Jennette McCurdy Says Mom Became 'Hysterical' When She Tried to Quit Acting: 'This Was Our Chance!'

In a new excerpt from her book I'm Glad My Mom Died, iCarly alum McCurdy shares the moment she told her mom she wanted to quit acting — long before she found fame

Jeanette McCurdy
Photo: Brian Kimsley

Jennette McCurdy tried to quit acting before landing her role on iCarly.

The actress reveals in a new excerpt from her upcoming memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died that she was rebuffed when she first told her mother, Debra McCurdy, she wanted to leave the industry.

"We're on the way home, in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 101 South," McCurdy, 30, writes in the excerpt, shared by Entertainment Weekly. "I'm sitting in my booster seat since I'm still small enough to be required to sit in it."

"'I don't want to act anymore,' I say before I even realize I've said it. Mom looks at me in the rearview mirror. A mixture of shock and disappointment fills her eyes. I immediately regret saying anything."

McCurdy's mother reacts: "'Don't be silly, you love acting. It's your favorite thing in the world,' Mom says in a way that makes it sound like a threat."

Jeanette McCurdy
Brian Kimsley

Though McCurdy defends her view, the child ultimately gives in to her mom's opinion. "'You can't quit!" she sobs. 'This was our chance! This was ouuuuur chaaaaance!'" McCurdy writes of her mother.

"She bangs on the steering wheel, accidentally hitting the horn. Mascara trickles down her cheeks. She's hysterical, like I was in the Hollywood Homicide audition. Her hysteria frightens me and demands to be taken care of."

So, McCurdy responds, "Nevermind."

Later, she'll go on to star in iCarly, and the shorter-lived Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande.

McCurdy has long been vocal about her decision to quit acting, which didn't actually come until after her mom's death. In a March 2021 conversation on McCurdy's Empty Inside podcast, she expanded on the general unhappiness she held while acting.

"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."

"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 added. "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."

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