Leah Remini on leaving CoS: ‘No one is going to tell me how I need to think’

It was just three weeks ago when we first learned that Leah Remini had basically abandoned Scientology after asking the super-uncool question “What’s Shelly?” Leah had apparently been having issues with Scientology for years, openly questioning the whereabouts of David Miscavige’s wife Shelly and speaking truth to power about CoS’s whole “you need to abandon your entire family, they are suppressive” mandate. In that past month, Leah has only issued ONE public statement about the controversy, letting her sister do some of the heavy lifting on Xenu-bashing. As CB as discussed, Scientologists are majorly pissed off at Leah and Kirstie Alley seems to leading the charge against Leah.

Well, now Leah has made a second public statement about her abandonment of the Scientology cult. While it may seem like her comments are just a statement of how people with free will think and act, this is basically a declaration of war on Scientology and David Miscavige specifically:

Leah Remini may have split from Scientology earlier this month, but she’s suddenly on her own.

“We stand united, my family and I, and I think that says a lot about who we are, and what we’re about,” the former King of Queens star, 43, told PEOPLE on Saturday at the 15th annual DesignCare event in Malibu.

Remini, who tangled with the church, added, “I believe that people should be able to question things. I believe that people should value family, and value friendships, and hold those things sacrosanct. That for me, that’s what I’m about. It wouldn’t matter what it was, simply because no one is going to tell me how I need to think, no one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot, talk to.”

The actress – who was defended by the niece of David Miscavige, the most powerful man in Scientology – explained, “It doesn’t matter, it could be anything. I thought about the family being broken up for some other cause, and I’m not about to shut up.”

[From People]

While Leah is my personal hero for asking the oh-so-bold question “Where’s Shelly?” (WHERE IS SHELLY?!), sources have always maintained that Leah’s biggest problem with Miscavige personally and Scientology in general is the mandate that a person needs to “shun” and disassociate with their family members if said family members leave CoS or if the family members question Miscavige’s orders. It sounds like Leah is still really bothered by that, by the families who have been destroyed by CoS. Sigh… Leah is pretty heroic, I think.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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74 Responses to “Leah Remini on leaving CoS: ‘No one is going to tell me how I need to think’”

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  1. TeamBrandi says:

    Go Leah!! I’m glad she’s standing up for her self. And I would like to also ask the question, WHERE’S SHELLY?!

  2. lisa2 says:

    She stayed in that “church” for a long time. I thought her family were also in COS.

    but the shunning thing is interesting because I think that is what Tom Cruise is doing. He is seeing Suri but not in public because of the Church. That to me is crazy.

    • Kittypants says:

      Of course Tom still sees Suri. I don’t think he really makes much of an attempt to cover it up either.

      The celebrity experience of Scientology is completely different to the experience you or I would encounter. Celebrities are highly prized within this cult and as such are treated like royalty.

      Anyone know of any other religion that has celebrity centres? Scientology is so transparent it’s almost farcical.

    • Hakura says:

      @lisa2 – I’m sure he is still seeing her (though whether in public or not I can’t say). You know he wouldn’t pass up *any* opportunity to implant Scientology’s ideals, maybe to make her easier to ‘convert’ when she’s older. (I’m a total cynic where these creepy people are concerned…)

    • Kiddo says:

      I think the opposite. Whenever the rag mags mention how long it’s been since he has seen her, this is followed by big splashy pap shots on some super indulgent father-daughter gig.

    • TG says:

      I don’t believe tiny Tom is seeing Suri. I guess I am of the opinion that he would have photos of it. I could be Wring though I hope not for The child’s sake. A cult freak is the last thing she needs in her life as a dad.

      • Emily C. says:

        I also believe that Tom is not seeing Suri. When would he have time? He’s been on film sets, in Europe, etc. I think he’s following Scientology principles and shunning her, though having the occasional photo up to pretend he’s not.

  3. RocketMerry says:

    Great woman. I’m impressed!
    Team Leah!!

  4. lady mary. says:

    Leah ,is true hero ,hope is completely out of the wretched system

  5. Apsutter says:

    Damn…I have such respect for her now.

  6. RHONYC says:


    Brooklyn’s in the building…get some! ;-)

    *drops mic & slow claps*

  7. Flora Kitty says:

    I was never a fan of Leah Remini, but anyone who gets out of a destructive cult is pretty awesome.

  8. Cam S says:

    Really? She just NOW discovered this after how many years of them telling her how to think? Late to the party much? I think that celebs get the watered down version of the religion. They need to educated themselves on CO$

    • Kiddo says:

      She was born into it. I think that it is way different than being an adult and selecting that course.

    • lucy2 says:

      I was thinking the same thing too, basically “but they’ve ALWAYS told you what to think!” but if she was born into it, that’s a different story. I’m just sad it took her this long to realize it and break away, but better now than never!

