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After appearing on 20/20 Friday night to discuss her break from the Church of Scientology that she details in her new memoir, Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, Leah Remini returned to ABC on Good Morning America this morning. In an interview with Amy Robach, Remini responded to the both the scathing statement the church issued against her following the interview, as well as Katie Holmes’ highly-publicized statement included in the 20/20 report.
In the 20/20 interview, Remini described that her complex break from the church began around the time of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ wedding. After the star-studded affair, the star of King of Queens, Troublemaker and Living Dolls said she was upset to find that a number of guests including Holmes had filed what Scientologists call “knowledge reports,” that essentially tattled to the church about Remini’s questionable behavior before, during and after the wedding.
Even as Remini began to feel disenchanted with the religion, she allowed herself, her husband and daughter to undergo what Scientologists call a three- to four-month “reprogramming” in an effort to return to the good graces of the church.
But officials from the church went on the offensive in response to Remini’s account of what happened, saying in a statement in response to the actress’ interview, “Her repeated ethical lapses and callous treatment of others led to an ecclesiastical review which resulted in her being expelled.”
Robach asked Remini if she was in fact “expelled” from the church?
“That’s like saying, ‘I broke up with you. You broke up with me,’ ” responded Remini. “I don’t know when that happened. I didn’t get the memo that I was expelled, but I mean if that’s what makes them feel good.”
Robach then pressed Remini to speak more about the role of the “knowledge reports” in the religion and the social consequences of a culture where everyone is encouraged to keep a running list of one another’s aberrant behavior: “Were you worried about getting written up?” asked the host.
“Constantly,” said Remini. “There’s policy in the church that requires parishioners to write each other up … So you create an environment where everyone is writing each other up. Again, I was guilty of this. But what it does is create an environment where … you can’t deal with your husband directly, your wife directly, your child directly. The church becomes your parent in that way and then my role becomes pushed out.”
Finally, Remini was presented with the statement that Katie Holmes issued on Friday in response to Remini’s interview: “I regret having upset Leah in the past and wish her only the best in the future.”
“It almost makes me want to cry. It makes me emotional because at the time, Katie and this particular crew were writing reports [that] caused me a lot of time and pain — and my family being ‘reprogrammed.’ ” Remini said with tears in her eyes. “At the time I was fighting with her within the church and now I know what she was going through … at the time I was only thinking of my family and myself and what we were going through. And although painful, I had no idea she was going through probably a lot more.
“Now seeing her and Suri out in the world and her being able to be with her daughter and live her life, you know, I’m touched by it,” the actress continued. “Because I know now she did what she did, leaving in the way that she did because she had to protect her daughter, which in a way connects us now.
“It’s really because we both left that we’re able to have this grace toward one another because we’re back to being human.”
Watch the full interview below.