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Culture > Entertainment

Everything Jennette McCurdy Said About Working On ‘iCarly’ In Her New Book

On August 9, Jennette McCurdy released her book, I’m Glad My Mom Died. Referred to as a “revelatory memoir” by Rolling Stone, the book sold out on the first day of sales at Amazon, Target, and Barnes and Noble. 

McCurdy’s book takes a personal approach to her life behind the screen, both at home, with an abusive mother, and at work, being a child star at Nickelodeon. Fans did not know about so many aspects of her life until now, but the most heartbreaking thing is how long she kept it a secret. 

In a sad yet funny tone, Jennette gives readers a peek at her life. When watching her on iCarly and Sam & Cat, iconic childhood shows among Gen Z audiences, it seems she had her dream life and career. But behind the scenes, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Here are the biggest takeaways from I’m Glad My Mom Died, and what Jennette said about working on iCarly.

1. Jennette’s Mom had a (Not So Great) Influence on Her Acting Career & iCarly.

As the book title already gives away, Jennette’s mom was not the best parent for her. “I feel I didn’t have the tools, language, or support necessary to speak up for myself back then. So this book is a way for me to honor that experience and give voice to my former self and hope to encourage young people to speak up for themselves,” Jennette told Entertainment Weekly in an interview

Among many pressures her mom, Debby McCurdy, put on Jennette, Jennette discusses themes related to her health — eating disorders, weight, diet obsession, anorexia, body shaming — and her mom’s religion, Mormonism, which she often used as an excuse for her behavior towards her daughter. She also faced falsified paternity claims caused by her own mother.

The constant pressure Jennette’s mom put her under during her childhood and teenage years to book jobs in the entertainment industry made Jennette question if she really loved doing it or if she was doing it to please her mom because she did not know how to speak up. “I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing thing,” she said.

As the years passed and Jennette became more successful, independent, and aware of their relationship, she started to break away from her mom’s constant restrictions on her life. During her teenage years, McCurdy would give access to her mom to her personal text messages, email, and the former actress had zero to no privacy. Her mother would even shower her until she was 17 years old. 

When her mother died of cancer, Jennette was 21, and McCurdy turned to alcohol to provide comfort, sought romantic relationships that were not healthy, and dealt with physical and mental health issues. 

2. “the creator” of iCarly pressured Jennette, & Nickelodeon tried to give her hush money.

In addition to everything happening at home with her mom, Jennette’s career as the star of iCarly and Sam & Cat in the 2010s, was not always rainbow and roses. In fact, she profoundly regrets being part of the network. 

“I’m so ashamed of the parts I’ve done in the past, and I get that this answer is super unlikable. I resent my career in many ways,” McCurdy told Anna Faris about quitting acting on her podcast Empty Inside

In her book, Jennette refers to someone at Nickelodeon as “The Creator,” which most likely refers to the creator and producer of the shows, Dan Schneider. Schneider is mired in controversy, as many other child celebrities spoke up about being abused and manipulated on set by a “very high-end producer,” among other rumors around Jamie Lynn Spears’s child’s paternity. 

“The Creator,” as Jennette recalls, pressured her countless times to drink alcohol before being legally able to and to wear bikinis and photograph her while changing on set. The former actress also states that this person massaged her without consent. He also acted aggressively during Jennette’s first-ever kiss, which happened on screen with co-star Nathan Kress, who played Freddie on the show.

At one point in her Nickelodeon career, the network offered her $300,000 to not speak up about any matters on the show set. McCurdy declined the deal. When leaning on her mom for support in situations like this, her mom did not intervene and simply told her daughter that what she was experiencing was the price of success in show business and that “everyone wants what you have.”

3. Jennette’s experience on sam & Cat was very different from ariana grande’s.

After iCarly ended, McCurdy was promised by the network to star in a spinoff, which she thought would be her own show, as many other Nickelodeon stars had their own, like Miranda Cosgrove herself with iCarly, after the big success in Drake & Josh, and Victoria Justice with Victorious, after Zoey 101. Later, she found out she would be co-starring with Ariana Grande, who she said was always excused from filming and rehearsal sessions to pursue other opportunities

“So I have to turn down movies while Ariana’s off whistle-toning at the Billboard Music Awards?” Jennette writes. “What finally undid me was when Ariana came whistle-toning in with excitement because she had spent the previous evening playing charades at Tom Hanks’s house.” 

After finishing up iCarly in 2012 and Sam & Cat in 2014, McCurdy was off to pursue another project on the Netflix sci-fi show Between. However, when the show got canceled, McCurdy found herself still attached to the past resentment and trauma she lived through her work in acting. Soon, she realized she might need a step back from the industry. 

4. Miranda Cosgrove didn’t know about Jennette’s Struggles at the time.

Miranda Cosgrove, who co-starred on iCarly with Jennette from 2007 to 2012, recently told The New York Times that she could not even imagine what her colleague was going through, although they were close friends. It only came to her attention when they became older. 

“When you’re young, you’re so in your own head. You can’t imagine that people around you are having much harder struggles,” Cosgrove said. 

David Archuleta, another friend of Jennette’s and former colleague on iCarly, also spoke up about McCurdy’s relationship with her mom. He acknowledged that Jennette is very outgoing and bright, but was very protective of her mom, and they seemed close to one another. However, Archuleta could sense the tension between the two of them. 

“Because you’re always with that parent, they don’t really let you around anyone else. It gets to where it’s like, ‘You can’t make any decisions on your own. You can’t do anything on your own. You’re too dumb,’” Archuleta recalled his relationship with his father, who also profoundly controlled his career. 

5. Jennette is doing better after her Challenging Childhood Years.

Jennette eventually turned to writing to find herself through words. In her early 20s, McCurdy wrote short essays for The Wall Street Journal, sharing some of her experiences being a child star and actor. After a new series of personal articles, mostly about her mother, she decided to begin performing a one-woman show with the same title as her book. That was when she realized writing a book on her experience could be a one-of-a-kind opportunity. 

“I really wanted to build it out a lot more, get more into the childhood aspect of the story and work through the arc in a way that you only can with a book,” she explained to The New York Times.

Fortunately, today Jennette counts on the support of her older brothers, especially Marcus McCurdy, and close friends like Archuleta himself. According to her support system, the book brought her more confidence and strength around a life story that could easily be a tragedy. 

Although McCurdy decided to not take part in the recent reboot of iCarly on Paramount+, the actress did not push aside the idea of once coming back to the performance side of the business.

Currently, McCurdy has said in interviews that she feels much more confident moving forward and acknowledges that looking back is necessary to understand what’s ahead. Having a great support system has been the source of hope for her in this stage of life, as she was the one choosing with whom she should be sharing her life moments. 

“I have people around me now who are so supportive and loving. I feel so safe. I feel so much trust and so much openness,” she shared with The New York Times.

Giuliana is a Contributing National Writer for Her Campus, and the former Editor-In-Chief and President of Her Campus at Lynn. She recently graduated from Lynn University, with a BS in Marketing, Fashion & Retail and International Business Management. Among a lot of passions, Giuliana shows a high interest in the Publishing and the Marketing Industry. She is the author of the latest book "Brand You: How to Achieve Success through Personal Branding," which was published in May 2021. The book provides a new perspective on personal branding and personal marketing. One of her biggest dreams is to continue growing her own brand and help other people achieve success through their uniqueness. Giuliana is also a sister of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, and member of Golden Key International Honour Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society for Business, Management and Administration.