'iCarly' 's Jennette McCurdy Felt 'Deeply Unhappy' Before She Quit Acting: It Was 'Hellish'

"I actually really resented my life, because I didn't like the projects that I was a part of," said the former actress

Jennette McCurdy
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Jennette McCurdy is continuing to open up about her decision to quit acting.

On the latest episode of her podcast Empty Inside, McCurdy, 28, said that despite the success she found at a young age, she was "deeply unhappy" before she decided to step away from the industry.

"I was a famous 19-year-old, and making a bunch of money, and I felt like I had everything at my fingertips," McCurdy said. "But I was deeply unhappy, and I actually really resented my life because I didn't like the projects that I was a part of."

McCurdy got her acting start making appearances on various TV shows as a child, including episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, CSI, Malcolm in the Middle and Will & Grace, prior to working on Nickelodeon's hit show iCarly.

She played Sam Puckett on the popular teen sitcom for six seasons until it wrapped in 2012, and later reprised her role in the short-lived spinoff Sam & Cat opposite Ariana Grande.

"It's a difficult thing to say because the shows that I was on were so loved by so many people and so many kids, and I hear constantly, 'You made my childhood,'" McCurdy said. "And I think that's great that they had that experience. But that just was not my experience, and I felt a lot of shame — that I wasn't able to identify at the time — because I didn't like waltzing onto an over-lit, cheesy set and shouting a line. It felt so pointless and shallow."

Sam & Cat. Nickelodeon

The former actress said she struggled with the idea of being known for a character, rather than for who she really is.

"To be known globally for this thing that's not really me, it was just like, what the f---- am I doing?" she said. "How do I even find myself when I'm 19, and I've been famous for all the years that I would normally be stumbling through finding myself, yet I'm known as a thing that I'm not? It just was — hellish, I think, is not too intense of a word."

McCurdy previously said on Empty Inside that her mom was the one who signed her up for her acting career, and that she quit several years ago when her mom died.

On the latest episode of the podcast, she said her team initially pushed back against her decision and tried to change her mind.

"My managers and everybody I know is telling me I'd be crazy to leave," she recalled. "'How can you walk away from this? Are you kidding, do you have any idea how many people want you have?' But it didn't matter because I didn't want it — it just wasn't true to me. And walking away was really difficult, but it was something that I needed to do for my mental health and for my overall peace. And it was difficult. I didn't know what to do with myself when I didn't have things that always dictated my identity around anymore."

Looking back, McCurdy said she has no regrets and has since started pursuing other endeavors, including writing, directing and podcasting.

"I'm living a life that's in accordance with who I am," she said. "And that feels a million times better."

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