Former iCarly star, Jenette McCurdy, has opened up about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her late mother and how she is healing from it now. McCurdy is a former American actress best known for starring as Sam Puckett in the hit Nickelodeon show, iCarly. McCurdy reprised her role as Sam for the iCarly spin-off series, Sam and Cat, which ran for 1 season. After her stint on Nickelodeon, McCurdy largely left acting, but she has stayed active in other ways and currently hosts her own podcast, Empty Inside.
In 2021, iCarly was rebooted by Paramount+ and featured the return of many cast members including Miranda Cosgrove, Jerry Trainor, and Nathan Kress. However, McCurdy declined to reprise her role of Sam for the show, due to the fact that she has quit acting. On Empty Inside, she went into more detail about how her acting career left her feeling embarrassed and unfulfilled. She was mainly propelled into acting by her mother, who had big dreams for her. However, McCurdy is now opening up on what life with her mother was really like growing up and navigating her career.
In an interview with People, McCurdy opened up about the abuse she suffered from her mother and her healing process after her mother passed. She discussed the story behind her recent one-woman dark comedy show titled, “I’m Glad My Mom Died.” While the title may offend some, McCurdy explains that it represents how dark and messy life can be. As a child, she always walked on eggshells around her mother, who was erratic and prone to fits of violence. McCurdy’s acting career kept her mother preoccupied, but came at a steep cost as her mother fixated on her looks and caused her to develop anorexia. It wasn’t until her mother’s passing in 2013 that McCurdy began to develop an identity of her own and found the courage to leave Hollywood and switch the course of her life. Check out McCurdy’s statement below:
Life can be dark — and messy. Nobody has a perfect life. My earliest memories of childhood were of heaviness, and chaos. My mom’s emotions were so erratic that it was like walking a tightrope every day. The mood fluctuations were daily. My mom had always dreamt of being a famous actor and she became obsessed with making me a star. I felt like my job was to keep the peace. And I wanted to make my mom happy… I know if my mom were alive, I’d still have an eating disorder. It was only distance from her that allowed me to get healthy. It’s a risk to change your life, but I made it my mission. I did not know how to find my identity without my mom. And I’m not going to lie. It was very hard to get here. But now, I’m at a place in my life that I never would have thought was possible. And I finally feel free.
McCurdy has touched on her mother’s abuse in the past, but her new comedy show brings the deeper story into focus. While McCurdy was the funny and street-tough Sam Puckett on iCarly, behind the scenes, she was a young girl cracking under her mother’s pressure. Her mother introduced her to calorie counting and took to bleaching McCurdy’s hair and whitening her teeth. By the time McCurdy landed her iCarly role, she was suffering from full-fledged anorexia. However, McCurdy has been in recovery since 2018 with the help of therapy. She acknowledges the difficult truth that her mother’s death allowed her escape from a very unhealthy and abusive environment. Today, she is finally living the life that she wants to lead after the years she lost to her mother’s abuse.
McCurdy’s story is one of healing and illustrates that there is hope and freedom beyond abuse. What is especially striking is the brutal honesty she utilizes when discussing her mother’s passing. McCurdy’s story resonates with all victims of abuse, but also touches specifically on a group that is often overlooked – victims who were abused by an individual who is now deceased. Her bold title, “I’m Glad My Mother Died” tells these individuals that there is no shame in telling things as they are and that freedom from abuse is something to be celebrated, no matter the circumstances. The former iCarly star has forged a path separate from her mother and Hollywood, and she is using her freedom to offer hope and healing to other survivors of abuse.