Leah Remini: King of Queens actress explains why she left Scientology after 30 years

'From what I saw, the church becomes your everything'

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The Independent Online

Leah Remini has become the latest high-profile former Scientologist to speak out against the controversial Church after spending more than 30 years as a member. 

The King of Queens actress described the “hard repercussions” of publicly quitting the Church in 2013 in a segment obtained by People for her reality TV show, Leah Remini: It's All Relative.

Remini had reportedly climbed the ranks of the Church, eventually reaching the third highest spiritual level, Operation Thetan Leval Five, before exiting amid a flurry of speculation that she had been subjected to “years of interrogation”.

She described leaving the Church with a group of friends who were also former members. "If you make a stink in the public world, they call you a suppressive person, which means the church has put a stamp on you that says you are bad,” she claimed.

“They then go to all your family and friends and say you have to disconnect from this suppressive person.”

Scientology was founded by sci-fi writer L Ron Hubbard and counts John Travolta, Will Smith, Juliette Lewis and Tom Cruise among its many prominent followers. But a number of figures have also left the Church is recent years, including the actress Carmen Llywelyn, who recently who wrote an essay claiming she had been labelled a suppressive person and cut off from her ex-husband Jason Lee. They divorced after her departure from the Church.

Remini said her decision to eventually leave was for her daughter, Sofia, and the thought that if she did quit, her own child would ‘disconnect’ from her.

"I decided I didn't want to raise my daughter in the Church because from what I've experienced and what I saw, the church becomes your everything,” she said. “It becomes your mother, your father, your everything.

“If you are raised in it as a child, you really don’t have loyalty to your family. The Church does come first to you.”

Her claims were dismissed by the Church of Scientology in a stinging rebuttal. A spokesperson told People it came as no surprise that someone "as self-absorbed" as Remini "continues to rewrite history and exploit her former religion in a pathetic attempt to get ratings for her cable show and seem relevant again".