The Family Secret That Changed Jennette McCurdy's Life

Former "iCarly" star Jennette McCurdy is back in the headlines following the release of her memoir "I'm Glad My Mom Died." Per Vox, McCurdy opens up in the tell-all tome about everything from the physical and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother, to her substance abuse, and her eating disorder. 

The book's highly talked about title is intentionally attention-grabbing. As McCurdy explained to The Hollywood Reporter, her three older brothers support her decision. "It was also a title that I knew I wanted early on, I wanted something that was bold and also something that I meant sincerely," she explained. 

In writing her memoir, and promoting its release, the "Sam & Cat" star also grappled with reliving the moment she learned a devastating family secret that changed her life forever.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

The former child star learned the truth in her twenties

"I'm Glad My Mom Died" is filled with shocking revelations, particularly for fans of Jennette McCurdy, who watched her grow up on Nick shows including "Zoey 101," "Victorious," "iCarly," and its short-lived spinoff "Sam & Cat." Buzzfeed reports one of the biggest moments comes when Jennette details how she found out the man she always thought was her father, Mark McCurdy, wasn't actually her biological dad. 

Her mother, Debra McCurdy, had just died, and Mark began dating Karen, Debra's high school best friend, who encouraged him to come clean with Jennette in an effort to save their struggling relationship. The "iCarly" alum learned her real dad was a local, Los Angeles-based jazz musician named Andrew. Alongside a group of trusted friends, including former co-star Miranda Cosgrove, with whom McCurdy remains close, she attended a gig of his and approached him afterward. 

Andrew admitted he knew Jennette was his daughter all along, but he was afraid to reach out in case she didn't know. Likewise, Andrew worried that if Jennette learned the truth, she would be too distraught to broker any kind of relationship with him. As PopSugar points out, the actor was in her twenties when she learned the truth about her mom's long-term affair with him, which produced Jenette and her siblings.

Jennette McCurdy has alleged extensive parental abuse

The title of Jennette McCurdy's memoir is obviously deliberate. As she explained, when questioned about it during an appearance on "Good Morning America," anyone "who has experienced parental abuse understands this title and I think anybody who has a sense of humor understands this title." Debra, or Debbie, McCurdy passed away in 2013 and it's notably taken her famous daughter this long to work through their issues enough to put everything down on paper.

As the "iCarly" alum admitted, the grieving process has been tough since, "I felt like she didn't deserve my tears and my sadness since she was abusive, but it simplified in a really relieving way and now feels like I'm able to just miss her and I think that is only possible because of the healing that happened through the writing of the book." ET notes that, according to Jennette, Debra was the ultimate stage mom, who lived out her unfulfilled dreams through her kid.

She encouraged Jennette to gradually eat less and less until the child star was battling full-on anorexia, while Debra also conducted regular, invasive exams of Jennette's body, supposedly to ensure her daughter wasn't showing any signs of cancer (Debra died due to breast cancer). As the actor sadly acknowledged to People, "I felt like my job was to keep the peace. And I wanted to make my mom happy."