Jennette McCurdy promoting 'I'm Glad My Mom Died'
Source: Instagram

The Real Reason Jennette McCurdy Quit Acting Is Actually Really Inspiring

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Mar. 3 2021, Published 7:29 p.m. ET

Nickelodeon star Jennette McCurdy, who we know as Sam from iCarly and its spinoff, Sam and Cat, has completely rebranded, and we are huge fans. She now hosts a podcast called Empty Inside, in which she interviews various guests about topics such as acting, eating disorders, mental health, and more. Most recently, Anna Faris was her Season 2 inaugural guest, and Jennette opened up about her relationship with her mom.

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Jennette’s relationship with her mom is super complicated. Jennette’s mom, Debra McCurdy, passed away in 2013, and Jennette took years to come to terms with her loss due to their complex relationship. In 2020, Jennette even wrote and performed her one-woman show, I’m Glad My Mom Died, although many performances were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

jennette
Source: Nickelodeon
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Jennette McCurdy opened up about her complicated relationship with her mom on her podcast.

Jennette discussed with Anna Faris, another notable podcast host, the reason she quit acting. Part of it is just that Jennette never wanted to get into it in the first place, but her mom was actually a bit of a stage mom. She shared, "I quit a few years ago because I initially didn't want to do it. My mom put me in it when I was six and by sort of age, I guess, 10 or 11, I was the main financial support for my family."

Source: Instagram
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That’s a big burden on a child’s shoulders, which led to more anxiety around acting and performing. Jennette continued, “I ultimately quit after my mom passed away because with her death kind of died a lot of her ideas for my life, and that was its own journey, and a difficult one for sure." Jennette also confirmed she did not want to go back to acting for the long-awaited iCarly revival that will be coming to Paramount+.

Jennette McCurdy did return to acting for her one-woman show, ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died.’

It’s a morbid title for a show, but it's also one that definitely piques interest. Jennette took years to come to terms with her mom’s death, and she finally tackles it in her one-woman show. In an exclusive with Elite Daily, Jennette revealed that she didn’t have the emotional toolbox to deal with her mother’s death in 2013 so she turned to alcohol. 

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Source: Instagram

Jennette really didn’t want to get back up in front of an audience though. She shared, "[I was] thinking, 'Maybe I'll have a different friend do the show every night and wear a wig,'" she says. "And then I realized that was a terrible idea and that the only person who could do the one-woman show was me. It had to come from me. It's so personal.” 

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She now says that was a one-off situation, although it sounds like she would much rather write and direct, and she definitely has a talent for that. In 2011, when she was only 19, Jennette wrote a piece about her mom’s struggles with cancer for The Wall Street Journal. She wrote, “She wakes up every day hurting and goes to sleep hurting even more. My mother, the constant optimist and effervescent, sprightly woman I know her to be, is caged along with this hideous beast they call cancer.”

Jennette’s relationship with her mom isn’t the only reason she quit acting.

Although Jennette had a tumultuous relationship with her mom, or at least a challenging reckoning with her grief, there were several other things at play when it came to her decision to quit acting. In 2019, Jennette wrote a piece for HuffPost about her lifelong eating disorder, in which her mom was her biggest enabler.

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jennette
Source: Instagram

Jennette had an eating disorder since she was 11 years old upon realizing that looking smaller than her age would help her get more roles. However, it was her mom who put pressure on her to act in the first place. Not only that, but her mom appeared to have disordered eating as well, since Jennette recalled that “the only dinner I ever saw her eat was a plate of steamed broccoli and cauliflower with a single pinch of garlic salt for flavor."

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As Jennette got older, Hollywood unsurprisingly enabled her eating disorder. Whether they turned a blind eye or just didn’t see what was going on behind the facade, Jennette will never be sure. However, she wasn’t able to really get help until after her mom died. At first, like many people who have eating disorders, her body felt like the only thing she could control, so she relied more heavily on disordered eating to deal with her grief until she started to get help a few years later.

jennette
Source: Nickelodeon
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Now, Jennette talks about all these serious issues on her very honest podcast, and it has not gone unnoticed by her fans. She was always embarrassed by the roles she played and by the fact she was considered a “role model” just for “walking onto an overlit Nickelodeon set shouting lines about fried chicken.” Now she’s still a role model, but for so much more.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. 

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