Jennette McCurdy says her mother ‘explicitly’ told her how to engage in disordered eating

·2 min read
Jennette McCurdy Portrait Session (2022 Invision)
Jennette McCurdy Portrait Session (2022 Invision)

Jennette McCurdy, who starred in iCarly as a teenager, has said her mother “explicitly told me how to engage in disordered eating” in a new interview.

McCurdy, who was 15 when the teenage sitcom was released on Nickelodeon in 2007, has opened up about her abusive childhood in a scathing memoir titled I’m Glad My Mom Died.

In the book, which was released in the US on Tuesday (9 August), McCurdy reveals the emotional and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother Debra since she was a young girl.

McCurdy, in the memoir, writes that her mother taught her disordered eating so that she could delay puberty and continue to land child roles, to support her family.

In a new interview with The Cut, McCurdy, now 30, said her mother, who died of breast cancer in 2013, “explicitly told me how to engage in disordered eating”.

She continued: “As a survival instinct and a coping mechanism growing up, I couldn’t face that it was an eating disorder, and I just lived in the delusion that this was mom’s way of helping me and helping my career.

“In therapy and in retrospect, recognising that as such obvious abuse, it’s unsettling,” she continued.

Elsewhere in the interview, the former child star revealed that when one doctor suggested she might have an eating disorder, the idea was vehemently denied both by McCurdy and her mother.

“My first therapist had suggested that she was abusive, and that led me to leave that therapist,” McCurdy told the publication, adding, “I couldn’t handle the idea that my mother was abusive because that would mean reframing my entire life. The one narrative of my life was ‘Mommy knows best.’”

McCurdy played Sam Puckett in iCarly, which ended in 2012. She went on to co-star with Ariana Grande in the spin-off series Sam and Cat.

In her memoir, McCurdy also alleges she was “photographed in a bikini at a wardrobe fitting” and was “encouraged to drink alcohol by an intimidating figure” she refers to as “the Creator”.

McCurdy, told The New York Times that her mother Debra was present during these alleged moments, but didn’t get involved as she believed this was what happened when you were in the acting business.

For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677. You can visit their website here.

NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. They can be reached by phone on 845 838 2040 or their website here.