Former King of Queens star Leah Remini told the hosts of Good Morning America that she believes Katie Holmes left the Church of Scientology to protect her daughter, Suri. Holmes left the Church in 2012 upon divorcing Tom Cruise, who is perhaps the most famous face of Scientology.
“I know now [Holmes] did what she did, leaving [Scientology] the way that she did, because she had to protect her daughter, which, in a way, connects us now,” the actress said on GMA.
Remini has been promoting her new memoir, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, in which she opens up about her decades long devotion to the Church and her public split in 2013.
Remini said leaving the Church has helped her better empathize with what other former members of Scientology went through when they left the religion.
“Now I know really what she was going through,” said Remini. “At the time I was thinking of myself and my family and what we were going through, and, although painful, I had no idea she was going through probably a lot more.”
In an interview with 20/20 last week, Remini said Holmes had written a “knowledge report” to the Church saying she was unhappy with Remini’s behavior at her wedding in 2006.
Holmes issued a statement after the segment last week, via her publicist, saying: “I regret having upset Leah in the past and wish her only the best in the future.”
The hosts of GMA read the statement aloud to Remini, which triggered an emotional response, as she said she was “touched” by her words.
“It makes me emotional because at that time that Katie and this particular crew were writing reports it caused me a lot of time and pain and my family being reprogrammed,” she explained.
“At the time I was fighting with her for lack of a better word within the Church, and now I know really what she was going through,” she added.
The actress also confessed that her own daughter, 11-year-old Sofia, played a crucial role in her decision to flee Scientology, saying she was afraid her daughter would eventually be forced to choose between her faith and her parents.
Tom Cruise admitted in a 2013 court deposition obtained by RadarOnline that Holmes had filed for divorce to protect their daughter from Scientology.
“Seeing her and Suri out there in the world and her being able to be with her daughter and live her life is, you know, I’m touched by it,” said Remini.
“It’s really because we both left that we’re able to have this kind of grace towards each other,” she said. “Because we’re back to being human.”
Watch the interview below: