Jennette McCurdy opens up child stardom in her memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died

WARNING: This article deals with eating disorders and abuse.

Jennette McCurdy has spent most of her life putting her mother on a pedestal.

The child star entered television at the age of 6, and when her mother passed away in September 2013 from cancer, she didn’t know what to do next.

“I don’t know who I would be without her because I lived for her, and now she’s dead,” McCurdy said in an interview with CBC’s. Q with Tom Power. But McCurdy says there’s also a sense of relief.

“I couldn’t face this at the time, but there was a bit of relief there. And I didn’t know I would feel so guilty about that relief that I would push it down.”

Last week, McCurdy released her memoir I’m so glad my mother died, attracted attention for both her shocking title and her relationship with abusive mother Debra. The 30-year-old also shared about her struggle with an eating disorder.

She said: “No child is psychologically, emotionally, spiritually equipped for the obstacles of child stars.” “Even if they have the most amazing support system around.”

Former actor known for his role as Sam Puckett on iCarly, a 2007 Nickelodeon sitcom about teenagers with a web-based viral show. The show ran for six seasons and had a revival in 2021 with most of its original cast.

The iCarly cast (left to right) Noah Munck, Miranda Cosgrove, Jerry Trainor, Jeanette McCurdy and Nathan Kress pose behind the scenes at Nickelodeon iCarly’s special military family screening on January 13, 2012. McCurdy telling Q to be a child star is ‘severely unhealthy.’ (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

But McCurdy says she never wanted to be an actress – this was her mother’s dream.

“I think she saw an opportunity in me and saw a way to make her dream come true,” she said.

“I just remember that my whole life was always about her and aligning around her and what she wanted, what she needed and what would make her happy in any given moment.” McCurdy said Q.

McCurdy describes her mother as layered and complex; Captivating, captivating and infectious. But behind closed doors, McCurdy details her actions as manipulative.

“When I look back, [I can] realize how much discord between what I want and the reactions that come out of my mouth. So whatever comes out of my mouth is always to please my mother,” she said, “Usually, I disagree with her, but I don’t know how to identify that part of her voice. say his. “

McCurdy said their shared eating disorder was a way for her and her mother to connect.

“There’s an eating disorder everywhere, where the more entrenched you are in that illness, the more your instincts latch onto other people with the disease. It just keeps getting tangled up and perpetuating the cycle.”

She remembers her mother skipping breakfast, eating half a granola bar for lunch and raw veggies for dinner. She also restricted McCurdy’s daily calorie intake. McCurdy begins to gather together her mother’s unusual eating habits, but also finds relief in her own battles.

“She really helped me cure my eating disorder, which at the time I couldn’t identify as an eating disorder because I was living under the illusion of it.”

Her late mother did not openly address her and her daughter’s disorders.

When her mother passed away in 2013, McCurdy said the grief wasn’t simple.

“I missed my mom and I started to cry, I felt angry because I cried. I felt she didn’t deserve my tears, she abused me. How is there still room to leave? miss this person?”

Life as a child star

A woman stands to the left while several teenagers extend their arms towards her.
Jennette McCurdy greets fans at Nickelodeon’s special military family screening iCarly: iMeet The First Lady at Hayfield High School on January 13, 2012. McCurdy said in an interview with Q’ yes a lot of people are thinking about what [child stars] do’s and don’ts and how they should and should act. ‘ (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

Culture writer Ashley Spencer, who recently wrote a memoir for washington articlessaid that sometimes the relationship between child actors and guardians can get complicated.

“If parents are on their child’s payroll and they’re not in their best interests, they can push their child to do things the child doesn’t want to do.”

She adds that the celebrity tabloid culture of McCurdy’s first tenure at Nickelodeon in the early 2000s was rampant.

“There was a very eye-catching plot and the child stars of that era, and especially with the teen stars,” she said. People with thin bodies are being idolized, and teenage girls are deeply influenced by this dominant image, says Spancer.

There’s also added pressure on some young stars to behave in the public eye.

“There is a lot of pressure on the kids who are on the show to be a role model and be a good influence on the kids who are watching the show,” Spencer said.

Moving forward after action

Although she was confident about giving up acting, McCurdy knew it was the right decision.

She wrote and directed herself, created a women’s show homonymous to her memoir, and started hosting a podcast called The inside is empty. She also wrote and directed shorts Kenny and 8 Agencies.

She attended therapy for years before considering writing a memoir and realizing her relationship with her mother would always be complicated.

“I think she will always be the beat of my heart in some way,” McCurdy said. “I think there’s always something about that relationship that will stick with me and show who I am and who I will continue to be.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, here’s where to get help:

  • National Eating Disorders Information Center: 1-866-633-4220 (phone) | (conversation)
  • Child Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (phone), live chat advice on site.

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