Leah Remini has been speaking out against Scientology since she left the controversial religion last summer, but she has never before given a firm reason why she turned her back on the church she was a part of since childhood. Now, in an interview with Buzzfeed, the actress explains why she had to get out — before it was too late.
Remini explained that she often resented her own mother’s absence due to church activities and didn’t want to put her daughter through the same.
As a source close to Remini told The New York Post last summer, the actress was put through years of interrogations and thought-modification processes after asking too many questions about the head of Scientology’s missing wife, and Remini said she could no longer take the impact it was having on her family.
“She was getting to the age where the acclimation into the church would have to start,” Remini said of her then-9-year-old daughter Sofia.
“I started thinking of my own childhood and how I grew up resenting my mother because she was never home,” Remini explained. “It’s funny; somehow my father — the guy who left his kids and never paid child support — was excluded from my resentment and I grew up resenting my mother for not being home to make food, like all my friends’ moms were. But my mom thought she was doing something good; she thought she was helping the planet. That’s what the church tells you.
“In my house, it’s family first — but I was spending most of my time at the church,” she added. “So, I was saying ‘family first,’ but I wasn’t showing that. I didn’t like the message that sent my daughter.”
Remini also said that when she tried to implement changes in the church, her so-called friends closed ranks.
“We had a chance to make a change from within, but they didn’t want to,” Remini said. “That showed me they didn’t actually care, which went against everything I thought we stood for. They only cared that their lives would be disrupted if they stood with me. They didn’t care about doing the right thing. That showed me everything the church taught me was a lie.”
Former church friends like Kirstie Alley took to the media to bash the actress for her statements against the church, but the one person who really mattered stood by her: her mother.
“The fact my mother stood by me after all her years in the church totally took away any resentment I may have been harboring,” Remini said, her face lighting up. “When it mattered the most, my mother was there for me. It was the moment that erased all those days she wasn’t there. That moment proved to me she was with me. ‘Ride or Die.'”