iCarly's Jennette McCurdy Spills Details of "Hellish" Acting Career and Battles With Her Own Team

Jennette McCurdy, best known for playing iCarly's Sam Puckett, revealed why her reps called her "crazy" for quitting acting despite the star feeling her career was "pointless and shallow."

By Ryan Gajewski Mar 12, 2021 9:16 AMTags
Watch: Jennette McCurdy Quits Acting, Embarrassed By Past Roles

Jennette McCurdy is sharing more about struggles during the height of her iCarly fame and why people around her tried to vehemently discourage her from switching careers.

During the Wednesday, March 10 episode of her Empty Inside podcast, the former Nickelodeon mainstay gave new details about her decision to pursue a new path away from Hollywood stardom. The 28-year-old star previously confirmed in an episode last month that she quit acting a few years back and will not join Miranda Cosgrove and other alums for the iCarly revival.

"I was a famous 19-year-old and making a bunch of money, and I felt like I had everything at my fingertips," Jennette said in the latest episode. "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."

She explained that even though she realized her shows were an important part of many people's childhoods, this didn't make the process more enjoyable.

Stars Who Quit Hollywood

"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,'" she 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."

Jennette was best known for as Sam Puckett on iCarly, which signed off in 2012 after six seasons, and she later reprised the role on Sam & Cat opposite Ariana Grande. But Jennette said she felt "very different from the character that I was playing," causing her to be unsure of her own identity.

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"To be known globally for this thing that's not really me, it was just like, What the f--k am I doing?" she continued. "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."

The former star of Netflix's Beyond said her mom was the person who wanted her to become an actress. When her mom died in 2013 after battling cancer, Jennette, then 21, decided it was time to walk away, but her representation team was not onboard.

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She said she made up her mind to "leave this career that my agents and my managers and everybody I know is telling me I'd be crazy to leave. '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."

Ultimately, she found that once she started pursuing other career avenues, including writing, directing and podcasting, she was no longer "living this lie." Jennette added, "I'm living a life that's in accordance with who I am, and that feels a million times better."