- (Photo: Facebook/Leah Remini)
An actress who left the Church of Scientology has explained that a driving force in her leaving the religion was that her "eyes opened."
Leah Remini, known for her roles in television programs like "The King of Queens," told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres on Monday that Scientology was part of her upbringing.
"My mother got involved when we were very young so it's all we ever really knew but over time my eyes opened and I just could no longer be affiliated with the organization and my family felt the same so we left," said Remini on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
In July, Remini announced she was leaving Scientology, a religion which she had belonged to for almost 30 years. Remini's older sister, Nicole, had left the church years before.
Remini received much support from celebrities, including former Scientologists Paul Haggis, an Academy Award-winning director who left Scientology in 2009, and Vince Offer, known to many as "the ShamWow Guy."
In an interview with TMZ in August, Offer expressed both his support for Remini and his concern over talking too much about the Church of Scientology.
"Otherwise it wouldn't be you following me it would be something different. You know what I am saying?" said Offer to the off-camera TMZ reporter.
Remini also told Ellen that the decision to leave has been "hard," as she and her family have "lost friends that can no longer talk to us who are still in the organization."
"And these are friends that we've had for dozens of years," said Remini, noting that she does have "great friends" who were "not in the Church that have stood by us."
"You have me. I'm your friend, we're your friends," said Ellen in response, which drew applause from the studio audience.
In the past, the Church of Scientology has stated to media that they do not publicly comment on individuals who decide to leave the Church.
However, since leaving Scientology Remini has leveled allegations against the sect's leader, David Miscavige.
Remini recently filed a missing persons report for the wife of Miscavige, who was absent from public for about six years. In a statement, the Church of Scientology decried the missing persons report as "nothing more than a publicity stunt for Ms. Remini."
"This ill-advised, ludicrous self-promotion and the media inquiries it generated caused an inexcusable distraction for the LAPD," stated the Church of Scientology.
Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department declared the case closed when they met the allegedly missing Shelly Miscavige.