Why Leah Remini was never the same after leaving Scientology
Scientology gets a lot of press thanks to high-profile members like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Another reason Scientology has been hitting the headlines, though, is because one of its former members, King of Queens star Leah Remini, decided to speak out about her negative experiences upon leaving the group. After publicly cutting ties with Scientology in 2013, Remini gave multiple interviews on the topic, wrote a memoir, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, and worked on her Emmy-winning A&E series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. When the series wrapped after three seasons, Remini started a podcast with a fellow former Scientologist, Mike Rinder, called Scientology: Fair Game.
Remini’s decision to speak out against Scientology is undoubtedly tied to the things she experienced as a member, and the impact it had on the rest of her life. The Second Act star was a Scientologist for more than 30 years, as were most of her family members. Her departure from the group was anything but easy, though. A source told Page Six, “[Remini] was put through interrogations and blacklisted within the church that she donated millions to and that her family has spent their lives in. She was put through ‘thought modification’ for five years.” In the end, Remini made the difficult decision to break with the church, and tell her own side of the story. Read on to find out why Leah Remini was never the same after leaving Scientology.
Leah Remini damaged her friendships with fellow celebrities
Leah Remini’s trouble with Scientology began in 2006 when she attended Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes. As noted during her 2013 interview with 20/20, Remini revealed that she got into trouble at the wedding for asking David Miscavige, Scientology’s leader, why his wife, Shelly, wasn’t at the event. Remini’s concern, however, got her into a lot of trouble. Per ABC News, “Remini said she learned that numerous Scientologists had filed reports on her for being loud, late and rude, upgrading her hotel room and switching seats at the reception. … they were claiming that she had ‘basically destroyed the wedding.'” The unfair complaints appeared to be payback for her asking questions.
Remini revealed in her book, Troublemaker (via Entertainment Tonight), that she sent expensive gifts to Holmes in an attempt to atone for the drama, At the time, Holmes was less than responsive, but in 2015, she issued a chilly statement which said, “I regret having upset Leah in the past and wish her only the best in the future.” While it seems there’s no longer any bad blood between ex-Scientologists Holmes and Remini, the King of Queens actress is still being shunned by current celebrity members of the church. For example, Remini told The Hollywood Reporter, “Elisabeth Moss believes that she can’t talk to me,” after the star of The Handmaid’s Tale reportedly left the room at The Television Critics Awards after Remini won an award.
Scientology reportedly used Leah Remini's dad against her
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking things to come out of Leah Remini’s split from Scientology was her father George Anthony Remini’s decision to speak out against his daughter in support of Scientology. Even though George wasn’t a Scientologist, he filmed interviews for the Church of Scientology International in 2017 in an apparent attempt to discredit Leah. Tragically, the actress never got the chance to repair her relationship with her father, and didn’t find out about his passing until after it had happened.
Revealing her dad’s death on Instagram in September 2019, Leah wrote, “I’m angry that the last chapter in our relationship was dictated by Scientology. Scientology took my dad in as a pawn against me and likely robbed him of any last ounce of heart that might have been left in him.” Remini added, “I’m angry that Scientology found his personal weak spots and got him on board not with their beliefs but with their smear campaign against me.”
Even though the sitcom star never had the best relationship with her father, Scientology’s alleged interference in their relationship had a devastating effect on the actress. Remini wrote on Instagram, “If you read my book, you’ll know my father and I had a difficult relationship, but I always forgave him with a daughter’s painfully endless love and hope. Regardless of his neglect and abuse, I had hoped to one day have some closure.”
Leah Remini's fight against Scientology continues
Even after leaving Scientology, and it’s safe to say that Leah Remini’s life will never be the same, or even normal. From her enlightening docu-series and eye-opening memoir to her new podcast with Mike Rinder (pictured above), it’s clear Remini is determined to share the truth about the group. According to Page Six, “It all began when Leah questioned the validity of excommunication of people … She is stepping back from a regime she thinks is corrupt. She thinks no religion should tear apart a family or abuse someone under the umbrella of ‘religion.'”
While the actress’ work on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath took viewers behind the scenes of the infamous religion, it did little to help her own healing. “I don’t know that it’s helped my recovery,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “Most people, when they get out of an abusive relationship, hopefully start doing the work to heal. I just haven’t been able to do that. It’s opened up a can of worms for me.” Regardless of the trauma Remini is still healing from, her passion for justice has helped countless people around the world. “We’re going down another avenue that we feel will bring real justice to victims of Scientology but also prevent it from happening in the future — particularly with children,” Remini said. Given that Remini was first introduced into the group as a child, we can’t think of a better way for her to move forward.
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