Former Nickelodeon child star battles anorexia, binge eating and bulimia
Janet McCurdy kept a secret while starring in the hit series “iCarly” and its spinoff “Sam & Cat.”
On Thursday, the actress revealed that she struggled with eating disorders for years including anorexia, binge eating and bulimia.
“I was a mess for a long time,” the 29-year-old told people magazine. “But I no longer think about food in an obsessive way. And I didn’t believe for once that it was ever possible.”
According to the outlet, McCurdy was 11 years old when his mother, Debbie, introduced him to restricted eating. McCurdy claimed that the matriarch tortured her physically and mentally. The former child star has an upcoming memoir in the works that will detail those struggles.
‘ICARLY’ star Janet McCurdy recalls physical, emotional abuse from mom during childhood
“My mom said she could teach me calorie counting and we could be a team, but I had to keep it a secret,” McCurdy alleged. “I thought it was an opportunity for my mom and me to be closer.”
McCurdy said that at one point she was living on 1,000 calories a day and “sometimes I ate even less because I wanted my mom to be proud.” The outlet shared that by the time she was cast on “iCarly,” McCurdy had had anorexia.
McCurdy said no one on set knew she was dealing with the disorder in private.
“Ironically, the trademark of my character is that he loves to eat,” McCurdy reflected. “I had scenes where I was supposed to eat and they would have buckets of spit. But I would be afraid I would still have calories left in my body.”
When McCurdy turned 18, Debbie was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. Only then would she “bend to overeating” and “eat everything in sight.”
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The matriarch died in 2013. McCurdy said she began purging to cope with her mother’s death and would “vomit up to 10 times a day.”
“Bulimia took over my life very quickly,” she said. “…it was a full-time job, so there was no room to deal with issues or grieve my mom.”
McCurdy was in co-star Miranda Cosgrove’s bathroom when she passed out purging. That experience shook him.
“… I could have died of suffocation on my own vomit,” she said.
The outlet also revealed that at one point, McCurdy had lost a tooth, as his enamel was worn away by stomach acid purging. The incident happened in the bathroom of the airplane. McCurdy knew he needed help.
McCurdy credits two years of intensive dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) with helping her cope not only with her eating disorders, but also her mother’s death. Today, she said that food is no longer her coping mechanism.
“I haven’t binge or purged or banned in years,” she said. “And I feel very deeply and very strongly in saying that I have finally recovered.”