Leah Remini recently told Ellen DeGeneres that leaving Scientology has made her family stronger.
Remini appeared on Ellen on Wednesday to discuss the new reality series she’s starring in along with her family. The 12-episode half-hour docuseries will premiere on TLC this summer.
Not surprisingly, Remini’s highly-publicized departure from the Church of Scientology tied into the discussion:
“We’re learning new ways to reconnect with each other, so it really has brought us closer together,” Remini told DeGeneres. “We’re stronger and we’re having so much fun together and this is something that the family loves to do.”
Remini left Scientology last summer, after having been a member of the often-controversial church for over 30 years.
Remini’s defection from the church caused a relative uproar, with church leaders and high profile members such as Kirstie Alley speaking out against Remini.
“In my house, it’s family first – but I was spending most of my time at the church. So I was saying ‘family first,’ but I wasn’t showing that. I didn’t like the message that sent my daughter….In the church, you’re taught that everybody is lost,” Remini has said of her decision. “They say they’re loving, caring, nonjudgmental 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.”
Remini has a nine-year-old daughter, Sofia Bella, with her husband of ten years, Angelo Pagán.
“It all began when Leah questioned the validity of excommunication of people,” a source said in July 2013. “She is stepping back from a regime she thinks is corrupt. She thinks no religion should tear apart a family or abuse someone under the umbrella of ‘religion.’”
Remini was reportedly chastised back in 2006 – at the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes – for asking where church leader David Miscavige’s wife Shelly was.
Remini grew increasingly concerned about Shelly, eventually filing a missing persons report on her behalf in August 2013. At that point, Shelly Miscavige hadn’t been seen in public for six years.
The church condemned the filing of the report as “ill-advised, ludicrous self-promotion” and the Los Angeles Police Department eventually ruled that the report was “unfounded” and closed the case.
“I wish to share my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming positive response I have received from the media, my colleagues, and from fans around the world. I am truly grateful and thankful for all your support,” Remini said in a statement last July.
One of the colleagues who supported Remini’s decision to leave Scientology was fellow actress and close friend Jennifer Lopez, whom Remini was once accused of trying to convert to the religion.
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