor honour at the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala in New York City for his work on 'Uncut Gems', Drew said: ''I love this man so much and I have always believed in him. This moment could honestly could [not] be more deserved. I know that everyone is rooting for you because you have earned everyone's respect. You deserve the best, you give the best and you are the best. I love you very much.''

Drew also recalled the first time she met Adam, as she credited the actor's iconic career with convincing her to meet him over two decades ago.

She gushed: ''It was in a coffee shop and I showed up and I had big purple hair and a vintage leopard coat and Adam was in what Adam wears every day, a giant baggy t-shirt and baggy, knee-length shorts. And it did not look like a match visually but the reason why we were there is because I, like everyone, was crazy about him in everything he did and all the iconic things he accomplished on 'Saturday Night Live'. He was making 'Billy Madison' and 'Happy Gilmore' but I just, I don't know what it was, it was an instinct, a foresight, my heart that I couldn't control.

''But I told him, I know that we are destined to work together. I know we are a match and I believe you in so much. I want to be like [Audrey] Hepburn and [Spencer] Tracy even though we don't look like them, but I just I want to be in this partnership with you.''

After accepting the award, Adam gave a shoutout to his wife of over 16 years, Jackie, who encouraged him to take the role.

He said: ''My bada** wife, she gave me the balls to take the part. I was scared and she said, 'Go f***ing do that' and 'You can do that s**t', and we rehearsed together all the time.''