- (Photo:Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez has voiced support for Leah Remini regarding her recently announced decision to leave the Church of Scientology.
In an interview with People Magazine, Remini's sister explained that the support from Lopez was expected given the two celebrities' longstanding friendship.
"They're best friends, and they're fine … None of her Scientology friends are sticking by her side. I guess you really learn who your friends are," said Nicole Remini Winslow.
A native of Brooklyn, Remini has acted in several minor roles on television programs during the 1990s such as "Who's the Boss," "Saved by the Bell," and "Cheers." In 1998, Remini gained her breakout role as housewife Carrie Heffernan in the long running sitcom "The King of Queens."
Last Thursday, Remini announced that she was leaving the Church of Scientology, which she had belonged to for almost 30 years. Remini's older sister, Nicole, had left the church years earlier.
"I wish to share my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming positive response I have received from the media, my colleagues, and from fans around the world," said Remini in a statement.
According to the Page Six section of the New York Post, Remini's reasons for quitting Scientology were based in the church's years of "interrogations" and "thought modification" for questioning the leadership of David Miscavige.
Miscavige presently serves as the chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and "ecclesiastical leader" of the Church of Scientology.
The website for the church commends Miscavige for spearheading "explosive growth" for the sect founded by author L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s.
The New York Post's unnamed source for the claim stated that in particular Remini took issue with the church policies against criticizing Miscavige's rule and for its policy of excommunication.
"It all began when Leah questioned the validity of excommunication of people … She is stepping back from a regime she thinks is corrupt. She thinks no religion should tear apart a family or abuse someone under the umbrella of 'religion,'" said the source to the NYP.
"It's not about wanting or not wanting to do Scientology … The issue is that [Miscavige] is taking down this church and hurting people and families."
The Church of Scientology has stated to media that it will not comment on the departure of any one member.