In a New York Times profile published Wednesday promoting her new memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” the outlet reports that McCurdy writes in her book that she was once photographed in a bikini during a Nickelodeon wardrobe fitting by an (unnamed) intimidating figure who also encouraged her to drink alcohol. McCurdy was a teenager when she worked at the network.
It is unclear if her mother, Debra ― who died in 2013 from breast cancer — was present during this particular incident, but according to the excerpts the Times paraphrased, she likely wouldn’t have intervened on her child’s behalf.
Apparently she’d instructed her daughter that instances like this were the price of fame.
“Everyone wants what you have,” McCurdy recalled her mother telling her.
This was not the only abuse McCurdy endured while on Nickelodeon. She also wrote how she was under the assumption that she would get her own “iCarly” spinoff on the network, but ended up getting a co-starring slot on “Sam & Cat,” which paired her with the future pop-music sensation Ariana Grande.
According to the Times profile, McCurdy wrote that Nickelodeon prevented her from accepting other career opportunities during her time on “Sam & Cat.” Yet this rule didn’t apply to Grande.
“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,” McCurdy remembers in the memoir. “That was the moment I broke.” The actor further claims that after “Sam & Cat” was canceled in 2014, she rejected a $300,000 offer to not speak publicly about her time at Nickelodeon. (The network declined to comment to the Times.)
McCurdy says in her memoir that her pursuit of acting was done solely to please her mother. Debra (whose own parents hadn’t wanted her to pursue acting) had her start auditioning for roles at six years old. Debra seemed to display manipulative behavior when her daughter didn’t book a job.
In an excerpt of her memoir published by Entertainment Weekly, McCurdy recalls sitting in a booster seat in her mom’s car after failing to book a job as a child because she wasn’t able to cry on cue during the audition.
McCurdy writes about the mixed emotions she felt not booking the job, and tried to express to her mother that she didn’t want to act anymore because it made her feel “uncomfortable.”
McCurdy described her mom’s face in response to her quitting looked “like she just ate a lemon. It contorts in a way that terrifies me.”
“’You can’t quit!” she sobs. ‘This was our chance! This was ouuuuur chaaaaance!’” McCurdy wrote.
Her mom then banged her hand on “the steering wheel, accidentally hitting the horn. Mascara trickles down her cheeks … Her hysteria frightens me and demands to be taken care of.”
McCurdy explains she attempted to diffuse the situation by telling her mom “nevermind” and suggesting that they listen to a song her mom liked. McCurdy said that once the song started playing, her mom “giddly” began singing along “her mood having switched.”
McCurdy has also been open in the past about how her mother sexually abused her. In an interview with People last year, McCurdy told the outlet that Debra “insisted on performing vaginal and breast exams” on her until she was 17, and “never let her shower alone.”
“It was only distance from her that allowed me to get healthy,” McCurdy told People at the time.
McCurdy’s memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died” will be available Aug. 9.