Leah Remini: I Left Scientology Because of My Daughter, Sofia
Leah Remini is once again speaking out about her decision to leave the Church of Scientology last summer. In a new interview with Buzzfeed, the King of Queens actress says there were "dozens" of factors that led to her July 2013 exit -- but none as important as her 9-year-old daughter, Sofia.
"She was getting to the age where the acclimation into the Church would have to start," Remini explains, referring to Scientology's "auditing" process. That brought up memories of the star's own experience with the Church as a child, and how it affected her relationship with her mom, Vicki, who moved the family to a Scientology compound in Clearwater, Fla., shortly before Remini's 10th birthday, and spent a lot of time at the Church.
"I started thinking of my own childhood and how I grew up resenting my mother because she was never home," Remini says. "But my mom thought she was doing something good; she thought she was helping the planet. That's what the Church tells you."
Remini didn't want her daughter to resent her the way she had resented her own mom, so she decided to make a change. "In my house, it's family first -- but I was spending most of my time at the Church," she says. "So, I was saying 'family first,' but I wasn't showing that. I didn't like the message that sent my daughter."
Initially, she says, she tried to make changes "from within" the Church -- but that proved unsuccessful. "They didn't want to," she says of her friends in Scientology. "That showed me they didn't actually care, which went against everything I thought we stood for. They only cared that their lives would be disrupted if they stood with me. They didn't care about doing the right thing."
"In the Church, you're taught that everybody is lost," she tells Buzzfeed. "They say they're loving, caring, non-judgmental people, but secretly, they were judging the world for not believing what they believed. To me, that is not a spiritual person. That's a judgmental person and that is the person that I was. I was a hypocrite, and the worst thing you can be in this world is a hypocrite."
She also says, "I don't want to be known as this bitter, ex-Scientologist. I'm not trying to bash anybody and I'm not trying to be controversial. I just want people to know the truth."