Former Scientologist and King of Queens star Leah Remini has revealed that Tom Cruise is one of the main reasons she left the controversial church two years ago.
In an excerpt from an upcoming interview with ABC’s “20/20,” Remini said it became impossible to be critical of the church’s highest-profile disciple without causing a stir in the whole Scientology organization.
“Being critical of Tom Cruise is being critical of Scientology itself… you are evil,” Remini told ABC’s Dan Harris.
Remini also discussed how difficult it was for her to leave the church after having been involved for 30 years: “As time goes on, you start to lose touch with the real world. The mindset becomes ‘Us against them.’ The decision to leave is you are giving up everything you have ever known and everything you have worked for your whole life.”
In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2013, Remini said that her mother had gotten involved in the church when Leah was young, “but over time, my eyes opened and I could just no longer be affiliated with the organization and my family felt the same, so we left.”
The actress added that the church policy of “disconnection” — where believers are urged to cut off all contact with defectors, including family members — was particularly “hard” for her.
“We lost friends that can no longer talk to us who are still in the organization,” Remini told DeGeneres. “And these are friends that we’ve had for dozens of years. But I have great friends, other friends that are not in the church, that have stood by us. Our family is stronger, we’re together and that’s all I can ask for.”
In March, Remini praised Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which examines the church’s more controversial practices and the influence that stars like Tom Cruise have on the organization and its members.
“Thank you to the brave who did something about it,” she tweeted in praise of the filmmakers and the defectors who appeared in the film. “And to those who didn’t have a voice, you do now.”
Remini is set to release her new memoir, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, on November 3.