Jennette McCurdy is still healing from the trauma of being a child actor.
The now-retired actress played comedic roles in Nickelodeon's iCarly and Sam & Cat, but when she thinks of her experiences on those sets, all she feels is anger. "My whole childhood and adolescence were very exploited," she told the New York Times Aug. 4. "There were cases where people had the best intentions and maybe didn't know what they were doing. And also cases where they did—they knew exactly what they were doing."
According to the NYT, she writes in her new memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died about being "photographed in a bikini at a wardrobe fitting and being encouraged to drink alcohol by an intimidating figure she simply calls the Creator."
Jennette said her mother Debra McCurdy, who died of cancer in 2013, was present for instances like this but didn't intervene, because she thought it was a part of being an actress.
Jennette kept her concerns to herself, but grew increasingly upset by the way she was treated on-set, especially after she was promised a spin-off series. Nickelodeon walked back on their promise, instead making Jennette a co-lead in Sam & Cat, alongside Ariana Grande.
It was while she starred on Sam & Cat that Jennette decided she couldn't take it anymore. "What finally undid me was when Ariana came whistle-toning in with excitement because she had spent the previous evening playing charades at Tom Hanks's house," she writes in I'm Glad My Mom Died, according to the NYT. "That was the moment I broke."
Jennette said that after Sam & Cat was canceled, Nickelodeon offered her $300,000 to keep her experiences private but she refused the offer. E! News reached out to Nickelodeon for comment and didn't hear back.
At the time, Jennette's iCarly co-star Miranda Cosgrove didn't understand why her friend was so resentful, partly because she wasn't paying attention. "When you're young, you're so in your own head," Miranda told the NYT. "You can't imagine that people around you are having much harder struggles."
Miranda added that Jennette was good at keeping up appearances, saying, "You don't expect things like that from the person in the room who's making everyone laugh."
Humor is Jennette's coping mechanism though. It's why she gave her memoir such a shocking title, which has already caused trouble among her family. As Jennette's brother Marcus shared, "Our grandmother is very upset about that title."
Marcus is more understanding, having witnessed his mother's volatility firsthand. "You were always walking on eggshells—is it going to be nice mom or crazy mom today?" he told the NYT. "One day she'd be fine, the next day she'd be yelling at everybody. Every holiday was super overdramatic. She'd lose her mind on Christmas if something wasn't perfect."
So, if Jennette finds healing through jokes, Marcus is OK with it. "You can either be like, ‘Woe is me, my life is horrible,'" he said. "Or you find the humor in these things that are really tragic."
I'm Glad My Mom Died hits bookstands on Aug. 9.