Roseanne Barr’s Daughter Describes the Harrowing Years in Institutions


Roseanne Barr’s daughter, Jenny Pentland, is opening up about her mother’s alleged plot to keep her institutionalized throughout her teenage years because of her weight. In a forthcoming book, she will share her stories. This will be funny later: A Memoir

Pentland’s ‘Kidnapping’Was approved by mom

Pentland, who was 15 years old at the time, wrote that a group drove her from Los Angeles to pick her up and put her in handcuffs. They then took her to the airport where she flew to Utah. She was then taken to a wilderness survival camp, where she was forced into a life in the woods for two weeks. 

Pentland lived in wilderness for a while without any family connections and had very little food. She only ate raisins, peanuts and raw cornmeal. At one point, she claims that, after helping a fellow camper skin a squirrel, she was given the animal’s leg to eat. Pentland claims that she was also beaten by a staffer in what she calls a kidnapping. 

Even though it might have felt like she was a hostage, Pentland was there with the full approval of her mother and the comedian’s then-husband, actor Tom Arnold. When she was just 13, the trouble started. Her mother was struggling to handle her newfound fame and a court battle as she divorced Pentland’s father, Bill. Pentland and her siblings became pawns during their parents’ lawsuit. 

Pentland was Forced into Multiple Institutions

“At the lawyers’ advice, any action we took was recorded and used to further the narrative of whichever parent was suing the other at the time,” Pentland writes in the new bookVia PageSix “If I came home to my mom’s house from my dad’s with dirt under my nails, [Barr’s lawyers] would write that down. If I gained weight, the lawyers would note that, too.”

She gained weight and began self-harming to cope. Barr took her to the hospital when she was thirteen, without giving any explanation. She left her there for eighteen month. 

Pentland spent most of her teens in these institutions and other programs like the wilderness survival. She lived a normal lifestyle for months and was then taken to another program without warning. Pentland began to suspect that Arnold and Barr wanted to keep Pentland in prison forever. 

Fears she would be stuck in institutions forever

“I was racking my brain trying to think of ways that Tom and my mom could have worked around the law to keep me incarcerated for the rest of my life,”Pentland wrote. “Would they suggest ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) or something else with permanent consequences?”

At one point, she asked a staffer at an institution where she’d been kept for months on end why she’d been there so long. “You have the best mental health insurance policy I’ve ever seen,”He answered her. “You’re worth a million a year, babe.”

“I went cold,”Pentland writes. “My blood drained and my brain did that montage thing of calculating information. It took a minute for the answer to come to me. Could that be true? Could it be that simple? Oh my God. I’m not crazy, I’m profitable.”

Pentland and Barr Seem to Be on Good Terms

Just before her 18th Birthday, Pentland was released from the last institution she was in. This was at the time Barr and Arnold split. Pentland has maintained a good relationship with her mother despite the traumas her mother caused her. Pentland even wrote for the mother’s benefit. RoseanneIt was called reboot shortly before it went off the air. 

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