Jennette McCurdy has revealed she had a very traumatic childhood where she was not even allowed the privacy to have a shower alone until the age of 17.
In her one-woman dark comedy show "I'm Glad My Mom Died" which recently wrapped, McCurdy detailed the years of "intense" physical and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her late mother Debbie McCurdy. The former iCarly star, whose mother lost her life to cancer in 2013 after a long battle of 17 years, is also planning to release a memoir of the same name as her show.
Speaking to People magazine about the success of her show, the 29-year-old said, "It's thought-provoking. But even though it may seem black and white, there's a fullness to my narrative. Life can be dark — and messy. Nobody has a perfect life."
McCurdy was brought up by her father Mark and mother Debbie, who was obsessed with making her daughter a star after she couldn't fulfil her own dreams of becoming a famous actor. "My earliest memories of childhood were of heaviness, and chaos. My mom's emotions were so erratic that it was like walking a tightrope every day. The mood fluctuations were daily," the "Sam and Cat" alum recalled about her childhood, adding that she also witnessed physical fighting between her parents with Debbie's outbursts often turning violent.
McCurdy said that by the time she turned six, Debbie became fixated on her, an only child. The young girl had to go on auditions despite being "cripplingly shy," and eventually found steady work. The former actress said that she felt her job as a child actress was to keep the peace and make her mother happy.
However, things worsened as she grew older, as Debbie started bleaching her hair and whitening her teeth at the mere age of 10. By the time she turned 11, she had to start calorie counting all of her meals, which eventually led to multiple eating disorders. When she landed her popular role of Sam on iCarly, the teenager was suffering from full-fledged anorexia — which later swung to binge eating and then bulimia.
Until she turned 17, three years into working on the show, her mother still insisted on performing vaginal and breast exams on her and never let her shower alone. McCurdy says she was "so repressed and delayed developmentally" due to her mother's control, that she rebelled and started having sex and experimenting with alcohol only after Debbie's death.
McCurdy, who credits her recovery from eating disorders in 2018 to intense therapy, said that she still wouldn't have healed if her mother was alive. "It was only distance from her that allowed me to get healthy," she said.
"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," she added.