The tragedy that changed Jennette McCurdy’s life forever

Former child star Jennette McCurdy is widely known for her roles in a number of teen comedies of the 2000s and 2010s. However, that element of her life could be a thing of the past. First appearing on the small screen in 2000 when he was just 8 years old on an episode of “MADtv,” McCurdy dominated the television landscape among young audiences and soon became one of Nickelodeon’s most recognizable faces.

Of course, most fans will remember McCurdy as starring in Nickelodeon’s iCarly – in which she played the wild and sarcastic Sam Puckett – as well as in the spinoff series Sam & Cat, in which she starred opposite Singer Ariana Grande repeated . McCurdy has received a number of prestigious awards for this career, including numerous Teen Choice, Kids’ Choice and Young Artist Award nominations; Based on these roles, she even launched a music career. Since then, however, McCurdy has rarely appeared on television and has even expressed her shame and embarrassment at her previous roles. At this point, it seems unlikely that the former teenage star will ever return to Hollywood, largely because of the tragedies she endured both before and during her time in the industry that changed her life forever.

Though many former child stars in America are remembered for the harrowing experiences they endured in the industry as children, McCurdy’s story arguably stands out above all others, as much of the toxicity she endured as an actress stems from her own family came from.

Jennette McCurdy was sexually and emotionally abused by her mother

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In 2019, five years after Sam & Cat ended, Jennette McCurdy opened up about the eating disorders she suffered as a child in an essay for HuffPost. In the essay, she explained how her disorders, particularly bulimia and anorexia, stemmed from the pressure her mother Debbie put on her to look good on camera. “I always remember my mom really struggling with my body,” she wrote. “She regularly compared my height to other girls. She divided my meals for me. She helped me count calories.”

It wasn’t until she was 12, McCurdy said, that she finally realized her mother, who died of cancer in 2013, was “supportive” with her eating disorder. By the time the essay was published, however, she had recovered.

McCurdy opened up even more about her mother in a 2021 interview with People, in which she revealed Debbie had emotionally and sexually abused her for much of her life. For example, until McCurdy was 17, Debbie actually performed vaginal and breast exams on her and refused to let her shower alone. It wasn’t until she died when McCurdy was 21 that she felt free to experiment with sex and alcohol for the first time. “I didn’t know how to find my identity without my mother,” she said. “And I won’t lie. It was very difficult to get here. But now… I finally feel free.”

Jennette McCurdy is done with acting

Jennette McCurdy, who last appeared on screen in 2018, has said she is unlikely to return to acting. This isn’t surprising, not only given the associations she likely has with her acting career, but also because she only ever became an actress because her mother essentially forced her into it. “My mom always dreamed of being a famous actor and she was obsessed with making me a star,” she told People in 2021. “I wanted to do it [her] happy.”

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“I don’t fucking want to act anymore, I’m done,” McCurdy said on her Empty Inside podcast in March (via E! News). “My experience with acting is that I’m so ashamed of the roles I’ve done in the past… And I imagine that acting can be a very different experience if you’re proud of your roles .”

Though McCurdy, who recently turned 30, may be done with acting, she continues to be a force in the creative world, having written and directed her tragi-comedy one-woman play I’m Glad My Mom Died which ran in New York and LA in early 2020 until production halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also wrote a memoir of the same name, due for publication in August. No doubt McCurdy’s creativity will continue to flourish, and we’re sure to see many of her – or her work – in the public eye for years to come.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, help is available to help. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact the RAINN National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).