We likely should’ve known that former Nickelodeon star Jennette McCurdy’s memoir was going to boast bombshells by its title alone, but I’m Glad My Mom Died is generously offering the masses so much more than childhood trauma and accusations of exploitation and abuse by Nickelodeon. Personally, I can’t stop cackling at her recollections of briefly co-starring alongside Ariana Grande on the network’s series Sam & Cat.
In excerpts shared by ET Online, the 30-year-old’s pen practically drips with disdain for the pony-tailed pop star, specifically recalling how the network forced McCurdy to forgo roles and other opportunities, while Grande—then a “burgeoning” singer—was free to skip filming to work on her impending debut album, even though she was a titular character.
“I booked two features during iCarly that I had to turn down because the iCarly team wouldn’t write me out of episodes to go shoot them,” McCurdy claims of another series in which she starred.
As Grande’s star began to rise, what was first allowed sporadically became an entire week spent away from the series, while McCurdy was left to act alongside an empty box.
“The week where I was told Ariana would not be here at all, and that they would write around her absence this episode by having her character be locked in a box. Are you. Kidding me,” McCurdy remembers. “So I have to turn down movies while Ariana’s off whistle-toning at the Billboard Music Awards? Fuck. This.” Ope!
Despite it all, McCurdy details how she was praised for being “a good sport,” and, like anyone, quickly became embittered by it:
“If I wasn’t such a good sport to begin with, I wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place. I wouldn’t be on this shitty show saying these shitty lines on this shitty set with this shitty hairstyle. Maybe my life would be entirely different right now. I fantasize about it being different. But it’s not different. It’s this. This is what it is. Ariana misses work in pursuit of her music career while I act with a box. I’m pissed about it. And I’m pissed at her. Jealous of her.”
McCurdy’s recollection of her time spent in Grande’s shadow and the jealousy it inevitably incurred becomes all the more relatable when she provides further context, like their upbringings in vastly different socioeconomic situations. McCurdy writes that she was raised in what she deems “Garbage Grove” with an abusive mother who tirelessly sought fame by any means necessary, yet couldn’t afford rent and utility bills. Grande, meanwhile, grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, “an incredibly wealthy, idyllic town,” and had the luxury of, “a healthy mom who could buy her whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted — Gucci bags, fancy vacations, Chanel outfits.”
Naturally, her own constant comparisons to Grande culminated in a breaking point, with McCurdy remembering that it wasn’t Grande’s new album, splashy performances, nor her new and considerable fame that was specifically responsible for her undoing—no, it was a game of charades at none other than Tom Hanks’ house.
“Ariana came whistle-toning in with excitement because she had spent the previous evening playing charades at Tom Hanks’s house,” McCurdy recalls. “I couldn’t take it anymore. Music performances and magazine covers... whatever, I’ll get over it. But playing a family game at National Treasure, two-time Academy Award–winner and six-time nominee Tom Hanks’s house? I’m done.”
Just in case it wasn’t already crystal clear, McCurdy further clarifies: “I didn’t like her. I couldn’t like her.”
“Pop star success I could handle, but hanging out with Sheriff Woody, with Forrest Fucking Gump? This has gone too far. So now, every time she misses work, it feels like a personal attack. Every time something exciting happens to her, I feel like she robbed me of having that experience myself.”
If all of this sounds a little ridiculous, you clearly have never felt envious of a person—perhaps someone even less talented than you are—who, from the moment they were born, was primed to achieve more than you. Of course, McCurdy’s teenage fixation on Grande isn’t the most important observation about her book. Her brave, empathetic detailing of abuse at the hands of adults she should’ve been able to trust, and her battle with bulimia, deserves applause. Even if it doesn’t result in an invitation to Forrest Fucking Gump’s house.
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