      • LaLa104 says:

        Both Leah and her older sister Nicole began in C0$, after her parents split up and her mother ventured into the cult when they were at the age of 6 & 8. Nicole and Leah both were in the Sea Org where young recruits are required to sign Billion Year Contracts. Leah’s sister left the cult a few years ago. If any are interested please read Tony Ortega’s blog. Here is a link to Leah’s sister Nicole speaking about Leah’s defection. .


        Educate yourself about this insidious, evil cult. Child labor, forced abortions, disconnection of families, Black PR, physical and mental abuses, the list goes on and on. Hard to believe that it happens right under our noses.

      • jaye says:

        I’m no expert, but doesn’t deprogramming from a cult’s hive mentality take years of undoing? I’m willing to give her a pass on how long it took her to finally break away. Lots of the people who are now very vocal about the horrors perpetrated by this cult were members for YEARS before breaking away.

    • Ok says:

      Cam S — I was thinking the same thing.

      I mean I am a bit on the fence with this story. It is excellent that she is done with the cult and done in a very public way.

      However (and it is a small however). This is not 1990 when that cult could wipe you from the face of the earth. The cracks in that org are beginngin to show now

      And this is in response to some sh*t she got herself into by asking a question. She was not defending, for example, a dear friend who was under attack. I can only wonder how many people she DID step away from in the last 20-odd years.

      And it took her 5 years of puttin up with crap to finally say “enough”.

      So I am happy for her, but it is a sort of cautious, qualified happiness.

      Then again, I am just some dummy who reads gossip sites. I am not in her shoes.

      I just hope she is still able to get work as an actress now that she has cut ties. Because I think the cult is still strong in Hollywood. I hope non Scientilogists consider her for work in order to keep her flush with cash !!!!!!

      • mayamae says:

        I’m a little in this category as well. She didn’t have anywhere the oppression and control that Katie Holmes faced.

        Katie had been seperated from family and friends, and had to sacrifice her home, husband (no big loss) and any contribution CO$ had been giving her career to leave the church. The cloak and dagger involved in her case was absolutely frightening.

        Having said that, I’m not one who thought that Katie should be canonized for divorcing Tom Cruise and I guess after 40 something years, it’s good that Leah opened her eyes to this “religion”. Hopefully she feels bad in retrospect for any people she shunned and shamed who left CO$ before her.

        ETA Katie Holmes probably paved the way for many by helping shine such a bright light on their shenanigans. They’ve become quite the joke of a religion.

      • Miss T says:

        @mayamae, I like Katie Holmes,but one can argue that Leah had it worse than her. She was raised in the ‘church’ and even spent some time in the sea org as a teen. Katie was an adult when she chose to get involved with Tom and CO$. 0T0H, Leah didn’t have to be worry about being separated from her child as Katie did. I do agree that Katie leaving probably helped inspire others to leave as well. For the wife of the most famous Scientologist to flee the cult in such a public way was a huge embarrassment for CO$.
        I wish both Leah and Katie the best.

      • Bridget says:

        I don’t think Scientology has that much power in Hollywood anymore – aside from Tom and John Travolta you’re left with a pretty motley crew populating the Celebrity Centre. The names Anne Archer, Jenna Elfman, and Jason Lee don’t exactly have a ton of pull. While the ”church” has some connections they’re not going to make or break Leah’s career at this point.

      • Pandy says:

        I agree with you, ok. “Cautious” sounds about right because you know she’s shunned others and followed along for the last, oh, 30 years …

      • TrustMeOnThis says:

        @Pandy: Since she was six. SIX!
        How were your critical thinking skills when you were six?

        What she did was very brave and very difficult. She convinced her WHOLE FAMILY to leave with her instead of disconnecting. This is monumental. She deserves a lot of credit. Much of the time between first seeing things that were wrong and finally leaving was surely spent in coordinating this, and convincing her family to stand with her.

  9. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    I can’t get over how much she looks like Hilary Duff.

  10. JL says:

    Wow it’s awesome to have some one born and programmed into CO$ break free and show the others it can be done.


  11. Hakura says:

    Hell, I thought it was hard enough pulling away from the Christian religion *I* was born into. (Grandfather + 2 uncles being pastors didn’t help that, though).

    Being born into it, I can’t imagine what sort of mental anguish (especially knowing these people’s threatening/intimidating/scary tactics) she struggled with before acting on her feelings.

  12. lisa says:

    i’d love for her to write a book

  13. lucy2 says:

    From earlier reports, her initial “where’s Shelly” was quite innocent – allegedly at Tom and Katie’s wedding, upon seeing Miscavige without her. A common question anyone would ask at a wedding, oh where’s your spouse/partner/whatever? I guess the INSANE response she got for that little question finally made her open her eyes.

    I’m not a fan of hers in general, but I give her a lot of credit for breaking with CO$ and wish her the best of luck.

  14. kpist says:


  15. Tara says:

    Puh-lease. Remini had years to exhibit a little bravery. Why now? I am glad she is out but she enjoyed the COS protection and privilege for a long time and publicly defended them/tried to recruit for them even after she inquired about Shelley’s whereabouts. Her split from these was probably personal. And she is reaping the rewards of public support. Not buying what she’s selling.

