Leah Remini: I Left Scientology Because of My Daughter (Video)
"I'm learning there's a new world out here. There shouldn't be any kind of judgment towards somebody who has a belief system that is not yours," the actress shared on 'Oprah: Where Are They Now?'
In an episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now? Leah Remini opened up about her 2013 decision to leave the Church of Scientology, of which she'd been a member for more than 30 years.
"My mother was in Scientology my whole life. Most people don't know that we were raised in it," said Remini. "I didn't decide to get into it — I was brought into it by my mom."
The actress shared that being involved in the organization took an extreme amount of dedication and, subsequently, a toll on her personal life. "I mean, it was every day — 3 1/2 hours minimum, seven days a week," she said. "I'm working most of my time, and then the other time was spent at the church. Minimal time is really spent with your family."
Remini had been in the midst of reading Scientology coursework when she experienced a particular moment that caused her to question her commitment to the Church. "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. "A tear came down my face. I was like, 'What am I doing?' " Remini revealed that her mother always had conveyed to her that abiding by the Church was "more important" than anything else, but seeing her daughter that day caused her to rethink her priorities. "The moment hit me, that I was now [conveying] the same thing to my daughter," she said. "It was a culmination of things, but that was a big one in my mind."
On leaving the organization with her family in July 2013, the actress shared that she is still adjusting to the change. "It's not just something you get over. It's people and a lifestyle you've known all your life," she said. "It formed who I am, good and bad. It formed the way I think, good and bad. So, there's a lot of pain connected to it. There's a lot of healing."
Added Remini: "I'm learning there's a new world out here. There shouldn't be any kind of judgment towards somebody who has a belief system that is not yours."
Updated May 19, 7:04 p.m. In response, the Church of Scientology has issued a statement that reads, "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."