Is there a complicated multisyllabic German word for when you're both interested in what a person has to say and concerned about the repercussions they may experience as a result? Because that's pretty much how I feel about King of Queens actress Leah Remini, who is starting to speak out about her split from the Church of Scientology.
Remini was born and raised as a Scientologist, but it was reported earlier this month that she'd quit the controversial religion after she questioned the leadership of David Miscavige (whose somewhat creepy title is Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center). On July 11, Remini issued a vague statement simply thanking the media and her fans for their support, but now she's opening up about leaving the church -- and in her words, "I'm not about to shut up."
Uh, AWESOME. But also: holy crap, Remini, watch your back.
Remini's break from Scientology is making headlines because it's historically been such a secretive religion, and its celebrity members are famously tight-lipped about the church's more controversial practices. As for why Remini left the religion after more than three decades, she says,
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.
She hasn't confirmed any specific details about what she was questioning, but her sister recently told a radio talk show that Remini had brought up Tom Cruise’s “weird” relationship with church leader David Miscavige, and that Remini had also asked about the mysterious disappearance of Miscavige’s wife, Shelley, who hasn't been seen in public since 2007.
She's been curious for years. 'Where the h--- is [Shelley]?' ... This is all Leah asked, and this is what it's turned into?
Sources say that Remini had been subjected to years of brainwashing after questioning Miscavige's leadership. A rep for the Church first refused to comment on the matter, saying the organization "respects the privacy of parishioners and has no comment about any individual Church member," but did go on to denounce certain media reports without referencing Remini specifically:
(...) the allegations of 'interrogations' and 'thought modification' are absurd and pure nonsense.
All in all, it sounds to me like Remini has been through the wringer with Scientology and this might just be the beginning of her finally having the chance to speak her mind in public. When asked if she was happy now that she's separated from the Church, she said,
Happy is a relative word. Yeah. It's a time of change. I think the fact that my family has taken a stance and we are on a united front says a lot.
Good for Leah Remini. She's always struck me as such an outspoken, gutsy person, and she has every right to open up about Scientology's oppressive and, in my opinion, totally freaky and cult-like practices. I'm sure it must be hard as hell to sever ties with people she's spent so many years with, especially considering the Church's litigious and aggressive treatment of those it perceives as enemies. Here's hoping she continues to find her own truth, and if she goes missing in the process, we'll know whose basement to check. (I'm looking at YOU, Cruise.)
Are you surprised Leah Remini's starting to speak out about her break from Scientology?
Image via King of Queens