What You Don't Know About Jennette McCurdy

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The following article includes allegations of child abuse and sexual assault.

In 2022, Jennette McCurdy released a heartbreaking memoir titled "I'm Glad My Mom Died." The book is brimming with revelations about the former "iCarly" star's tragic upbringing, along with details about her uncomfortable career in the spotlight. And despite the child actor wearing a squeaky clean smile for the press, she was suffering in silence behind the scenes. "Inside, I was hurting," she admits in an interview with ABC News. "It was painful. I was angry. I felt unsupported."

As she revealed to The Washington Post, her only drive toward pursuing a career in television was to satisfy her mom, who forced her into the entertainment business at the tender age of six. McCurdy alleges abuses she endured at the hands of her mother. Unfortunately, her experiences on Nickelodeon sets failed to offer any reprieve from the torment she was going through at home. Here's what you don't know about author and former actor Jennette McCurdy.

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

Jennette McCurdy grew up in an unstable household

Jennette McCurdy was raised in Garden Grove, California, yet in her memoir, she refers to it as "Garbage Grove" due to the crumminess of the city. Not only was her neighborhood substandard — she describes it being infested with "dead rats" — but so was the home she grew up in. According to McCurdy, she lived in a hoarding house. This was due to her mother, who insisted on holding on to items that she didn't need. The former starlet admits in an interview with Salon that her mother's hoarding habits most likely started soon after she learned she was diagnosed with cancer.  "From an early age, maybe I think it started as a result of her first occurrence of cancer when I was two years old, she became really sentimental and unable to part with anything," said McCurdy. 

Her mother's hoarding resulted in an incredibly messy living space that made McCurdy feel ashamed. But the messiness of the place was nothing compared to the abuse she experienced and witnessed from her mother. "My earliest memories of childhood were of heaviness, and chaos," McCurdy revealed to People. "My mom's emotions were so erratic that it was like walking a tightrope every day. The mood fluctuations were daily."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Her mother allegedly encouraged her eating disorder

Jennette McCurdy has been very open about the eating disorder she began struggling with when she was 11 years old. One of the most heartbreaking elements of her anorexia is that her mother, Debrah McCurdy, encouraged calorie-counting. Because the former "iCarly" star felt like she had such a lack of power and agency in her life, her disordered eating was the one thing she felt like she was in full control of. 

She admitted on "The Minimalist Podcast," "I felt like everything else in my life was either my mother's decision or my manager's decision or my agent's decision or the network's decision. I felt like there were so many people in my life making every decision for me. I really felt like I had no authority over myself." Yet, when it came to controlling what she ate, she thought, "I can at least control this."

As she explains in her memoir, the disorder started when Jennette began to develop breasts. Debrah put great effort into making sure her daughter remained as childlike as possible, to both maintain power over her and to ensure she was granted more opportunities in the entertainment industry. In order to hinder her growth, Jennette's mother suggested she go on a strict diet. "I think my mom wanted to keep me as controllable as possible," she told ABC News. "I think she really wanted to have her influence on me, and me growing up was a threat to that."

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Her mother allegedly sexually abused her until she was 17

Debrah McCurdy's infantilization of Jennette McCurdy had many tragic manifestations. The former "iCarly" star reported that her mother would "wipe" her in the bathroom even though she was old enough to do so herself. But worst of all for Jennette, as she alleges in her memoir, was that her mother would bathe her until she was 17 years old. She claims that her mother would do "medical exams" on her body to make sure she didn't have any signs of breast cancer. (Jennette's mother had breast cancer and eventually died of it.) Jennette was, of course, traumatized by the shower routine and would always disassociate during the abuse. "I usually just try and think of Disneyland when Mom's doing the exams," she writes in her book.

"I absolutely felt violated," Jennette said in a "NightLine" interview with ABC News. "And eventually accepting that was the most integral piece to my own healing and recovery."

As she admits in an interview with USA Today, it took some time for her to come to terms with the fact that her mother had been abusing her for so long. And because it was her mother who was doing it, she felt a need to defend the woman's actions. Now, Jennette has come to the realization that what she experienced was narcissistic abuse. "My mom didn't deserve her pedestal," McCurdy writes in her book. "She was a narcissist."

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

The iCarly star was forced into acting

While some energetic tweens would kill to be on a hit show like "iCarly," Jennette McCurdy yearned for a normal life outside of the spotlight. The former Nickelodeon star never wanted to become an entertainer in the first place. Acting was something that was forced upon her by her mother, Debrah McCurdy. Jennette says in an interview with ABC News that the reason her mother pushed her into acting was rather selfish. "Her approach was very unhealthy and informed by her own lack of self-worth," she says of her mother's "stage mom" persona, adding, "and she lived vicariously through me."

