'iCarly' Star Wanted to Quit Acting After Harrowing Audition: 'Too Painful'

Former child actress Jennette McCurdy has opened up about her complicated relationship with her mother, and how it led to an uncomfortable audition experience, in her new book, I'm Glad My Mom Died.

McCurdy, 30, who is best known for her role as Sam Puckett in the Nickelodeon series iCarly, has stated in her tome that her late mother—who died of cancer in 2013—controlled her life and career, leading to anxiety and self-loathing.

In an excerpt of the upcoming book, published by Entertainment Weekly, McCurdy candidly wrote about one particular moment when an uncomfortable audition prompted her to share her feelings with her mom about wanting to quit acting.

However, the conversation didn't go as McCurdy had hoped, with her mother reacting emotionally, thus guilting her into pressing on with a career she didn't want from a young age because she didn't enjoy it.

"iCarly" star Jennette McCurdy releasing book
Jennette McCurdy is pictured main on March 1, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. She is pictured inset on June 28, 2008, in Anaheim, California. McCurdy has written about her struggles as a child star in her new book "I'm Glad My Mom Died." JB Lacroix/WireImage;/Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Recounting her audition for a role in classic CBS crime drama Without A Trace—during which she was required to cry on demand—McCurdy wrote: "I'm sitting in the waiting room mustering up all my sadness when something shifts in me. It feels strange."

"This has never happened before, but it's happening now and it's scaring me," she went on. "A part of me is resisting my mind forcing this emotional trauma on itself. A part of me is saying, 'No. It's too painful. I'm not doing this.'

"That part of me is foolish. That part of me doesn't realize that this is my Special Skill, that this is good for me, for my family, for Mom. The more I can cry on cue, the more jobs I can book; the more jobs I can book, the happier Mom will be. I take a deep breath, then smile up at Mom."

After the audition didn't go well, a young McCurdy opened up to her mom about her feelings on their drive home, while also admitting she wanted to quit acting.

"She bangs on the steering wheel, accidentally hitting the horn," McCurdy wrote of her sobbing mother's reaction. "Mascara trickles down her cheeks. She's hysterical, like I was in the Hollywood Homicide audition. Her hysteria frightens me and demands to be taken care of.

"'Never mind,' I say loudly so Mom can hear it through her sobs. Her crying stops immediately, except for one leftover sniffle, but as soon as that sniffle is over, it's complete silence. I'm not the only one who can cry on cue."

Jennette McCurdy with "iCarly" co-stars
"iCarly" stars (L-R) Jennette McCurdy, Miranda Cosgrove, Jerry Trainor and Nathan Kress are pictured together on July 13, 2007, in Beverly Hills, California. Jason Merritt/Film Magic

Elsewhere in the book, McCurdy wrote about booking her role on iCarly, which ran from 2007 to 2012.

While McCurdy and her mother were driving together, her agent called to share the life-changing news, prompting the pair to "scream at the top of our lungs"—though for very different reasons.

McCurdy's mother was elated that her daughter had landed the role, while the actress was happy solely because of her mother's happiness.

"I jump into Mom's arms. She squeezes me. I'm elated," McCurdy wrote of the moment she got the iCarly news. "Everything's going to be different now. Everything's going to be better. Mom will finally be happy. Her dream has come true."

In her book, McCurdy also shared details of her battle with addiction, eating disorders and unhealthy relationships, issues which she said were only heightened after her mother passed away in 2013.

Around the time that her mom died, McCurdy went on to star in iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat, alongside future chart-topping singer Ariana Grande.

The spinoff, which saw McCurdy's Sam and Grande's Kat set up their own babysitting business only aired for one season, ending in 2014.

McCurdy went on to star in the Netflix series Between as Wiley Day until 2016.

While an iCarly reboot started airing in 2021, McCurdy opted not to join the returning cast members, with her spokesperson telling Newsweek at the time that she was focusing on her book and one-woman show of the same name.

I'm Glad My Mom Died will be sold in bookstores from August 9.