Recently, Leah Remini, star of the beloved sitcom King of Queens, sat down in an interview with ABC’s 20/20 and dished about her 30-years inside the Church of Scientology and why she left. Spilling plenty of eye-opening facts and insight on the controversial religion, she told-all to Dan Harris including behind-the-scenes information on Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ “wedding of the century,” and what it what like as a child inside the Church.
Many question why this religion attracts so many big names like that of Tom Cruise and John Travolta, whether it be the celebrity worship or simple spiritual fulfillment. And after leaving the extremist group two years ago, Remini shone a light on some secrets meant for members-only as well as giving audiences a glimpse at what’s inside her new book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. Intriguing for those that have little knowledge of Scientology and troubling to those that still follow the Church’s order, Remini’s “blast” stirred up a lot of gossip and emotions. And here are some of the biggest revelations and secrets uncovered during the interview.
15 She Admits That Scientology Helped Start Her Career
Remini admitted that being a part of the church helped launch her acting career. “There’s tools that are … very helpful … to you in your life, to you as an actor,” she explained. “I walked into a room where some people would, you know, cower in front of a casting director, I wasn’t.” This self-assurance was brought on by what the Church refers to as “auditing,” which his basically a Q&A session you have with other church members that not only built up self-confidence but also uncovered the “dirt” on those within – as a means to own up to your wrongdoings.
14 Remini Believes She Was Exploited As A Child
As a child of the Church, Remini explains that you aren’t treated as a child. Instead, you’re given a lot of responsibility. But this responsibility may have been too much for the young actress as she now feels she was exploited as a child. She was used for labor and living in terrible, roach-infested conditions, confirmed by her sister during the interview who was right beside her also experiencing life as a youth of Scientology.
13 She Signed A Billion Year Contract
When Leah was younger, her mother enlisted her in the Sea Org, a highly disciplined part of Scientology – according to CNN. In doing so, she signed a billion year contract at 13-years-old. Basically, stating that even when reincarnated, you will rejoin with the Church of Scientology. Her sister also joining the Sea Org with her, also signing the billion year contract and working 12-hour days as a member.
12 She Was Kicked Out of the Sea Org & Faced Harsh Punishment
She was later forced out of the Sea Org after she admitted to some “heavy petting” with her then-boyfriend. A friend had found out and filed a knowledge report – a way to keep other members in check, friends, family and the like sort of “tattle” on bad behavior. Remini was then threatened to be sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force, where you’re forced to wear black, run everywhere and complete terrible tasks (i.e. dumpster cleaning) – according to Hollywood Reporter.
11 Remini Joked With Tom & Katie About “Getting A Room” & Got In Trouble Over It
After being invited to Tom Cruise’s home – he wanted her to teach him how to salsa – Remini got in trouble with some officials. "He was like, forcibly kissing Katie. And I said, 'Hey, get a freaking room.' And uh, well. I was written up for that," she told ABC News' Dan Harris. She explained that one cannot be critical towards Cruise as he is the face of the Church and being opposed to him in any way makes you “evil.”
10 Scientologists Don’t Believe In Using Drugs – including epidurals during labor
Remini went completely against Scientologists’ teachings and decided to get an epidural during the birth of her daughter. "I was going to attempt to do it for my church, but when you start feeling a baby coming out of your vagina — if there was a rock, I would have hit myself on the head with it," she explained. "So I got that epidural as quickly as possible."
9 She Was Allowed To Meet Tom Cruise After Donating $1 Million To The Church
According to ET, Remini was allowed to meet Tom Cruise only after donating $1 million to the Church – since his entourage was made up of those who gave heavily to the church. “The mere fact that I was fit to be in Tom’s presence was a huge compliment. The actor wasn’t just an A-list movie star but a pillar of the church,” Leah writes of her first encounter with the actor.
8 Remini Believed Cruise’s Behavior Was Unbecoming of Scientologists
Tom Cruise’s erratic behavior during his courtship with Katie Holmes, Remini found unbecoming of a Scientologist. We all remember the couch-jumping that took place with Oprah in 2005, don’t we? She believed not only his behavior but his tifts with Matt Lauer and Brooke Shields were also a bad look for the Church, stating, “We need to reign it in and stop all this.”
7 She Was Written Up By Katie Holmes After Her Wedding
After returning from “the wedding of the century,” Remini found out that she was allegedly written up by Katie Holmes herself which included lines like her behavior “disturbed me greatly” and “she made the party all about herself.” She faced a variety of other accusations as well, leaving her with a $300,000 bill towards auditing, launching an apology campaign and sending expensive gifts to guests of the wedding like director J.J. Abrams.
6 The Church Wanted Remini To Invite JLO To TomKat’s Wedding
Because Jennifer Lopez was the daughter of a Scientologist and good friends with Remini, the Church hoped that they could recruit the A-list celebrity to become among their greatest names. Which is why Leah was asked to invite her friend and her husband, Marc Anthony to the wedding. Cruise himself allegedly did some of the pressuring in hopes that the couple would show up on his big day.
5 She Divulged The Song Cruise Serenaded Holmes With At Their Wedding
One of the strangest revelations that came from Remini’s interview concerning TomKat’s wedding was the song he chose to serenade his new wife with. It wasn’t the most romantic or obvious, instead, he chose to sing the same song he performed in Top Gun, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” which could now seems like quite the foreshadowing of the couple’s future.
4 It Costs Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars to Move Up Inside the Church
“Moving up the bridge to Total Freedom,” involves taking a series of courses and also participating in “auditing” sessions, a sort of counseling that employs a device known as an E-Meter. The process promises to release negative emotions – according to ABC News. And this “moving up,” means that you’re getting closer to complete spiritual awareness. But these courses, the literature … it all costs money. And over time, Remini divulged that she had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so.
3 Remini Filed A Missing Person’s Report On Shelly Miscavige
When there was no answer as to where Scientology Leader David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly, was, Remini took things into her own hands. Once she had left the Church in 2013 she went to the LAPD and filed a missing persons report. Remini first noticed of Shelly’s disappearance during Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ wedding in 2006. And every time she would ask questions about her, officials would just get up and leave – years later there was even a time where she wanted someone to pass along a letter to Shelly since she wasn’t getting any answers. After, two high-ranking officials showed up at her house, getting in a tift with her husband, Angelo, and using explicit language – this incident became a breaking point for Leah.
2 Another Breaking Point
Once she reached a certain level on the “bridge,” Remini was allowed to learn the history of the universe, which caused her to again question her involvement with the Church. These key Church secrets – according to Rolling Stone – were about a “galactic confederation,” and she explained, “There was a war and there was a volcano and they bodied, you know, they took the spirits of people and they encased them into something, into a volcano, blew them up and then those spirits are now inside of you, on you, in you, like you are made up of these things. Remini thought, “This is some crazy sh*t.”
1 The Church Claims Remini Was Expelled
Although Leah Remini makes it known that she left the Church, a statement given to NBC News by the Church stated, “Her repeated ethical lapses and callous treatment of others led to an ecclesiastical review, which resulted in her being expelled. She now regurgitates the tired myths the church has repeatedly debunked."