The 46-year-old King of Queens alum told Maher, 61, about some of the strict practices that followers of the controversial religion allegedly have to abide by, including hours-long study sessions that Remini likened to “self-brainwashing.”
“I didn’t realize that because we were required to study two-and-a-half hours daily, like, minimum,” she claimed. “We are looking up the words, we are being checked out on the policies of Scientology.”
At this, the Real Time host interjected, “You’re telling me Tom Cruise does this?”
“Yes,” Remini responded. “Not only does Tom Cruise do exactly that … Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that he’s not, that certain policies are not being bent for him because they are and that is the truth, and that is part of the hypocrisy.”
When Maher suggested that Cruise, 54, could possibly put an end to the religion, Remini agreed. “He could end this,” she said, adding that his celebrity within the church holds a lot of weight. She further claimed the church so reveres Cruise that it is pushing the idea that the Mission Impossible star is single-handedly “clearing the planet, is changing the planet.”
“Changing the planet? He couldn’t even make Jack Reacher a hit,” Maher joked.
Last fall, Cruise broke his customary public silence about his involvement with Scientology while on the red carpet promoting his film, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, calling it a "beautiful religion," and attributed it to his success. “It's something that has helped me incredibly in my life,” he said at the time. “It’s something, you know, without it, I wouldn’t be where I am… I’m incredibly proud.”
This isn’t the first time that Remini, who grew up as a Scientologist but left the controversial church in 2013, has hinted at a strained relationship between herself and Cruise.
“He wouldn’t say anything to me, because he thinks I’m the devil,” she said during a December interview with Larry King. “He honestly believes … Tom and most Scientologists, all Scientologists, are taught to believe that people like me are literally the devil, that we mean them harm.”
The Church of Scientology has repeatedly denied Remini's allegations. The organization previously told Us in a statement: "Leah Remini is doing this show for the money, just as she profited from her book [Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology]. In addition, she attempted to extort the Church by first demanding $500,000, followed by an additional $1 million, because the Church invoked its First Amendment right to respond to her false claims with the truth. This shows the extent Leah Remini is willing to go to in order to distort the truth about Scientology. For the Church's perspective and the truth about the bullies she now supports, go to www.leahreminiaftermath.com."
Want stories like these delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter!