Has the Church of Scientology lost one of its most high-profile members? After decades as a devotee of L. Ron Hubbard, Leah Remini has ditched the religion, says the New York Post and the Hollywood Reporter. The purported reason? The former "King of Queens" star was subjected to years of "interrogation" and became disillusioned with the way the controversial church treats its members under the longtime leadership of David Miscavige.
"It all began when Leah questioned the validity of excommunication of people," a spy tells the Post. "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.'"
Word is, trouble started at Tom Cruise's 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes, when Remini asked fellow guest Miscavige about the whereabouts of his wife, Shelly, who apparently hasn't been seen in several years (the church vehemently denies this and insists she's doing Scientology-related work). She was quickly chastised for bringing up a verboten topic and was later "put through interrogations and blacklisted within the church that she donated millions to and that her family has spent their lives in," alleges a Post source. "She was put through 'thought modification' for five years."
While the actress has publicly voiced her support for the religion (and is quoted on its website), she "has also long been considered a troublemaker inside the church for asking questions about reports that members of Scientology's [elite group] Sea Org suffer abuse," insiders tell Scientology expert Tony Ortega, "and for refusing to 'disconnect' from family and friends who were [declared 'suppressive persons'] by the church."
(Nicole Kidman was allegedly branded an "SP" after her divorce from Cruise, a label that would put her in the same category as "Napoleon, Hitler, the unrepentant killer and the drug lord," per the Scientology website.)
Remini is said to be considering going public with her story. "She has heard they use people to scare you into silence," a source close to the actress explains to the Post. "[But] she's from Brooklyn. The church can't hurt her. … They don't have her family -- that's all that matters to her."
The church has denied "all allegations," according to the paper, with a spokesman adding to the Reporter that it "respects the privacy of parishioners and has no comment about any individual church member."