Inside Jennette McCurdy's History With Substance Use

Jennette McCurdy grew up in the public eye as the star of Nickelodeon mega-hit "iCarly" and its short-lived spinoff "Sam & Cat," which also featured "Victorious" star Ariana Grande. McCurdy has taken a major step back from acting in the years since and, in her new memoir "I'm Glad My Mom Died," she explains why. As Vox put it succinctly, the revelatory, tell-all book "lays bare the horrors of child acting." 

On why it's hit so hard with readers, aside from that deliberately eyebrow-raising title, McCurdy reasoned to Nylon, "I think and hope it's because of the honesty." Aside from delving deep into her complicated relationship with her late, abusive mother, McCurdy also shares how tough it was playing second fiddle to Grande as her star rose, as well as her complex love/hate relationship with acting. 

The former child star underwent extensive therapy to deal with everything she endured along the way, and writing "I'm Glad My Mom Died" was evidently a key part of that process. Another major step on her journey was grappling with the substance abuse she'd kept hidden from virtually everybody for years. 

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).

The iCarly star became dependent on alcohol at the height of her career

Today points out that, at the height of her fame, as the co-lead of "iCarly" and later "Sam & Cat," Jennette McCurdy seemed like she had it all. But, behind the scenes, the young woman was suffering. In particular, McCurdy details her mistreatment at the hands of a powerful man she refers to only as "The Creator" (widely believed to be former Nickelodeon kingmaker Dan Schneider). As she tells it, this tyrant plied her with alcohol when she was underage, among other things. 

As Buzzfeed notes, though, McCurdy's substance abuse actually began when her mother was undergoing yet another hospital stay back in 2013 (Debra McCurdy ultimately passed away that same year). The "Sam & Cat" star took a vacation with friends, tried alcohol for the very first time and, from that point onwards, she began drinking almost every night. 

At the height of her dependency, McCurdy was imbibing around 8-10 shots of liquor on a daily basis. After receiving encouragement from a boyfriend she met on the set of TV series "Between," McCurdy finally sought professional help but, once they began exploring her relationship with her mother, the actor stopped attending her sessions.

Jennette McCurdy spent years working through her issues in therapy

Per Good Morning America, it took over a year and a half, and a dozen drafts, for Jennette McCurdy to finally complete "I'm Glad My Mom Died." She credits extensive therapy with helping her come to terms with the extent of her mother's emotional and physical abuse, over the years she was in the spotlight. As McCurdy admitted to Teen Vogue, "My first therapist had suggested that my mom was abusive, and that actual day I quit [going to that therapist]." 

The former child star elaborated, "I couldn't face the idea that my mom wasn't this beautiful angel that I had made her out to be, and that I think I needed her to be, frankly, as a coping mechanism." Although she misses her mother and wishes things could've been different, McCurdy has made it clear that the tile of her memoir is not meant to be facetious. 

In fact, "I know if my mom were alive, I'd still have an eating disorder," she told People emphatically. No doubt referencing the other issues she contended with over the years, McCurdy, who notably isn't in the "iCarly reboot," stated, "It was only distance from her that allowed me to get healthy."