Leah Remini caused a great deal of concern and speculation when she announced she was leaving the Church of Scientology earlier this month. Now she has spoken out about her reasons for leaving.
"I believe that people should be able to question things," Remini told People magazine. "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."
According to reports, Remini's friends have separated from her since she left the Church. Actress Kirstie Alley appeared to have severed her ties with Remini, whom she had been friends with for years and had even introduced to Scientology.
Remini's sister has been very vocal about Leah's decision to leave the tradition, but this is one of the first times she herself has spoken about her decision. She gives full credit to her family for standing by her during this time and making the decision to leave the Church together, which was not easy.
"We stand united, my family and I, and I think that says a lot about who we are and what we're about," Leah said. "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. I am truly grateful and thankful for all your support," she said in a statement earlier this month.
The Church of Scientology does not comment on members' statuses or their decisions to join or leave the institution. Yet Remini wants to be free to speak her mind about the organization and does not mind if it costs her.
"It doesn't matter, it could be anything," she said. "I thought about the family being broken up for some other cause, and I'm not about to shut up."