It's been two years since Leah Remini announced that she was leaving the Church of Scientology, but she's still dealing with the fallout. In a new interview for Oprah Winfrey's Where Are They Now?, the King of Queens alum, 44, opens up about her decision to quit, saying she did it for her daughter, Sofia.
"My mother was in Scientology my whole life. Most people don't know that we were raised in it," she said, as seen in a clip from the episode. "I didn't decide to get into it — I was brought into it by my mom."
Still, Remini was committed to the Church for more than three decades. "I don't think people know the amount of dedication it takes to be in this organization," she shared. "I mean it was every day, three-and-a-half hours minimum, seven days a week usually. You know, I'm working most of my time, and then the other time was spent at the church, so minimal time is really spent with your family."
The significance of that hit home while she was doing some Scientology coursework one day, and she realized she was missing an important moment with her daughter.
"I was at one of these hotels in Florida, and I saw my daughter swimming for the first time while I'm reading this thing," she recalled. "And a tear came down my face. And I was like, 'What am I doing?'"
The actress said she realized she was sending the same message to her daughter that her mother had sent to her — that the church was "more important" than them spending time together. "It was a culmination of things," she explained of why she left, "but that was a big one in my mind."
Remini's exit from Scientology caused quite a stir back in 2013. The frenzy has since died down, but she and her family are still adjusting to the change.
"Our decision to leave the organization — it's not just something you get over," she revealed on Where Are They Now? "It's people and a lifestyle you've known all your life. It formed who I am, good and bad. It formed the way I think, good and bad. And so there's a lot of pain connected to it, there's a lot of healing."
She continued: "When you are raised in something, and you are taught to think a certain way, a lot of times you grow up thinking, 'That's the way I think.' I'm learning there's a new world out here, and there shouldn't be any kind of judgment toward somebody who has a belief system that is not yours."
UPDATE: "Given Leah Remini's insatiable desire for attention, it comes as no surprise that for two years she has been incapable of moving on with her life and remains obsessed with shamelessly exploiting her former religion in a pathetic attempt to get publicity," a spokesperson for the church tells Us Weekly in a statement.
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