    • gg says:

      “but she enjoyed the COS protection and privilege for a long time and publicly defended them/tried to recruit for them even after she inquired about Shelley’s whereabouts”

      Really? Have any links? I didn’t know any of this.

    • SusieQ2 says:

      It seems to me that because she was brought up in the cult, she was a believer.

      When she saw things she felt were wrong (Miscavige groping his female assistant at TomKat’s wedding and no sign of his wife Shelly) and spoke up, she was immediately belittled by Tommy Davis (for his exact words, read the articles at The Underground Bunker)and was sent to do ‘penance’ to pay for her ‘sins’. And like a loyal follower, she did just that.

      This may well have been the flicking on of the switch for her, but it must have been incredibly difficult for her to come to terms with the fact that leaving the cult would mean being disconnected from people she’d known practically her entire life. That’s probably what held her back. (Former cult members say this is a very common fear)

      She is so very lucky that her family is standing with her and any so-called friends who’ve disconnected from her aren’t worth calling friends anyway.

      No doubt the cult are planning their smear campaign against her, but as long as she has her family and the right attitude to handle what they’ll throw at her (not to mention the support of the public, just as Katie Holmes did), she’ll do just fine.

      Go Leah!

  16. Dawn says:

    Well she may have come to the party late but the important thing is she got here. Don’t forget that she was raised in the CO$, she did not join as an adult. I say good for her and her family. I wish her much success without the CO$ and maybe others will follow.

  17. Jaded says:

    Let Kirstie Alley spit and bitch and lie all she wants about Leah and others who have the strength of purpose to leave this evil cult, she’ll just paint herself into a corner, hopefully with a dunce cap on.

    Co$ becomes more and more ridiculous on a daily basis as more and more celebrities and top tier members bail.

    Maybe she should be asking where Tommy Davis is…he’s apparently blown too. Hahaaaa!!

  18. Debbie says:

    Well that statement says it ALL! Go Leah.

  19. truthful says:

    Good for you Leah!!!

    I always knew she had spunk, I love it!

  20. Jayna says:

    This won’t make a big difference. Big wigs in the know, spilling dirty secrets haven’t brought it down. But at least she left.

  21. dcypher1 says:

    Finally someone had the balls to call out dm on his bs. I’m glad she also had the balls to leave the cult and said you can’t tell me what to do. Now if only the rest of them would follow her lead and leave. Like nancy Cartwright, juliette lewis, Danny elfman, should defect. Noticed how a the Simpson’s talk about and made fun of everything except scientology. Think about it.

  22. Jennifer12 says:

    Brooklyn girls are rock stars!! But where is Shelly? That should become a hashtag.

  23. Cici says:

    Where is Shelly Miscavige??????

  24. Nerd Alert says:

    I’ll bet poor Shelly is tangled up somewhere in Kirstie Alley’s dreadful weave. That’s probably where Miscavige and Cruise keep all their gross secrets. Then it seeps into her little pea brain and turns into vicious, illiterate tweets.

    But seriously, I liked Remini on Saved by the Bell and then abandoned her when I found out she was in the cult. I’m quite happy to return my support to her, and I hope she keeps talking. Loudly.

  25. Kristen says:

    WTG Leah! While I never liked King of Queens, I have to applaud her for going through with this. Smart to do it so publicly, too — if only for her safety.

  26. Emily C. says:

    Her career is going to flourish now. And good for her. It’s not easy to break away from a cult, especially one you were born in. Let’s not victim-blame — let’s celebrate her escape.

  27. SusieQ2 says:

    I hope her leaving the cult and coming out with this statement will influence cult members who have concerns and questions to go looking for the truth.

    Keep doing what you’re doing Leah and hold your head high. You have the support of the public AND the well-informed readers of Celebitchy!!!

  28. Mr. Stinky FishFace says:

    This is why Leah has always been one of my favorites. <3 LOVE HER.

  29. blaize says:

    I know nothing about scientology, so I’ll have to research it in order to find out why people always have negative things to say about it.

    Serious Question (and I hope this question doesn’t offend anyone): Why does the general opinion of society seem to be that it’s ok to harshly criticize scientology, but not ok to do the same with more popular religions like Islam and Christianity? When I say criticizing, I don’t mean stereotyping all members within a religion as somehow ‘bad’ or inferior, or saying that a religion should be banned. I mean criticizing certain problematic teachings of a religion, or calling out extremists within a religious group. If we can do that with one religion, we should be able to do it with all. I know for a fact that Scientology isn’t the only religious group that teaches that family members and friends who break it’s rules are to be shunned, or that you can’t question authority within the faith- whether that authority is the higher power being worshipped, or human leaders within the religion.

  30. Cirque28 says:

    Scientology loves these extremely successful people, but I don’t care how much you pamper them and exalt them and give them free Scientology slaves, they’re so strong and empowered that it’s inevitable that a few will walk out.

    It may take several more decades, but I hope this pattern continues and eventually brings Scientology down.

  31. Jarredsgirl says:

    Heroic? How old is this woman? Is she only just realising NOW that she can think for herself?