Drew Barrymore admits getting divorced was her ''worst nightmare''.

The 41-year-old actress - who was emancipated from her parents at the age of 14 and was largely estranged from her father John until his death in 2004 - split from husband Will Kopelman last year after three years of marriage, and found the situation particularly hard because it shattered all her dreams of giving daughters Olive, four, and two-year-old Frankie an ''ultra-traditional'' upbringing.

She said: ''It was just like my worst nightmare. I so wanted to raise kids in this ultra-traditional way and do everything so the polar opposite of my experience.''

However, the 'Santa Clarita Diet' star is doing her best to ''figure out'' how best to raise her children in the new situation and for her and Will to still raise them with the right values and allow them to feel ''safe''.

She told talk show host Ellen Degeneres: ''It really is about the tone you set and you can talk until you're blue in the face but kids watch what you do every single day of your life, all day long, and that behaviour and that example and that love and community and honesty is just, I think what's making everything feel safe for my kids.

''And that's really the intention I had as a parent, was how do my kids have this incredible sense of like, freedom inside their heart, because they know I've got them and their dad's got them and the [rest of their family].

''I got two families. I went from like, zero to two and it's a miracle and a blessing and we do it in a way that I think a lot of other people are probably doing it too and sometimes, again, the road is different than what you tried to make it or what you expected and you just figure it out and figure it out with grace.''