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14th Oct 2021

iCarly’s Jennette McCurdy claims her abusive mother gave her an eating disorder

Laura Grainger

jennette McCurdy

The star left Hollywood in a bid to pave her own way outside of her mother’s ideas.

Former actress Jennette McCurdy has claimed her late mother, Debbie McCurdy, was emotionally and physically abusive and was responsible for her developing an eating disorder.

In an interview with People, Jennette opened up about the brow-raising title of her one-woman comedy show, ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died,’ alleging her mother’s obsession with making her a child star led to years of turmoil.

“My earliest memories of childhood were of heaviness, and chaos,” said the now-29-year-old. “My mom’s emotions were so erratic that it was like walking a tightrope every day. The mood fluctuations were daily.”

Jennette, best known for her role as Sam Puckett on Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Sam & Cat, said Debbie began taking her to auditions when she was 6 years old and “cripplingly shy.”

“My mom had always dreamt of being a famous actor and she became obsessed with making me a star,” she explained. “I felt like my job was to keep the peace. And I wanted to keep my mom happy.”

The child star claimed that when she was 10, Debbie began bleaching her hair and whitening her teeth. The following year, her mother allegedly introduced her to calorie counting.

By the time she was cast in iCarly at 14, Jennette was suffering from anorexia — which later developed into binge eating and bulimia.

Disturbingly, Jennette also alleged that Debbie insisted on performing vaginal and breast exams on her and wouldn’t let her shower alone until she was 17 years old.

It was only after Debbie died of cancer in 2013 that Jennette began having sex and experimenting with alcohol for the first time. She then developed a dependency on alcohol that she continued to struggle with for years, as was the case with her bulimia.

The former actress, who has been in recovery since 2018, said leaving Hollywood behind was a “risk” but allowed her to carve her own life outside of her mother’s ideas for her. She chose not to reprise her role as Sam in the iCarly reboot that aired earlier this year.

“I know if my mom were alive, I’d still have an eating disorder,” she said. “It was only distance from her that allowed me to get healthy.

“…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.”

If you have been affected by any of the details of this article, you can contact Childline on 1800 66 66 66 or Bodywhys on 01-2107906.