Leah Remini talks leaving Scientology on ‘Ellen’
Leah Remini is finally speaking out about her break from the Church of Scientology.
The former “King of Queens” star appeared on Monday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to promote her participation in the upcoming season of “Dancing With the Stars.”
However, her name has been in the news all summer because of her July defection from Scientology -- the controversial faith founded by sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard that includes John Travolta and Tom Cruise among its members. Other celebrity members who have broken with the organization include Nicole Kidman, “Arrested Development’s” Jeffrey Tambor, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, actress Demi Moore and director-screenwriter Paul Haggis.
So DeGeneres asked her why she chose to leave too.
“My mother got involved when we were very young, so it’s all we ever really knew,” Remini said. “But over time, my eyes opened and I could just no longer be affiliated with the organization and my family felt the same, so we left.”
“How are you?” DeGeneres asked. “I hear it’s different than leaving another religion, so are you OK?”
“I’m OK,” she said. “It’s hard. We lost friends that can no longer talk to us who are still in the organization.”
“Now, that is a thing? When you leave the church they can’t talk to you and you can’t talk to them?” DeGeneres asked.
“Correct. And these are friends that we’ve had for dozens of years,” Remini continued. “But I have great friends, other friends that are not in the church, that have stood by us. Our family is stronger, we’re together and that’s all I can ask for.”
“You have me. I’m you’re friend! We’re your friends!” DeGeneres said.
The 43-year-old actress spoke slowly about the topic and didn’t give many in-depth answers, but when she left the faith she told People: “No one is going to tell me how I need to think, no one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot, talk to.”
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The break came when it was reported that Remini had to undergo “interrogations” and “thought modification” because the church allegedly bars members from questioning leaders’ management. She had allegedly asked about the whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige, church leader David Miscavige’s wife, at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise to Katie Holmes. Among other reasons she supposedly left the church was her disagreement with policies that allegedly force members to “disconnect” from family members deemed “suppressive persons” if they choose to leave the church.
In August, Remini reportedly filed a missing persons report for Shelly Miscavige, who allegedly hasn’t been seen in public for six years. However, police closed out the investigation soon after when they had “a face-to-face with Shelly” and declared the missing persons report “unfounded.”
The church did not immediately respond to L.A. Times requests for comment about the interview.
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