Leah Remini is an American actress, best known for her portrayal of Carrie Hefferman on the popular CBS comedy King of Queens, which aired for 9 seasons, ending in 2008. She also appeared in cult classic film Old School and was a co-host on CBS talk show, The Talk for a brief period from 2010-11.
Raised by a Scientologist mother, Leah is now an active anti-Scientology advocate, speaking out about the atrocities committed by the so-called church. She left the Church of Scientology in 2013 and, luckily, did not lose contact with her family, as they all decided to leave. She has written a memoir about her experiences and created a documentary special for A&E about the subject. Her documentary, aptly titled Leah Remini: Scientology and The Aftermath, earned her an Emmy award in 2016, and a second season began airing in late summer 2017. Due to its popularity, it has been renewed for a third season. Leah has stepped on quite a few toes with her controversial and very outrageous claims; mainly Scientology followers. Despite the heat, she continues to share her message.
Leah is married to Puerto Rican actor Angelo Pagan, whom she met in 1996. The pair has been together for over 20 years and welcomed a daughter in 2004.
Leah Remini is stirring up quite a bit of controversy these days; her own father has stated that he believes she needs psychological help. The woman is as mysterious as she is outspoken, and we have all the dirt.
15 She Worked Up Jada Pinkett Smith
Leah Remini is prepared to expose the Church of Scientology and all of its Hollywood and non-famous members no matter what the cost. Her personal mission has cost her some friendships, and some would say she's ruined her credibility and reputation with her loose lips. Recently, she stepped on the toes of actress Jada Pinkett Smith, when she stated in an interview with Daily Beast that Pinkett Smith is, and has been, involved in Scientology for a long time. Although Jada denied these allegations, it's been reported that the Smith family have donated millions of dollars to Scientology centers over the years.
14 She's Said Controversial Things About Her Mother
Leah Remini and her mother have had a colorful relationship. When Leah's parents divorced, her mother found refuge in the Church of Scientology and brought her daughter in with her. Leah's famously made comments about her mother's extensive drug use and promiscuous behavior in the '70s. When asked about these harsh comments (many appeared in her book) she simply explained that she wanted to be on the record admitting these truths before the Church of Scientology outed her. For a time, she was very stressed about losing everything if the organization shared her comments, so she decided that it was best to be totally transparent and expose her comments first.
13 Her Father Has Spoken Out About Her
Leah Remini is not only an enemy of the Church of Scientology. Some of her feuds hit closer to home, in fact. Her father, George, has spoken out recently about his disappointment with her behavior. According to him, Leah's behavior is erratic, selfish, and unpredictable. He's said that she's only concerned with herself and that she wouldn't even help him to pay for a $1,500 bill for a cancerous biopsy that he needed. Of course, this is only one side of the story, and people tend to exaggerate or make things up to get a little bit of camera time. Regardless of what the truth is, though, this family matter is definitely causing some strain on their father-daughter relationship.
12 She Really Doesn't Like Tom Cruise
Once upon a time, Leah Remini and Tom Cruise were pals. Both Hollywood representatives for the Church of Scientology, Remini even attended Tom Cruise's wedding to now-estranged ex-wife, Katie Holmes. She's claimed that she was encouraged to bring to the wedding her friends Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, who were then sequestered and pitched a Scientology speech. Not the greatest wedding, am I right? When Remini left the Church of Scientology, many of these odd stories came to light, and Remini has publicly critiqued Tom Cruise and his role in the religion.
11 She Has Called Her Husband A "Serial Cheater"
Most women don't publicly announce that their husbands have a penchant for cheating. It's often a very personal and hurtful part of a relationship that's better kept private. Leah Remini, however, doesn't keep many private things to herself. In her book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, Remini talked openly about her husband's cheating ways. He had allegedly been with another woman when the pair met, and had several liaisons over the years. Remini explained that she had purged some of this upsetting information to the Church of Scientology, and she wanted to get it out on her own volition in case they decided to leak the confessions.
10 She's Besties With J-Lo
Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini are long time besties who share an interesting relationship. Jennifer's father is a member of the Church of Scientology and has been trying to recruit Jennifer for years. In fact, J-Lo gave Leah major support when she decided to exit the organization in 2013. According to Scientology doctrine, J-Lo's father should be disconnecting from his daughter for being close friends with an ex-member. This is one of the biggest rules that the organization holds itself to; ex-members are seen as traitors and must be excommunicated at all costs. It seems that the girls have managed to keep their relationship afloat despite the strange circumstances.
9 She Left School In The 8th Grade
When Leah's mother became a member of the Church of Scientology, the small family moved to Clearwater, FL to be closer to the organization's headquarters. Members are required to pledge full allegiance to the Church and are expected to abandon all projects that are unrelated to the pursuit of Scientology advancement. This includes regular schooling and educational programs. Leah was taken out of school when she was in the 8th grade and had to undergo her learning at the Scientology Center, along with other members' children. She lived in a dorm with a group of other kids and was given rigorous Scientology education. Part of this includes signing a waiver promising that members will remain faithful to the organization for a billion years. (Insert eye roll.)