Jennette explains in her book that she would land a few small commercials and TV roles here and there, but she didn't find the work all that enjoyable. And once she finally landed her biggest role yet as Sam Puckett on "iCarly," her misery only heightened. "My experience with acting is, I'm so ashamed of the parts I've done in the past," she confessed on her "Empty Inside" podcast (via Cosmopolitan). She later continued, "I resent my career in a lot of ways. I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing." It didn't help that she was maturing in her teen years and knew her friends weren't impressed with her work.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Her mother tried to ruin her acting career

As hard as Debrah McCurdy worked to build her daughter's acting career, she was willing to work just as diligently to tear it all down. As previously mentioned, Debrah had several methods to keep her daughter in an infantilized state. One of these methods, as Jennette McCurdy claims in her book, was that her mom allegedly refused to let her date boys. This was still the case when the former iCarly star was already 18, making her a legal adult who could make her own decisions.

Jennette shares in her memoir "I'm Glad My Mom Died" that she began dating someone in private. She went to the beach in Hawaii with her secret boyfriend and she realized that a paparazzo was snapping photos of them together. She was terrified that her mother would get a hold of the pictures and knew she'd have to face her wrath once she did. Jennette's predictions were right, and she woke up to countless missed calls and texts from Debrah. As the memoirist revealed (via The New York Times), her mother flooded her inbox with name-calling: "ugly monster," "slut," and "floozy" just to name a few things. To top it all off, Debrah ended their conversation by demanding money from her daughter.

It was after that incident that her mother worked as hard as she could to tear down Jennette's career. The author shared that Debrah would write nasty things on her daughter's online fan pages in the hopes of sabotaging her fanbase (via Perez Hilton).

She developed a close relationship with her co-star Miranda Cosgrove

Although Jennette McCurdy is very open about the fact that she did not enjoy her time on "iCarly," there was one wonderful thing to come out of it. According to the "Empty Inside" podcast host, she developed a sisterly kinship with her co-star, Miranda Cosgrove. As she reveals in her memoir, "I'm Glad My Mom Died," the two became BFFs through AIM instant messenger. They would spend hours giggling with each other online, which helped them become closer in real life, as well. Soon, they were practically attached at the hip.

As McCurdy says in her book, she was initially worried that she and Cosgrove would drift apart once "iCarly" wrapped up for its final episode. But to her great relief, the co-stars still care for each other, even if they're not quite as close as they were years ago. "I love Miranda to pieces," McCurdy shared while speaking with Entertainment Tonight. "I always will. She has such a special place in my heart. She helped me grow as a person and heal as a person, and I hope I did the same for her, and I just love her so much."

In an interview with The New York Times, Cosgrove admits that there was a lot that she didn't know about McCurdy's struggles in the entertainment business. She said, "You don't expect things like that from the person in the room who's making everyone laugh."

The truth about Jennette McCurdy's biological father

Another bombshell from Jennette McCurdy's book was when she found out that the dad who had raised her was not her biological father. McCurdy discovered this in her 20s, and learning this truth so late in life felt like a betrayal. As she reveals in her book "I'm Glad My Mom Died," which can now be purchased on Amazon Prime, she had never shared a close connection with her father (technically stepfather) despite desperately wanting to have one. McCurdy indicates that he was distant throughout her childhood (via BuzzFeed). She even describes one heartbreaking incident in which he spelled her name wrong on a birthday card. 

When she learned that her father was not her biological dad, she ventured out to find her biological parent. With the support of Miranda Cosgrove by her side, McCurdy attended the jazz venue where he was performing one night. There, she met her biological dad, whose eyes filled with tears the moment he saw her, as she writes in her memoir

Although the moment was emotional and profound, it still left McCurdy feeling slightly uncertain over where her relationship with her biological father stood. "I'm confused and sad that he didn't reach out to me first," she writes. "I will never know for sure if he wanted to meet me or if he was just saying it because that's what you're supposed to say."

She admits to being jealous of co-star Ariana Grande

Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande co-starred in the Nickelodeon spin-off "Sam & Cat." In the series, McCurdy reprised her role as the feisty Sam Puckett, while Grande reprised "Victorious'" Cat Valentine, the warm-hearted ditz. They played polar opposites on-screen, and their off-screen lives proved to be no different. Yet unlike on the sitcom, it wasn't just their personalities that were polarizing; it was their respective upbringings, too. 

As much as McCurdy tried not to compare herself to the pop star, she couldn't help but do so on a daily basis. "I grew up in Garbage Grove in a god****ed hoarder house with a cancerous mom who constantly wept about not being able to afford rent and utility bills," McCurdy notes in her memoir. "Ariana grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, an incredibly wealthy, idyllic town, with a healthy mom who could buy her whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted — Gucci bags, fancy vacations, Chanel outfits."

Furthermore, during the series' run, Grande's career sky-rocketed into mega-stardom while McCurdy's remained stagnant. The former "iCarly" star couldn't help but feel as though Grande was being offered special treatment. While Grande was able to miss work and show up late so she could attend to her music career, McCurdy says that she had to back out of two feature films to commit to the show. "I didn't like her," she writes (via Entertainment Tonight). "I couldn't like her."

