iCarly star Jennett McCurdy reveals mom gave her regular breast and vaginal exams
'If my mom were alive, I'd still have an eating disorder,' says 'iCarly' star on childhood trauma, the subject of her new stand up show and memoir
With a name like 'I'm Glad My Mom Died', Jennette McCurdy's new comedy show may not be for everyone, but it's not something that bothers the former 'iCarly' star. "There's a fullness to my narrative. Life can be dark — and messy. Nobody has a perfect life," she said in a new interview on October 13 about the show, which chronicles the abuse she faced at the hands of her mother. Now, for the first time, McCurdy has opened up about the extent of the abuse she faced, and the challenges she overcame as a budding young actress trying to make it big.
As countless celebrities and news reports have indicated, abuse is a very common part of the entertainment industry. In mid-September, the HBO documentary 'Jagged' came under fire by its subject Alanis Morissette, after it revealed she was raped numerous times at the age of 15. In August, we also reported on the "cult-like" behavior of stage actress Alice Ripley, which became a major controversy.
McCurdy's mother Debbie died from cancer in 2013, and since then it appears the actress has been on a "path to healing". "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," she told PEOPLE in an interview about her controversial new show, and the abuse she faced as a child.
'Distance from her that allowed me to get healthy'
While she will detail the full extent of her childhood woes in her upcoming memoir, McCurdy did drop some details in her interview with PEOPLE. "My earliest memories of childhood were of heaviness, and chaos," she said, and added her mom was "obsessed with making me a star." Despite being extremely shy, McCurdy attended auditions "to keep the peace" and make Debbie happy. But that wasn't all, Debbie's obsession was so strong she went much further than forcing auditions.
At the age of 10, Debbie began bleaching her daughter's hair and whitening her teeth. At 11, she introduced McCurdy to calorie counting, which led to full-fledged anorexia by 14 when McCurdy landed the gig on 'iCarly'. The anorexia turned to binge eating, and later bulimia. "I know if my mom were alive, I'd still have an eating disorder," she noted. McCurdy also says her mom insisted on performing vaginal and breast exams and never let her daughter shower alone until she was 17.
All that pressure from her mom lead to McCurdy having a dependency on alcohol after Debbie died. "I did not know how to find my identity without my mom," she noted. In 2018, five years after Debbie's death, the actress managed to recover thanks to intense therapy and find other outlets. She left Hollywood and began to build a life outside of Debbie's control. She was last seen on TV in ''Between' in 2016, and two cameos in 'Robot Chicken' and 'The Eric Andre Show'. After that, she appeared in several short films but has mostly been working on her show.