8 She Broke Many Scientology Rules Before Her Exit
Before her 2013 exit from the Church, Leah had already committed a few offenses that are against Scientology rules. For instance, Leah broke the Scientology rule regarding natural, silent birthing. Women in the group aren't meant to make any noise during their labor, and they're definitely not meant to accept any medication (what?!). Leah opted for an epidural when her labor pains got too intense to handle and has stated that she was in so much pain that she wanted to hit herself over the head with a rock. Another offense? She asked about the whereabouts of head honcho David Miscavige's wife at the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes wedding. This violated a Scientology rule, and she was punished for her unacceptable behavior in the aftermath of the wedding.
7 She's Got A Lot Of Money
Leah Remini accumulated quite a nice sum of money during her nine seasons on The King Of Queens. The show regularly brought in between 10 to 14 million viewers, making it one of the biggest shows in CBS history. Leah is reportedly worth $20 million, and that's only going to go up now that she's having such success with her documentary. Interviews, book deals, and public appearances only add to her popularity and wealth. Her husband is also reportedly worth at least $5 million for various acting and producing projects. Clearly, the pair isn't doing too badly and can afford to enjoy little (and big) splurges from time to time!
6 She Was Fired From The Talk
Leah is definitely an outspoken lady who doesn't censor her words. She's consistently said just exactly what's on her mind, whether it hurts or harms her. In this case, it got her fired from her position as co-host on talk show The Talk. She only lasted for one season, from 2010-11, before her position was terminated. Remini blamed fellow co-host Sharon Osbourne for her unfortunate ending. Remini, not one to shy away from conflict (nor is Sharon Osbourne, for that matter) ended up in a public feud with Sharon. Sharon rebutted that Leah was just upset that she had lost her job and looking for someone to blame.
5 She Auditioned For The Role of Monica on Friends
Leah Remini guest starred in one episode of Friends ("The One With the Birth") in 1995, but she originally had dreams of being cast as a full cast member. During the auditioning phase, Leah read lines for the role of Monica. According to her, she was very close to being chosen for the iconic role, which was ultimately secured by Courteney Cox. Also, Leah has such a reputation for exaggerating things that maybe, she wasn't even really being considered! Although she lost out on a huge hit and a once-in-a-lifetime role, she got her lucky break a few years later when she was cast as a lead in The King of Queens. Everything happens for a reason, right?
4 Her Daughter Was The Main Reason She Left Scientology
Despite getting into some heated disagreements with Scientology members, Leah has claimed that she doesn't regret the time she spent in the Church. In total, she was involved in Scientology for close to twenty years and has stated that the main reason for her exit was so that her daughter didn't have to be subjected to a cult. Leah herself was brought in at such a young age, and she knew that if she didn't exit early on, her daughter Sofia might be among the group of people who really would pledge their allegiance for life. Her family was her main deciding factor, and they all left at the same time in 2013 to start a fresh life.
3 She Was On Saved By The Bell
These days, the name "Leah Remini" sparks up visions of her role on The King of Queens. Or you think about the Scientology stuff. But few people recall that a young Remini was in Saved By The Bell way back in 1991, when she was a cute, innocent 21-year-old. She played the role of Stacy Carosi, Zack Morris's summer girlfriend that he picks up in Malibu. The Saved kids had all flocked to the beach for the summer to enjoy summer jobs, the beach, and inevitably, the girls. Sadly, reality kicked in at the end of summer, and the kids had to go back to school in boring old New York. Remini's character appeared over 5 summer episodes, but sadly, that was it.
2 She Was Kicked Out Of The Sea Org
The Sea Org is a Scientology organization that's made up of the most dedicated members willing to serve the group. Originally, the Sea Org worked on ships where Scientology founder, science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, was stationed. In order to be admitted, one had to sign the billion-year allegiance contract, had to agree to no pre-marital relationships, and couldn't start a family while a member. Leah was actually kicked out for being too boy crazy and loud. Her punishments included wearing all black and addressing everyone as "sir." Due to this incident, Leah's mother pulled her sister out of the Sea Org and relocated the family to California, where they got involved in that branch of the religion.
1 Katie Holmes Doesn't Hold A Grudge
Katie Holmes has kept a relatively low profile since divorcing from Tom Cruise and leaving the Church of Scientology. After having been married to the most iconic Hollywood face in the organization, it's no wonder that Katie is enjoying a more private (and less crazy) lifestyle. In 2015, she agreed to be filmed for the 20/20 special featuring Leah Remini, dealing with the topic of exiting the Church of Scientology. Just before filming, however, she backed out. She did release a peaceful statement that offered an apology to Leah for any upsetting things she had gone through and wished her all the best.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk; leahreminiaftermath.com