After years of abuse, actress Jennette McCurdy isn’t afraid to talk about how her rise to fame was driven by her mother’s ambition.
The iCarly actress, 29, opened up to People about becoming a child star, struggling through abuse, and her new projects titled, “I’m Glad My Mom Died.”
The Obsession To Make a Child Famous Is Destructive
Too many child stars suffer abuse and trauma. From Natalie Wood to Corey Feldman, countless others have experienced the consequences of entering the entertainment industry at a young age. The most distressing aspect of all is that pushy moms are often the ones forcing their children into these strenuous careers that stretch even well-adjusted adults thin, proving that parents who wish to make their child a star seem to care more about fame than the well-being of their little ones.
Parents who wish to make their child a star seem to care more about fame than their child’s well-being.
Instead of allowing her daughter to play pretend and enjoy being a kid with her friends, Jennette McCurdy’s mother, Debbie, physically and emotionally abused her daughter into fulfilling her own dreams. The iCarly star admitted, “My mom had always dreamt of being a famous actor and she became obsessed with making me a star.”
Fear and Obedience Led to Eating Disorders
McCurdy learned to do as she was told or else suffer. “My mom's emotions were so erratic that it was like walking a tightrope every day. The mood fluctuations were daily,” she recalled. Her auditions were carried out for her mother’s sake. Even though it caused fights between her parents where Debbie would get physically violent, she noted, “I felt like my job was to keep the peace.”
McCurdy was just 6 years old when she was pushed to focus on her career. By the time she was 10, her mother was bleaching her hair and whitening her teeth. At age 11, she was ordered to start restricting what she ate. This led to a long battle with anorexia that lasted throughout her entire time working on iCarly.
Jennette began restricting her calories at age 11.
It was also when she was working on the hit Nickelodeon show that her mother became even more destructive. Up until she turned 17, McCurdy was subjected to vaginal and breast exams performed by Debbie, in addition to not being allowed to shower alone. That kind of control left the young star “so repressed and delayed developmentally” that she didn’t know what to do when her mother died. McCurdy was just 21 when she lost her mom, and it led to a period of experimenting with sex and alcohol. She struggled with fluctuating from binge eating to starving herself and eventually became bulimic.
She Got Help and Learned To Enjoy Her Freedom
Her mother died of breast cancer in 2013, but the loss was full of mixed emotions. McCurdy was free to leave Hollywood behind and pursue her own dreams, but it took years before she was finally able to heal. She said, “I know if my mom were alive, I'd still have an eating disorder. It was only distance from her that allowed me to get healthy.”
“I know if my mom were alive, I'd still have an eating disorder.”
Through intense therapy and time to explore her own life her way, Jennette McCurdy was able to recover and find balance in 2018.
“I did not know how to find my identity without my mom,” she said, offering some insight into that journey. “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.”
Jennette McCurdy has left behind TV acting to explore the world of theater and writing. Her one-woman show, I’m Glad My Mom Died, has allowed her to put a comedic spin on all her pain, and she’s currently writing a memoir with the same title. Her unique style is offering a fresh way to go public with her story without remaining a victim, proving that survivors often heal by finding a way to get the last laugh.
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