Jennette McCurdy shared more shocking details about her difficult upbringing in the latest episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk. McCurdy wrote extensively about her childhood and the troubled relationship she had with her mother, Debra McCurdy, in her memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died. At one point, she and her three older brothers slept on mats because of her mother's hoarding habit.
McCurdy, 30, told Red Table Talk hosts Smith, Willow Smith, and Smith's mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris that Debra's hoarding began after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. Debra needed "a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, radiation, mastectomy, [and an] implant." It was a "brutal time" for her family. Since McCurdy was so young, her first "flashes of memories" are from a "household that was very weighted in tragedy." Her grandparents moved in with them during Debra's illness.
How Jennette McCurdy Survived Her Mom’s Abuse
After years of suffering in silence, iCarly star Jennette McCurdy bravely opens up in her first in-depth interview about the decades of torment, exploitation, and manipulation inflicted by her very own mother.Posted by Red Table Talk on Tuesday, September 6, 2022
"I remember a time when Marcus, Dustin, and Scott slept in their trundle bunk bed and I slept in my nursery, but now our bedrooms are so filled with stuff that you can't even determine where the beds are, let alone sleep in them," McCurdy wrote in her book. "We don't sleep in the bedrooms anymore. Trifold mats were purchased from Costco for us to sleep on in the living room. I'm pretty sure the mats were meant for kids' gymnastic exercises. I do not like sleeping on mine. This house is an embarrassment. This house is shameful. I hate this house."
Debra began hoarding because she started attaching "meaning and significance" to the tiniest object, McCurdy told Smith. She started keeping everything McCurdy and her brothers touched, which "overwhelmed" the house. "It really did not feel like a home. It felt like a place of chaos and of turmoil and turbulence," she said.
McCurdy also read an email Debra wrote her on Red Table Talk. The email, which was included in her book, begins with Debra telling her daughter she is "so disappointed" in her. "You used to be my perfect little angel, but now you are nothing more than a little' — all caps — 'slut, a floozy, all used up,'" the letter read. "'And to think you wasted it on that hideous ogre of a man. I saw the pictures on a website called TMZ. I saw you rubbing his disgusting hairy stomach. I knew you were lying about Colton.' (I had told her I was with a friend, Colton.) Add that to a list of things you are: liar, conniving, evil."
Debra went don't to tell her daughter that she looked "pudgier" and it was "clear" she was "eating your guilt." The letter continued, "Thinking of you with his ding-dong inside of you makes me sick. Sick! I raised you better than this. What happened to my good little girl? Where did she go and who is this monster that has replaced her? You're an ugly monster now. I told your brothers about you and they all said they disown you just like I do. We want nothing to do with you. Love, Mom — or should I say Deb since I am no longer your mother? P.S. Send money for a new fridge; ours broke."
In her book, McCurdy wrote that Debra was controlling, overseeing almost every aspect of her life and career. She claimed Debra, who died in 2013, ignored troubling incidents behind the scenes at Nickelodeon. She also claims someone served her alcohol when she was underage and suffered from untreated eating disorders. Before her book was published, McCurdy told PEOPLE she suffered "intense" physical and emotional abuse from her mother.
"My whole childhood and adolescence were very exploited," McCurdy told The New York Times in August. "It still gives my nervous system a reaction to say it. 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."
McCurdy started her career as a child actor, appearing in several crime procedurals and sitcoms before she was cast as Sam Puckett in Nickelodeon's iCarly. In 2013, she starred in Sam & Cat, a spin-off co-starring Ariana Grande as her Victorious character. She quit acting in 2017 to focus on writing and directing.