Leah Remini is going to NYU: ‘I was in a cult and I missed out on education’

Leah Remini has been taking her life back bit by bit since she escaped Scientology. She’s been working steadily, which allowed her to expose the cult that robbed her of so much. Leah channeled a lot of that into her series, Scientology: Fair Game. In addition to showing the world what’s really going under in Scientology, Leah is also trying to reclaim a “normal” life. And that includes going after things the cult denied her, like an education. Leah applied and was accepted to New York University, which she is now attending. She relishes the opportunity, something she’d never even thought of as a kid. Leah called in to Today and spoke with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush about how much it meant to her to finally have this chance.

On going to NYU
I was in a cult most of my life and I missed out on education. This is something that I’ve always wanted for myself. I was like ‘why not just go for it?’ I applied to NYU. I didn’t tell anybody that I was doing it. I couldn’t believe that I actually got accepted. I’m doing something that I always wanted to do. It’s like the last thing that I’m kind of taking back.

On her big birthday party being the Bennifer reveal
I had no idea. The only caveat to my birthday video to the photographer [was] ‘just make sure everybody is in it. Go through the guest list. I don’t want anybody to be left out.’ I didn’t even think this would be breaking into Dateline. I had no idea. ‘It’s not about Jennifer, it’s about my birthday cake!’

On if she’s happy for Jennifer’s new relationship
You know that I do a podcast. You know that I’m trying to take down a $3 billion cult. I’m hosting a gameshow with normal people not in the entertainment business. ‘We want to have the sound byte about Jennifer.’

‘I’m not happy that Jennifer’s happy’ can you imagine?

[From Today via YouTube]

I left school and returned as an “older” student. That experience meant a lot to me, I can’t imagine how much this means to Leah. I’m really happy for her. I think people who want an education should have one and I wish all schools would help that happen for them. Leah said that her daughter asked if she wanted to come do homework with her. She seemed really tickled with it too. You can tell how much she’s getting from the experience. I know it sounds silly, but I’m so proud of her.

Watching the interview, I’m convinced I want to hang out with Leah and Hoda regularly. They are not only funny to listen to, they laugh honestly and unreservedly. I loved the way Hoda kept egging Leah on about Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. And Leah’s response about “it’s always about Jennifer,” made me laugh. I did notice that she never did say she was happy that Ben and Jen were back together. She kept making the same joke about how she’s doing all this wonderful stuff and all people ask about is Bennifer. Is she avoiding the topic because once she comments that’s all she’ll be talking about? Or is her sarcasm a deflection to avoid saying what she really feels? I get the impression that Leah doesn’t say things she doesn’t mean.

You can watch the full segment here:



Photo credit: Avalon Red, YouTube and Instagram

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23 Responses to “Leah Remini is going to NYU: ‘I was in a cult and I missed out on education’”

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  1. JRenee says:

    The things she says comfortably…good for her!!

  2. TIFFANY says:

    Leah and Jennifer been tight for decades, she is just doing this to support her friend. Leah seems like a real one.

  3. Noki says:

    I saw on a CoS documentary that the members get paid absolute peanuts but are expected to pay for all these reading materials and audits,how do they manage that?

    • Kelly says:

      They’re encouraged to take out multiple credit cards and second mortgages

    • SomeChick says:

      if you work for the cult, you are not charged for services. however you have to sign a billion year contract promising multiple lifetimes of work. if you leave in this lifetime, they will then try to get you to pay for everything you’ve already done. (which was required of you in the first place.) it’s a scam within a scam.

  4. Here4Tea says:


  5. Southern Fried says:

    This is just so great for her. Hope she loves it and flourishes.

  6. Deanne says:

    This is so great for Leah. She deserves everything good in the world.

  7. Bettyrose says:

    I work in higher ed so I’ve been around tons of returning students. I’m so impressed by them. College is exhausting. You have to take a zillion gen ed classes before even getting into your major and there’s internships and practicums on top of that and if you’re going part time it can really feel like slogging through. I’m rooting for her.

    • Seraphina says:

      I was in higher ed. Education is a continuous process – it should never end. I hope to be able to audit classes when retired and learn about subjects that I did not have to learn about or was not ripe enough to understand. I had retirees in my classes and thought it awesome. Kudos to all who do so.

      • Becks1 says:

        This is my dream, even once my student loans are paid off, which is hopefully soon. I just want to go to the local CC and take classes and learn. I was thinking yesterday about how much I miss being a student and just learning.

    • Noki says:

      I must admit when i went to the US ,i found the higher ed system there so complicated and like there was no end in sight. The whole credit system and the limitations on how much you can study each semester just felt like a trap to keep me there forever. Lol
      On top of that i was paying international stufent fees so it was not cheap. After one semester i left and went to London and got my degree in three years. This is just my take on the experience ofcourse.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Seraphina & Noki- I agree with both of you. Learning should be a lifelong pursuit. And the undergrad degree can feel convoluted and illogical if you don’t have the luxury of approaching it as a four year full time student.

      • Seraphina says:

        Bettyrose, I know if you teach or are admin. I was admin and was able to take free courses. Wish I continued working there because once the kids have flown the next that sounds like a great hobby. Attending classes with young people. Will keep you young and smart. What more could I want????

      • Bettyrose says:

        Seraphina – I’m in admin and work closely with faculty so I do get to attend classes and watch lectures as just part of my job. It’s a great perk, for sure.

  8. Renee says:

    I love Leah so much. She is brave and pulls no punches on that psycho Sci cult. She appears to be a ride or die friend, which I love. Kudos to her for going to school. She deserves it and I too am so proud of her. Go Leah!!

  9. FHMom says:

    This is wonderful. I’m so happy for her.

  10. HoofRat says:

    Wonderful! I’ve worked in schools that teach adult students upgrading for post-secondary. It’s inspirational and humbling to see how hard most of them work toward their goals. Brava, Leah!

  11. ItReallyIsYouNotMe says:

    I am so glad for her. She seems like a very deep person, but also loads of fun to be around. Also as someone who says what she means, I appreciate others who are like that. It’s just so much work to parse through 4 or 5 layers to get at what someone “really” means.

    • I agree. I’m very direct and it’s so hard to find people who seem genuine, (lol, Especially in LA!) I just love Leah to death, she is so very brave to take on that demon cult and she has such a great sense of humor about herself and her life. I admire that too. I got my masters much later in life and I loved it. I could go to school forever, I think the key to life is to never stop learning. I love Leah for getting what that cult denied her.

  12. lucy2 says:

    That’s awesome, and she should be very proud of herself for pursuing her education. She has a lot of other stuff going on too, I hope she’s able to balance her time well and really work at it. I honestly can’t imagine going back to school at this point, and give a lot of credit to those who do!

  13. BeanieBean says:

    Good for her! You’re never too old to go to school. It ain’t easy, but it’s worth it. You’re more focused, you know what you really want, you’re now using your own money (which helps the focus!), and it’s more meaningful. I finished my bachelor’s at 30 & didn’t start grad school til my 40s. Congrats to Leah!

  14. Jules says:

    Good for her for getting her life back and outing this cult. She had a lot to say about Laura Prepon keeping silent, but it is a process to re-acclimate to life after being in a cult. The truth always comes out in the end.