Jennette McCurdy says her mom showered her until she was 18: ‘It felt violating’

Jennette McCurdy smiles while wearing a sparkly choker and purple dress against a black background.
Jennette McCurdy spoke about her memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” on a recent episode of “The Louis Theroux Podcast.”
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

Jennette McCurdy revealed this week that her late mother “showered” her and gave her “breast and vaginal exams” until she was 18.

While discussing her memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” on Monday’s episode of “The Louis Theroux Podcast,” the former “iCarly” actor opened up about how she wasn’t allowed to shower by herself for much of her life.

“She would be in the shower with me, shampooing and conditioning my hair, washing my body,” McCurdy explained.


“She would give me breast and vaginal exams in the shower and said that she was checking for lumps ... checking for cancer.”

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Asked if her mother was naked in the shower with her, McCurdy clarified that her mother was fully clothed. She described the showers as an “uncomfortable” and “violating” experience.

“I knew I didn’t want it,” she continued. “But the one time I had attempted to even say, ‘Hey, do you think I could shower myself?,’ she blew into hysterics, and it just became clear to me, ‘Oh, I can’t ever try to shower myself again.’”

McCurdy, now 31, said she wasn’t able to shower by herself until her mom was re-diagnosed with cancer when the “iCarly” alum was 18. Her mom was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and McCurdy had embarked on a concert tour. The physical distance prevented her mother from being in the shower with her.

“That was I think the only reason why I was able to finally start showering myself.”

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When Theroux asked why her mother insisted on showering her, McCurdy speculated that her mother sought “ownership” of her and feared her growing up. She suspects that her mother also wanted to “monitor” her daughter’s body.

In “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” McCurdy recalls dreading “shower time” and getting “really embarrassed” when her mother would shower her and her older brother, Scott, together. She writes that her mom would give her “breast and ‘front butt’” exams in the shower whether her brother was there or not.


“We usually just look away from each other and Scott distracts himself by drawing Pokémon in the fogged glass,” she writes.

“When she showers us together, Mom says it’s because she’s got too much to do. Scott asked if he could shower himself once. Mom sobbed and said she didn’t want him to grow up so he never asked again after that.”

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In order to cope with the discomfort, McCurdy writes in her memoir, she would dissociate from her body and imagine that she was at Disneyland while her mother bathed her.

“When the exams are happening, I feel like I’m outside of myself,” she writes. “Like my body is a shell I’m disconnected from and I’m living entirely in my thoughts. My Main Street, Fantasyland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride thoughts.”

Her spirits lifted when she was away from her mother on tour, which felt “fresh and new and exhilarating.”

“I feel free,” she says in her book. “I’m even able to shower myself.”

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Published last summer, “I’m Glad My Mom Died” explores McCurdy’s fraught relationship with her mother, an eating disorder and working for the children’s TV network Nickelodeon.


The former star of “iCarly” and “Sam & Cat” alleges in the book that Nickelodeon offered her $300,000 to keep quiet about the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of a Nickelodeon employee she calls “the Creator.”

“What the f—? Nickelodeon is offering me ... hush money to not talk publicly about my experience on the show? My personal experience of The Creator’s abuse?” she writes.

“This is a network with shows made for children. Shouldn’t they have some sort of moral compass? Shouldn’t they at least try to report to some sort of ethical standard?”

Before releasing her memoir, McCurdy was primarily known for portraying the protagonist’s sarcastic best friend, Sam Puckett, on “iCarly.” She did not reprise her role for the recent Paramount+ revival of the show and has not directed or acted in anything since 2019, according to IMDb.