Broadimage / REX / Shutterstock / Rex USA 1 / 8
Broadimage / REX / Shutterstock / Rex USA 1 / 8

Drew Barrymore never saw her divorce coming last year and called it a "nightmare."

The lovable actress chatted with Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday about her split with her ex-husband Will Kopelman and how that affected the family dynamic.

"It was just like my worst nightmare," she said of her divorce after three years of marriage. "I so wanted to raise kids in this ultratraditional way and do everything so the polar opposite of my experience."

She and Will share daughters Olive, 4, and Frankie, 2.

The former couple has been able to make it work for the sake of the kids.

"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 behavior and that example and that love and community and honesty is just, I think, what's making everything feel safe for my kids," she said. "And that's really the intention I had as a parent — 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]."

Still, despite the struggles in her personal life, Drew feels lucky.

"I got two families," she said. "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."

Her personal life played into her weight, as well, she said last week while promoting her new Netflix show, "Santa Clarita Diet."

"It came sort of at a moment in my life where I had sort of let myself go due to personal circumstances, and I thought, 'I could come alive with [her character] Sheila,'" she told the "TODAY" show.

Since taking on the role, Drew said she's dropped 20 pounds.

The mother of two maintained her sense of humor about the weight loss, even crediting her man-eating zombie character on the show.

"If you're eating, in her case, human flesh, I basically thought, well if a woman was just eating simple protein every day all day long she would lose weight," she joked. "It's like a very macabre Atkins [diet]."