Jennette McCurdy spent the majority of her life elevating her mother. When the young child star’s mother passed away from cancer in September 2013, she had just begun her career in television and wasn’t sure what to do. In an interview with CBC’s Q with Tom Power, McCurdy said, “I don’t know who I am without her because I was living for her, and now she’s dead.” However, McCurdy claimed that a sense of relief also pervaded.
I didn’t know I would feel so guilty about that relief that I would shove it down, but there was some relief there even though I couldn’t face it at the time. McCurdy published her memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died last week, and both its shocking title and her relationship with her abusive mother, Debra, attracted media attention. Additionally, the 30-year-old spoke candidly about her battles with an eating disorder.
She claimed that “no child is psychologically, emotionally, or mentally prepared for the challenges of child stardom.” Even if they have the best support network possible, the former actor was best known for her part as Sam Puckett in the Nickelodeon sitcom iCarly in 2007. The show is about teenagers with a popular web series. Produced Six seasons of the program, most of the original cast returned for a revival in 2021.
McCurdy, however, asserted that she had no desire to pursue acting; her mother had always wanted to do so. She claimed, “I think she saw a change in me and a way of maybe fulfilling her dreams. In response to Q’s question, McCurdy said, “I just remember my whole life kind of being oriented to her and orchestrated around her and what she wanted, what she needed, and what would make her happy at any moment.”
McCurdy describes her mother as multi-faceted, complex, endearing, and contagious. But McCurdy explains her behavior as manipulative when they are alone. She recalled that she often disagreed with her but didn’t know how to find that part of her voice. “When I look back, [I can] recognize how much discordance there was between what I wanted and what responses were coming out of my mouth,” she said.
According to McCurdy, the fact that they both had eating disorders gave them a common bond. The more deeply ingrained you become in an eating disorder, the more likely you will latch on to other people who are also deeply ingrained in the disease. It just glows together and feeds the cycle.
She recalls her mother skipping breakfast and having a granola bar for lunch and dinner. Dinner was just plain vegetables. Additionally, she had limited McCurdy’s daily calorie intake. McCurdy began to make sense of her mother’s peculiar eating patterns while finding solace in her struggles. She assisted me with my eating disorder, which I could not recognize at the time because I was immersed in its illusion.
Her deceased mother never discussed the disorders of her and her daughter in public. McCurdy claimed grieving wasn’t easy after her mother passed away in 2013. “How is there still room to miss this person?” you might ask. “I’d feel like I miss her and start crying, I’d feel angry that I was crying, and I’d feel mom doesn’t deserve my tears because she abused me.”
Being A Child Actor
According to Ashley Spencer, a culture writer for the Washington Post, relationships between child actors and their guardians can occasionally become complicated. If a parent is working for their child and doesn’t have the child’s best interests in mind, they might be pressuring them to do things they otherwise wouldn’t want to. She adds that celebrity tabloid culture increased during McCurdy’s first employment at Nickelodeon in the early 2000s.
She claimed that teen stars, in particular, as well as child stars of the time, were subject to intense voyeuristic intrigue. According to Spencer, teen girls were heavily influenced by the idealized portrayal of thin bodies. Some young celebrities faced increased pressure to perform well in front of the public. “The kids who are on the shows are under a lot of pressure to be role models and positive influences on these kids who are watching the shows,” Spencer said.
Advancing After Acting
McCurdy had second thoughts about giving up acting, but she knew it was the right move. She devoted all her time to writing and directing, developed a solo performance named after her memoir, and started a podcast called Empty Inside. Additionally, she wrote and directed the short films 8 Bodies and Kenny.
Before considering writing a memoir, she spent years in therapy and knew her relationship with her mother will always be difficult. In some ways, she’ll always be the pulse of my life, McCurdy predicted. “I believe that relationship will always impact who I am and who I become,” the speaker said.