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Zombie drama helped Drew Barrymore shed marriage split weight

The actress has a new lease on life thanks to her role in The Santa Clarita Diet.

Drew Barrymore lost 20 pounds (9 kilograms) while shooting her new zombie drama The Santa Clarita Diet.

The actress portrays undead Sheila in the new Netflix show and admits the new role gave her new-found confidence and inspiration after her marriage split from husband Will Kopelman.

"It (TV show) came in the middle of this moment in my life, where I had let myself go due to personal circumstances, and I thought I could come alive with Sheila.

"It was a really great goal line for me, because as much as the weight loss... everything's very subtle, it's attitudinal, it's empowerment, it's confidence (sic).

"She's (Sheila) lost in her life and I felt I had sort of lost my life, and it was such a blessing to come alive with her, and it really was so positive for me."

And Drew admits the role called on her to lose some of the weight she had packed on following the end of her marriage.

"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 told U.S. morning show Today. "It's, like, a very macabre Atkins (diet)."

Barrymore split from art consultant Will Kopelman, the father of her two daughters Olive and Frankie, last April (16), and she acknowledged the break-up had been tough on her in an Instagram post in November (16), writing: "I have cried a lot this year. I have always been a person who is flawed. I forgive. I fight. But I do not fight with others. I will spend my life trying to give love. And I am always aware and appreciative when I receive it. My heart is very open right now."

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