Over the years, Jennette McCurdy has been pretty open about the fact that she struggled with an eating disorder, and now, she’s revealed just how it started. It turns out, the iCarly alum developed anorexia at only 11 years old, after her later mother “introduced” it to her.

What Did Jennette McCurdy Say About Her Anorexia?

“My mom was the person that introduced me to anorexia, actually,” she shared in a new interview. “I said, ‘Well, how can I not develop boobs? I don’t want those.’ And she said, ‘Well, there’s a thing called calorie restriction.’ Those were her exact words. She did not say the word ‘anorexia.’ I did not hear the word ‘anorexia’ until I overheard a doctor talking with my mom a year later when I had lost X amount of weight and was rail-thin, and it sounded like a dinosaur to me. I remember that distinctly, like, ‘Hmm, somebody’s talking about me like I’m a dinosaur. But it was her talking to my mom about my eating disorder, which my mom denied in order for her to be able to support it.”

The actress explained that it wasn’t until after her mom died of breast cancer in 2013 that she truly understood the effects this had on her. She continued, “At the time I just thought, ‘Mom’s looking out for me, Mom wants me to not have breasts so that I don’t have breast cancer, Mom wants me to look young so I can book more roles so I can support the family and do the thing.'”

McCurdy also opened up about how hard her mom’s death really was for her, and she admitted she started struggling with bulimia afterwards.

“That same week [of her death] was the first time that I had sex, the first time that I made myself throw up — bulimia, which I then had for a few years — and the first time that I had a drink of alcohol. Those coping mechanisms all kind of hit at once,” she admitted, adding that some days she would purge five to 10 times a day. “Anytime that I wasn’t purging, I was thinking about my next time purging. That was how my mind was just oriented.”

After her sister-in-law confronted her at a Thanksgiving get together, the former Nickelodeon star decided to get help once and for all.

“I thought that I was this gifted secret-keeper,” she said. “I wasn’t good at that. That was pretty much all I had during that time, was hoping and clinging to the fact that maybe my shame was my own but knowing that, eh, you actually weren’t pulling the wool over anybody’s eyes, that was a bummer.”

What Has She Previously Said About It?

Jennette McCurdy

It turns out, this isn’t the first time that McCurdy has spoken out about her eating disorder. Back in 2019, she told HuffPost, “My disordered eating started when I was 11. As a child actress working in Hollywood, I quickly learned that remaining physically small for my age meant I had a better chance of booking more roles. Unfortunately, I had a trusty and dedicated companion ready to help me with my burgeoning anorexia: my mom! She’d regularly compare my size to that of other girls. She’d portion out my meals for me. She’d help me count calories.”

The 29-year-old said that after she was cast in iCarly, things got even worse and she became “fixated on food and her body,” and she would even measure her thighs every night with a tape measure. But she insisted at the time that she was doing much better.

“Now, I’ve been in recovery maintenance for two years. I’m no longer actively engaging in disordered eating,” she revealed. “After spending a lot of time in therapy working on myself and confronting what I’ve experienced, I finally feel like I have the perspective required to write about what I’ve been through.”

What Has Jennette McCurdy Been Up To Since ‘iCarly?’

Jennette McCurdy

After iCarly ended, McCurdy most famously continued her role as Sam Puckett in the spinoff show, Sam & Cat. After that ended, she landed roles in SwindleWhat’s Next for Sarah?BlingPetAdam and Wiley’s Lost WeekendBetween, Little B***hes and more. And that’s not all! Get this, you guys — in 2018, the actress made her directorial debut with a short film titled Kenny (which she also wrote!). Since then, she wrote and directed three more flicks, including one that was based off her own childhood. Plus, McCurdy launched her own podcast called “Empty Inside,” wrote a series of articles for The Wall Street JournalSeventeen and The Huffington Post and released two albums over the years.

Why Isn’t She Involved In The ‘iCarly’ Reboot?

iCarly Reboot

Fans were pretty excited when news hit the web last year that they were rebooting iCarly and bringing it back. But everyone was pretty a little confused when McCurdy announced that she would not be a part of it. So why didn’t she reprise her role for the new series? Well, according to a statement from her team, it was simply because she was too busy.

“Jennette is busy working on her book which sold to Simon & Schuster as well as bringing her one-woman show back to the stage,” they said in a statement. “She is also working on some other film and TV projects which have not yet been announced.”

When asked about her lack of involvement in the show, Jerry Trainor said he had nothing but “respect” for her.

“She’s decided to move on and we’re super proud of her and super happy for her and we miss her. She’s very much a part of our family in this world,” he gushed, adding that her not coming back was actually a great opportunity for the show. “It has given us the space to introduce new characters, to have new voices, and to go in I think directions that are unexpected and might be welcome.”