‘iCarly’ Star Jennette McCurdy Says She ‘Could Have Died’ at Height of Eating Disorder Struggle
Jennette McCurdy revealed that her eating disorder was so bad at one point that she could have died from it.
In a new interview with People, McCurdy admitted that she "was a mess for a long time" due to anorexia, binge eating and bulimia.
Content warning below // eating disorders, abuse
McCurdy's mother introduced her to restricting her diet at the age of 11. McCurdy noted that her mom physically and mentally abused her.
"My mom said she could teach me calorie counting and we could be a team, but that I had to keep it secret," the former iCarly star revealed. "I thought it was an opportunity for my mom and me to be closer."
At the time, McCurdy was consuming just 1,000 calories a day, and some days she would eat even less to impress her mother. By the time she was officially cast on iCarly as the food-loving character of Sam Puckett, she was deep into her battle with anorexia.
While filming for Nickelodeon, McCurdy was worried when she had to eat food and spit it out while filming scenes that some of the calories would absorb into her body. However, she managed to keep her disordered eating a secret from castmates on set. McCurdy said she believes that the cast simply attributed her weight loss to normal growth and body fluctuations.
When she turned 18, McCurdy's mother was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. The actress' eating habits changed to binge eating. When her mother passed away in 2013, she began purging to try and cope with the loss.
"Bulimia took over my life very quickly," she admitted. "I was throwing up up to 10 times a day and I was completely unable to stop. But the cycle of bulimia kept me numb. It was a full-time job, so there was no space to deal with my issues or mourning my mom."
McCurdy eventually had two wake-up calls.
The first was when she passed out in her co-star Miranda Cosgrove's bathroom. "I had been purging and I passed out on the cold marble floor," she recalled. "That terrifies me because I could have died, choking on my own vomit."
The second incident took place when she was on an airplane and her tooth fell out due to the enamel being worn down from stomach acid due to constant purging.
"I realized that destroying myself wasn't going to help anything," McCurdy explained.
After undergoing two years of intense Dialectical Behavior Therapy, the actress hasn't purged or restricted her food intake in years. "I feel very deeply and very strongly about saying I've finally recovered," she concluded.