In 2020, Jennette staged a dark one-woman comedy show, titled "I'm Glad My Mom Died", and now she is working on an autobiography of the same name after undergoing intense therapy to recover from her mother Debbie's bizarre, controlling ways.
"My earliest memories of childhood were of heaviness and chaos," McCurdy tells People. "My mom's emotions were so erratic that it was like walking a tightrope every day. The mood fluctuations were daily."
As a young child, she says she witnessed physical fights between her parents, adding her mum was often violent.
Jennette, who retired from acting in 2017, recalls her mother was "obsessed with making me a star," and she was forced to go on auditions, even though she was painfully shy. "I felt like my job was to keep the peace. And I wanted to make my mom happy," she says.
When she was 10, her mother started bleaching her hair and whitening her teeth and a year later, she instructed her daughter to count calories.
By the time McCurdy landed the role of Sam on the Nickelodeon show "iCarly" in 2007, she was anorexic. Later, she began binge eating, purging and overindulging in alcohol. Even more disturbing, when the actress turned 17, Debbie insisted on performing vaginal and breast exams and never let her daughter shower alone.
McCurdy says she was "so repressed and delayed developmentally" and that if her mother were still alive, "I'd still have an eating disorder."
"It was only distance from her that allowed me to get healthy," she tells People. "I did not know how to find my identity without my mom, and I'm not going to lie, it was very hard to get here. But now, I'm at a place in my life that I never would have thought was possible. And I finally feel free."
McCurdy's mother lost her battle with cancer in 2013.