Jennette McCurdy Says She Felt Jealous of Ariana Grande During ‘Sam & Cat’ Days

iCarly fans miss Sam Puckett in the reboot but understand why Jennette McCurdy wanted to leave her Nickelodeon TV show past behind her. After iCarly, the former child star reprised her role as Sam in Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande. Now a podcast host and mental health advocate, McCurdy has been speaking about her experiences growing up in Hollywood. She recently explained why she felt jealous of Grande during her time on Sam & Cat.

Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande promote Nickelodeon's 'Sam & Cat' at Planet Hollywood Times Square
Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande promote Nickelodeon’s ‘Sam & Cat’ at Planet Hollywood Times Square on May 14, 2013 | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Jennette McCurdy says Ariana Grande added to ‘Sam & Cat’ last minute

Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande only did one season of Sam & Cat, and many fans speculated about what led to the show’s end. While the most intricate details will remain shielded from the public’s ear, McCurdy opened up about what it was like working on the short-lived series.

She welcomed guest Mike Birbiglia to her podcast Empty Inside, and the topic of jealousy came up. McCurdy shared that initially, Sam & Cat was supposed to be a one-person show centered on Sam. But a couple weeks before production, they switched things up and added Ariana Grande to the cast.

“I kind of knew her just from — she’d been on another Nickelodeon show and I’d seen her at some events. But I didn’t know her well,” said McCurdy. “And then we started the show, and then her explosion to Ariana Grande fame happened during our first 20 episodes, and she would have to miss work because she was being pulled in all directions.”

Jennette McCurdy explains jealousy toward Ariana Grande

McCurdy warmly recalled how Grande became busy with radio interviews, Billboard Awards, and the Grammys. Laughing, she remembered doing a Sam & Cat episode where she had to have dialogue with a box. Cat was trapped in a box to conceal the fact that Grande had to perform at the Grammys.

I was like, ‘I deserve more.’ I don’t even do music or pop star things, so I don’t know why I was comparing myself to that person,” said McCurdy. She told Birbiglia that his 2016 movie Don’t Think Twice helped her understand her emotions and feelings of jealousy.

“Seeing your movie was really helpful with processing the bitterness and jealousy,” she said. “It motivated me to work on myself more, and work on getting to the bottom of why I’m comparing myself to this person and why is just being me not enough. I love those themes.”

Later in the conversation, McCurdy said she wished she could do other work that would wipe her slate clean of the children’s shows she’s done.

McCurdy left ‘Sam & Cat’ and Nickelodeon in 2014

Sam & Cat was canceled in 2014, much to the surprise of fans. Grande and McCurdy left their Nickelodeon characters behind in the spinoff, and they each issued statements about the announcement.

McCurdy took to Reddit to express she didn’t want to live up to anyone’s expectations of her being a role model but sent love to her fans. “For those of you who do consider me a role model, I hope you don’t read this and cringe. I appreciate you. I appreciate you so much! I appreciate that you believe in me, support me, and in some way, hope to live your life like me. But please, I encourage you to find role models in the people around you, the people in your everyday life, the people that are your friends and family.”

Fans can check out McCurdy’s podcast, Empty Inside, on Spotify.

RELATED: Jennette McCurdy Found This Part of Her ‘iCarly’ Fame ‘Upsetting’