Jennette McCurdy talks about the abuse she endured from her mother while growing up.
In her new memoir, "I’m Glad My Mom Died," iCarly star Jennette McCurdy has detailed how she endured emotional and physical abuse throughout her childhood until her mother passed away in 2013 from cancer.
Jennette shared that her mother, Debra, overcame her first bout of cancer when she was a toddler, but Debra did not let her family forget about her health as she had a constant reenactment of the time in which Jennette, along with her siblings, watched the home video when Debra McCurdy was most sick. The actress mentioned that her mother insisted on her pursuing acting since her parents did not let her follow her dreams of becoming a star.
The iCarly star, who also opened up about the horrific experience she had on iCarly, shared that her mother would let her have sugar-free Red Bulls and if auditions did not go well, her mother would make changes. When Jennette McCurdy was described as too homely to audition for the lead in ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’, Debra started a beauty routine for Jennette where she would use a white shave, tint her eyelashes, and dye her hair. Jennette gather all the courage she had to tell her mother that she did not want to pursue acting, but she heard her tell her that it was their chance to be huge.
In her memoir, Jennette shared that when she started developing breasts, she thought that her mother would not love her anymore as Debra would often hold her close and tell her that she just wanted her to be small and young. When Jennette expressed her feelings of fear about growing up with her mother, she put her on calorie restriction. Jennette recalled that she started to shrink by the week and they started to count their calories every night and plan their meals for the next day.
The actress, because of the strict ‘calorie restricted’ diet where she would weigh herself five times a day, started to eat way less than her body’s requirements because she thought that it would help her shrink twice as fast. Jennette was diagnosed with anorexia and Debra had denied knowing about the change in her eating habits. The weight loss was so extreme that, at age 14, Jennette still sat in a booster seat in the car.
Jennette McCurdy later details that she had started to be anxious about showering together and sometimes with her teenage brother too, and writes that she knew that her brother was embarrassed by it too. Debra explained to the kids that she showered them together because she had a lot of things to do and when her brother asked her mother if he could shower himself, their mother sobbed and told him that she did not want him to grow up, so he never asked to shower himself again.
Jennette explained that Debra McCurdy would give her a breast and front butt exam because she wanted to be sure that she did not have any mysterious lumps or bumps. After all, those could be cancer and she would agree because she did not want to end up having cancer. The actress would think of Disneyland while her mother gave her the exam, and after it was done, a huge wave of relief washed over her body.
The actress mentioned that after she ended up getting a role in iCarly, her mother continued to monitor her food intake but less so than usual and added that maybe it was because Miranda Cosgrove and Nathan Kress ate breakfast and lunch in their joint schoolroom and it would have looked weird if she didn’t eat much compared to them.
At the age of 16, Jennette McCurdy shared that her mother kept showering her and shaving her legs. The attention from her mother came after iCarly, and she started to resent her mother for it. She explains that the fame put a wedge between her mother and her, which she did not expect to happen. Jennette writes that it was her mother who wanted her to have fame and she just wanted her to have it and stay happy, and when Jennette had fame, Debra was happy, but Jennette was not. She wrote that her mother’s happiness came at the cost of her own, and she felt robbed and exploited. She continued that sometimes she looked at her and she just hated her. And then she hated herself for feeling that.
When Jennette McCurdy was on tour for her music, Debra McCurdy couldn’t join her because her cancer had returned and she was undergoing treatments. During that time, the actress-singer shared that she felt free. She wrote that she was able to shower herself and realized how exhausting it is to constantly curate her natural tendencies, responses, thoughts, and actions into whatever version her mother liked the most. Jennette McCurdy had stopped limiting her calories at the time, and she writes and writes that without her mother is around, she does not have to. She misses her deeply, and her heart aches over what she’s going through, and she certainly feels a lot of guilt about the ease she felt at the time, but that ease is undeniable.
Jennette later stated that when she started dating someone but did not have sex with a guy, and her mother who had moved into her apartment uninvited called her names like filthy little lying whore and said that she was nothing more than a slur, a floozy, all used up which all added up to the emotional abuse.