Jennette McCurdy reveals her mother’s abuse in emotional episode of ‘Red Table Talk’
Decades of physical and emotional abuse came out, as McCurdy discussed her life and new memoir on Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris’s show.
Jennette McCurdy appeared on “Red Table Talk” on Wednesday to discuss the abuse she said she endured as a child star, as well as read the spiteful email her now-deceased mother sent her before she died.
Co-hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris sat down with McCurdy as the actor-turned-writer detailed the abuse she said she endured, as well as alleged exploitation from “The Creator” — a figure who is never explicitly named.
McCurdy’s formative years were heartbreaking even before she began acting, something she claims was never her dream, but her mother’s. Debra McCurdy, who died of cancer in 2013, pushed her daughter to pursue a career in acting, despite it making her deeply uncomfortable, McCurdy said. In an excerpt of McCurdy’s book shared with Entertainment Weekly, McCurdy describes how she reacted to getting her role on “iCarly,” one of the Nickelodeon shows for which she’s best known.
“Everything’s going to be different now,” McCurdy wrote. “Everything’s going to be better. Mom will finally be happy. Her dream has come true.”
A career in entertainment wasn’t the only thing she said Debra McCurdy pushed onto her daughter. At age 11, McCurdy said she was taught about “calorie restriction” and developed eating disorders through her mother’s guidance.
“It became our secret and our code and something that, as disturbing as it is, really bonded us,” McCurdy told the “Red Table Talk” hosts. “There was a connection that the sickness created, that I, of course, couldn’t see at the time.”
Half-eaten portions of food were shown to McCurdy’s mother with pride and she meticulously kept track of her weight and calorie intake, she said. Debra McCurdy reportedly carefully measured her daughter’s body with a tape measure and would conduct at-home exams of her body to look for cancer lumps.
McCurdy said on “Red Table Talk” that her co-dependent relationship with her mother affected other relationships, explaining that narcissistic, enmeshed relationships were very comfortable to her in her younger years.
At one point, her mother learned from TMZ paparazzi photos that McCurdy was in a relationship. She sent her daughter an email, which McCurdy read to the “Red Table Talk” co-hosts.
“‘I am so disappointed in you. You used to be my perfect little angel, but now you are nothing more than a little (expletive), (expletive), all used up,’” McCurdy read. “And to think, you wasted it on that hideous ogre of a man.’”
“‘I saw the pictures on a website called TMZ. I saw you rubbing his disgusting hairy stomach. I knew you were lying about Colton,’” — McCurdy said she’s told her mom she was out with a friend — “‘Add that to a list of things you are: liar, conniving, evil. You look pudgier too. It’s clear you are eating your guilt.”
She said she was disgusted with her daughter, who had become an “ugly monster,” and added the entire family had disowned her.
“‘We want nothing to do with you. Love, Mom. Or should I say Deb, as I am no longer your mother,’” McCurdy read. “‘P.S. Send money for a new fridge, ours broke.’”
McCurdy was then asked during the show if she had been able to forgive her mother for her behavior. She was teary-eyed as she explained why she had not forgiven her.
“My therapist said to me one day, ‘What if you don’t have to work toward forgiveness?’ And I wept ... I had been trying to find a way to still honor my mom.” McCurdy said. “I was still trying to live for her, I was still trying to find a way to make it all mean something because it ‘had to.’”