Jennette McCurdy is candid about the “intense” emotional and physical abuse she endured at the hands of her late mother, Debbie, who performed vaginal and breast exams on her and wouldn’t let her shower alone.
The former iCarly star, who lost her mother to cancer in 2013, detailed her childhood trauma and her path to healing in her one-woman dark comedy show “I’m Glad My Mom Died” and her upcoming memoir of the same name.
“I didn’t know how to find my identity without my mother,” McCurdy, 29, told People. “And I’m not going to lie. It was very difficult to get here. But now I’m in a place in my life that I never thought was possible. And I finally feel free.’
Candid: Jennette McCurdy, 29, opened up about the physical and emotional abuse of her late mother Debbie in a new interview with People magazine
Honest: McCurdy (pictured with Debbie in 2009) lost her mother to cancer in 2013. She believes she would ‘still have an eating disorder’ if her mother was alive
Growing up in Southern California, she witnessed physical fights between her parents, Debbie and Mark. She remembered how her mother’s outbursts often turned violent.
“My earliest childhood memories were heaviness and chaos,” she explained. “My mother’s emotions were so erratic that it was like walking on a tightrope every day. The mood swings were daily.’
As the youngest of four children and the only daughter of her parents, McCurdy said her mother was fixated on her and forced her into acting by the time she was six.
“My mom had always dreamed of becoming a famous actor and she became obsessed with making me a star,” she said, admitting she was “cripplingly shy” but felt pressured to audition. and write books.
“I felt like my job was to keep the peace,” said McCurdy, whose acting career supported her family financially. “And I wanted to make my mother happy.”
Trauma: McCurdy was the youngest of four children and the only daughter of her parents. She said her mother’s outbursts often turned violent, and she witnessed her parents physically fighting
Looking back: The former actress recalled how her mother became ‘obsessed’ with making her a star when she was a child, even though she was ‘cripplingly shy’
Changes: When McCurdy was 10, her mom started bleaching her hair and whitening her teeth to help her book roles
Lessons Learned: The Child Star Was 11 When Her Mom Introduced Her To Counting Calories, Which Fueled Her Future Eating Disorders
Debbie’s focus was McCurdy’s appearance, and she started bleaching her only daughter’s hair and whitening her teeth when she was 10. A year later, she taught McCurdy how to limit calories and helped her eating disorder.
When she Landed her big break as Sam Puckett on iCarly at age 14, she was already struggling with anorexia. While she was starring on the Nickelodeon show, her mom insisted on performing vaginal and breast exams on her and not letting her shower alone. This went on until she was 17.
McCurdy did not specify why her mother was taking the exams.
Debbie battled breast cancer for 17 years after being diagnosed when her daughter was a young child. She went into remission, but the cancer returned and spread to her brain in 2010.
McCurdy, who was 21 when Debbie died in 2013, said she was “so repressed and delayed in her development” because of her mother’s control that she rebelled after she passed away.
She started having sex, experimenting with alcohol and binge eating, after which she threw herself up. For years she struggled with a dependence on alcohol and bulimia. McCurdy attributes her recovery from her eating disorders in 2018 to therapy.
Secret: When she landed her big break as Sam Puckett on iCarly at age 14, she was already struggling with anorexia
Controlling: While she starred on the Nickelodeon show, her mom insisted on performing vaginal and breast exams on her and didn’t let her shower alone until she was 17
Healing: McCurdy, who has retired from acting, talked about her traumatic childhood in her one-woman black comedy show “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” which recently closed
“I know that if my mother was alive, I would still have an eating disorder,” she said. “It was only the distance from her that allowed me to get well.”
Earlier this year, she confirmed that she had retired from acting, having been “embarrassed” by her previous sitcom work.
“It’s a risk to change your life, but I’ve made it my mission,” says McCurdy, who has shifted her focus to writing and directing.
The former child star has candidly shared her story on her one-woman show “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” which recently closed.
“It’s thought-provoking,” she said of the show. ‘But even though it seems black and white, my story has a fullness. Life can be dark – and messy. Nobody has a perfect life.’