From anorexia to regular breast exams: Jennett McCurdy’s challenging childhood.
“If my mother were alive, I would still have an eating disorder,” says the iCarly star of childhood trauma, the subject of her new stand-up show and memoir
With a name like “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” Jennette McCurdy’s new comedy show might not be for everyone, but that doesn’t bother the former “iCarly” star. “My story is rich. Life can be dark – and chaotic. Nobody has a perfect life, ”she said on October 13 in a new interview about the show, which records her mother’s abuse. Now, for the first time, McCurdy has spoken about the extent of the abuse she has faced and the challenges she faced as a budding young actress trying to make it big.
As countless celebrities and news reports have shown, abuse is a widespread part of the entertainment industry. In mid-September, the HBO documentary ‘Jagged’ came under fire from her test subject Alanis Morissette after it was revealed that she had been raped several times when she was 15 years old. In August, we also reported on stage actress Alice Ripley’s “cult-like” behavior, which became a major controversy.
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McCurdy’s mother, Debbie, died of cancer in 2013, and the actress appears to have been on a “healing path” ever since. “It was very difficult to come here. But now I’m at a point in my life that I never thought possible. And I finally feel free, ”she told PEOPLE in an interview about her controversial new show and the abuse she was exposed to as a child.
While she will detail the full extent of childhood worries in her upcoming memoir, McCurdy did reveal a few details in her interview with PEOPLE. “My earliest childhood memories were heaviness and chaos,” she said, adding that her mother was “obsessed with making me a star.” Despite being extremely shy, McCurdy attended auditions “to keep the peace” and to make Debbie happy. But that wasn’t all, Debbie’s obsession was so strong that it went much further than forcing auditions.
At the age of 10, Debbie started bleaching her daughter’s hair and whitening her teeth. At 11, she introduced McCurdy to calorie counting, which led to full-fledged anorexia at 14 when McCurdy landed the gig on ‘iCarly’. The anorexia turned into binge eating and later bulimia. “I know if my mother were still alive I would still have an eating disorder,” she noted. McCurdy also says her mother insisted on vaginal and breast exams and never let her daughter shower alone until she was 17.
All of her mother’s pressure led McCurdy to become addicted to alcohol after Debbie’s death. “I didn’t know how to find my identity without my mother,” she remarked. In 2018, five years after Debbie’s death, the actress managed to recover and find other options thanks to intensive therapy. She left Hollywood and began building a life outside of Debbie’s control. She was last seen on television in 2016 in “Between” and two cameo appearances in “Robot Chicken” and “The Eric Andre Show”. After that, she appeared in several short films, but mostly worked on her show.