Leah Remini is proudly furthering her education after leaving the Church of Scientology in 2013.
“Two years ago, I had an eighth-grade education thanks to spending 35 years in a cult,” the King of Queens alum wrote via Instagram on Friday, June 2. “And now, at age 52, I’ve successfully finished my second year at NYU.”
Remini — who has long been outspoken against the church and its controversial teachings — added: “Undertaking this educational journey has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life. There have been days where I’ve thought about giving up. While I’m still not finished, I’m so glad I decided to dive in.”
She concluded the post with a hopeful message to her 3.6 million followers: “If you have the desire and the capacity, please remember that it’s never too late to start again.”
The two-time Emmy winner’s celeb pals were quick to congratulate her in the comments.
The former Scientology and the Aftermath host previously claimed the church stifled her education after eighth grade.
“Scientologists are taught that kids are no different from adults. So from a very young age I was held accountable like an adult and regularly told that anything bad that happened in my life, even things that I wasn’t responsible for, was my fault,” Remini wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread she shared in January 2022. “Even though I was just 16 at the time, I hadn’t received any sort of formal education for years. Instead, I had been working for years so that I could support myself and my family. For the last 38 years of my life, I have been living and working with an 8th grade education.”
The Exes alum continued: “L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, had a deep disdain for conventional education and since everything in Scientology is guided directly by his policies, with no room for interpretation, my education was interrupted.”
Though Remini was a teen at the time, she broke into acting in order to help save her family from financial ruin — and to be looked upon favorably in the Scientology community.
“I saw a successful acting career as a salvation. It would help me get my family out of poverty and give me a higher standing in Scientology which I truly believed was helping to save mankind,” she tweeted. “At the time, we were living in squalor with no furniture. Every spare cent we had went to Scientology for mandatory courses, sessions, and treatments. I was determined to get my family into better circumstances.”
Reflecting on her decision to enroll at New York University in her 50s, Remini wrote, “Had you told me then that I would be a student at NYU at age 51, I wouldn’t have believed it. I had big dreams back then but when I look back they were rooted in my desire to survive … I couldn’t have imagined a world in which I would be a university student at my age.”
As the New York native continues her own education, her 18-year-old daughter, Sofia, is in college as well.
“Long story … but, one of the things I’ve learned in life is that there is always time to course correct. There’s no sense in sticking to something that doesn’t work for you. In any situation. At any point in your life,” Remini, who shares Sofia with husband Angelo Pagan, wrote via Instagram in February about their daughter’s educational journey. “In August, our daughter Sofia enrolled in a college she thought was meant for her. I moved her into a dorm room and came home heartbroken to a quiet house.”
When Sofia’s first-choice university “didn’t make sense for her,” the teen left and moved back home with her parents before transferring schools. While Remini had already gone through moving her only child out of the house — and was proud of her for pursuing her educational pursuits — she didn’t expect the second go of it to hit her so hard.
“Crying, not knowing what to do with ourselves now other than looking at pictures and videos and crying some more,” the Kevin Can Wait alum shared in her Instagram post.