Nickelodeon creator Dan Schneider allegedly was abusive

In Jennette McCurdy's memoir, she details the uncomfortable dynamic she had with a person whom she calls "The Creator." (Dan Schneider, who created multiple Nickelodeon hits such as "iCarly," "Drake & Josh," and "Victorious," is allegedly who she is referring to.) According to McCurdy's memoir (per ABC News), "The Creator" put the former starlet in several uncomfortable positions, including the moment when he pressured her to consume alcohol under the legal drinking age. 

He tried to shame her into drinking by pitting the "iCarly" kids and the "Victorious" cast against each other. "The Victorious kids get drunk together all the time," he allegedly told her, as she reveals in her book. "The iCarly kids are so wholesome. We need to give you guys a little edge." Finally, McCurdy gave in to please "The Creator." This moment was followed by Schneider allegedly giving her a "back massage." "My shoulders do have a lot of knots in them, but I don't want The Creator to be the one rubbing them out," she writes. "I want to say something, to tell him to stop, but I'm so scared of offending him."

As of now, there is "no comment" from Schneider (per ABC News), though this is not the first time he has been questioned for his on-set behavior.

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

Nickelodeon allegedly offered Jennette McCurdy hush money

When it was finally time for "iCarly" and "Sam & Cat" to wrap up, Jennette McCurdy felt an immense wave of relief. But she received a strange phone call following her time at Nickelodeon, which made her instantly suspicious. On the call, her managers relayed the message that she was offered $300,000 dollars as a "thank you" for her time on the series (via Vanity Fair). Yet in reality, she knew immediately that it was "hush money" to ensure she didn't talk about her experiences on set. Although McCurdy admits that she probably could have used that money, because she decided at that point to quit acting altogether, she knew in her gut that she had made the right choice by declining. "This is a network with shows made for children. Shouldn't they have some sort of moral compass? Shouldn't they at least try to report to some sort of ethical standard?" she wondered in her memoir.

"The way I see it now is, that decision came from self-righteousness," McCurdy said in an interview with The Washington Post. "Should I have taken that money? I'm glad I didn't because I'm able to talk about it, and I don't have to have that secret haunt me." When pressed about the hush money on "Good Morning America," McCurdy emphasized that there was a lot more in her book than that.

Why she refuses to star in the iCarly reboot

While actors Miranda Cosgrove and Nathan Kress were willing to re-open the door to the "iCarly" universe, Jennette McCurdy was unable to rejoice in the excitement with her old castmates. The former Nick star had no interest in returning to a role that she was deeply ashamed of and embarrassed about. And despite Miranda Cosgrove's pleas for her to join the show, McCurdy didn't hesitate in her refusal.

She told The Washington Post that although the series gave her solid friendships along the way, as well as a nice paycheck, none of it was worth it in the end. "That time of my life was so drenched in the baggage of not wanting to be there, of my mom, of the environment that I was in — I'd like to be able to have a little bit more peace with that."

McCurdy isn't quiet about the fact that she hated playing Sam Puckett. She admitted on her "Empty Inside" podcast (via Showbiz CheatSheet) that her time on "iCarly" had lowered her self-confidence in a way that she is still attempting to recover from. "...I almost could cry," she said of her time in the role. "I know that kids liked the shows and I think that's great that they liked them, but for me, it was really hugely negative on my self-esteem and on my mental health. It's a thing that kind of haunts me."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

What is Jennette McCurdy's net worth?

Jennette McCurdy came from a poor family that often struggled with paying the bills and monthly rent. The reason McCurdy got into acting in the first place was partly because her mother wanted her to have the finances that she never had while growing up. And while many actors only dream of making it big, McCurdy was able to land a big-time role on "iCarly" that washed away her family's financial woes. But what exactly is the former Nickelodeon star's net worth? 

According to Celebrity Net Worth, she has an estimated fortune of $3.5 million dollars. The website reports that she received $50 thousand dollars (an unconfirmed sum) for every episode of "iCarly" that she starred in. Despite her supposed hefty salary, she prefers to live a modest lifestyle that isn't as luxurious as some might anticipate. 

In her book "I'm Glad My Mom Died," McCurdy says that she likes to keep her living space as "simple" as possible. This is partially due to her childhood — she doesn't want to relive the chaotic hoarding space her mother had created within their home. In fact, she even sold her lavish hillside house in Studio City (per the Los Angeles Times) and scooped up a "measly little one-bedroom apartment," as it is described in her book.

Will she ever act again?

While sitting with ABC News, Jennette McCurdy discussed her decision to quit acting. According to the former star, she associated show business with the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother, who forced her into the industry in the first place. Breaking away from that world, she says, was a very important part of her recovery process. "My whole childhood and adolescence were very exploited. It still gives my nervous system a reaction to say it," she admitted to The New York Times. "There were cases where people had the best intentions and maybe didn't know what they were doing. And also cases where they did, they knew exactly what they were doing."

But in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she said that she hasn't ruled out the possibility of acting again if the right opportunity comes up. Yet it seems as though she will only take on a role if it helps to heal her and lifts her up. Whatever path she chooses, whether it's writing, acting, or something else entirely, we support Jennette McCurdy's endeavors.