There should be a general rule for the citizens of the world to follow - DO NOT, under any circumstances ever try to screw with an Italian woman from New York. “Thou shalt not mess with a woman scorned,” but when said woman hails from the boroughs AND has the blood of Italy coursing through her veins, it's about to be real Scorsese-level violence in any room they're in, real quick.
Italian women from NY wear their anger like a badge of honor, and Leah Remini has done it with style and rebellious panache that only a New York chick could pull off. She has exactly as co-star Kevin James once stated she has “the mouth of a truck driver in the body of a model.”
Remini took that fighting spirit and left Scientology over disagreements about the Church and the direction it was going. Her book Troublemaker was a critical success and now her series, Scientology And The Aftermath, has become an Emmy-awarding winning series. So many outsiders want to know more about Scientology and who better than to let us all in than Remini and others who have had the courage to leave the Church and that way of life?
Here are 15 things you might not know about the Brooklyn Bomber, Leah Remini.
15 Her Feud With Sharon Osbourne
You have to wonder what is far more dangerous - pissing off the Church of Scientology or pissing off the Queen of Oz. The Church is one thing, but the woman who tamed Ozzy Osbourne and is a bit of a hell raiser herself? Leah Remini must have had a death wish when she started a beef with Sharon Osbourne while the two were hosting The Talk.
During the first season of the daytime talk show, Remini and Holly Robinson Peete were both hosts of the show, along with Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, and Julie Chen. Leah and Holly axed after the first season, and for some strange reason, Remini hurled venomous shade at Osbourne, who was the ringleader of the ladies.
Remini was originally espousing that Osbourne thought she and Peete were too ghetto for the show, and thought Sharon was given the power to hire and fire. Osbourne vehemently denied that she had anything to do with Remini getting fired.
14 9-Year-Old Scientologist
If you haven't realized it already, Leah Remini was indoctrinated into the Church of Scientology at a very early age. Nine years old to be exact. It happened when Remini’s mom took her two kids out of New York, away from a bad marriage and moved to Clearwater, Florida; better known as the Scientology capital of the world.
Even though she would be kicked out of the Sea Org and her mom would divorce hubby # 2, who introduced the family to the movement in the first place, the family still were part of the Church, and after moving to Los Angeles, Leah would begin her journey to try and become an actress around 14 years old.
In describing her experiences growing up a Scientologist, Remini has explained that children aren't treated as children; they're treated as spiritual beings, which can really inflate a kid’s ego. So in actuality, it could have been Scientology and not being from Brooklyn that gave Leah Remini her confidence and swagger.
13 She Exposed Scientology's Favoritism Towards Tom Cruise
While everyone in theory should be treated the same everywhere, no matter their race, creed, or religion, according to Remini, that is certainly not the case with Teflon Tom Cruise and his position in Scientology. Back in January, Remini appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Besides the two of them having a good comedic and flirty chemistry, Remini discussed her book and her series, Scientology And The Aftermath. She also clued Joe in on what Auditing and Knowledge reports are.
She thought she was being a good Scientologist reporting her thoughts and feelings on the behavior of a certain couch-jumping actor and how she felt his actions were damaging the Church.
But considering how chummy the superstar is with David Miscavige, who is the leader of Scientology she probably should have realized that ratting out Tom would land her in the hot seat instead of anyone coming near the golden boy, but when you're devout, you're devout. For writing her Knowledge Report, the Church sentenced her to four months of auditing for 11 hours a day, which she would recant her story just to get out of there.
12 She Auditioned For Monica
While Leah was a devout member of the Church of Scientology, she was also an actor struggling to find work. She worked several small and guest roles, some of which will be covered in this article, but like all actors, Remini tried out for roles that she not only didn't get, but they would wind up launching other actresses to super-stardom.
While she eventually landed the role of Carrie Heffernan on The King Of Queens, Remini also auditioned for the role of a young high-maintenance twenty-something with a penchant for dating older men on a show whose working title was Insomnia Cafe - Friends. Remini had tried out for the neurotic control freak, Monica.
Considering her sarcastic sense of humor and laid back attitude, Remini’s version of Monica would have been interesting to see and vastly different than Courtney Cox’s, especially when she hooked up with the equally sarcastic Chandler. It also would have been interesting to see a pair of NY actors play a pair of NY siblings, as David Schwimmer was the only member of the cast to actually hail from New York.
11 She's Friends With J-Lo
If you think you shouldn't mess with Leah Remini, wait till you get a load of her bestie, fellow New Yorker J-Lo herself, Jennifer Lopez. The 6 train doesn't just go to the Bronx, you can hoof it to Brooklyn too, both ladies hail from these boroughs, and if their friendship is anything like other New York girls you might know, they're practically sisters, which is trouble for anyone stupid enough to cross them. Especially when one of these girls is the world class Diva J-Lo!
You can usually see these two sharing each other's social media posts and rooting each other on. Jennifer supported Leah when she left the Church and could be seen front and center rooting her on when she was on Dancing With The Stars.
While some people might scratch their heads at this pairing, consider this - these are two badass NY girls who have navigated Hollywood waters to become success stories, why wouldn't they make for besties, each having that New Yorker mindset?
10 She Left School
Plenty of actors never finished college, due to their career taking off. After all, when you're making bank already doing what you love, why continue to learn in the classroom environment - you can always broaden your horizons in other ways. How about leaving traditional schooling behind for the fancy learning of Scientology, that's what happened to Remini.
Her mother took Leah and her sister out of what would have been Junior High School at the time, eighth grade to be exact and brought the girls to Sea Org, where according to Remini, they lived in “roach-infested dorms with other children,” clearly this is before they kicked her out for giving in to her teenage carnal temptations.
Remini, like a lot of Sea Org members had to sign one billion year contract with the Church. Yes that was typed correctly and yes you read it correctly, which means Leah’s soul, along with Tom, John, the Mastersons, the Becks, and plenty other members of the Sea Org are going to be members forever and even a few years after that.
9 She Was Kicked Out Of Scientology's Sea Org.
Plenty of religions have groups for their most ardent members. For Scientologists, the most loyal of the faith are members of the Sea Org. One of the rules of being part of the Sea Org. is to abstain from pre-marital sex and if you wish to start a family, you have to leave the organization.
Needless to say being a “boy crazy” teenager wasn't going to sit well with the Sea Org. Let alone a girl allowing her boyfriend to grope her over her clothes. But sure enough, this is what Leah was according to the uber-devout and she was kicked out of the organization. The Church had threatened to put her in a rehab program for her “crime.”
Instead, she was forced to dress in all black, address everyone as “sir,” and run everywhere she had to go. The incident caused Remini’s mom to remove her other daughter from the Sea Org as well and leave Clearwater for California.
8 Shady Parents
Somehow, despite being part of the Church of Scientology for most of her life, her persona comes off as every bit of a classic “tough broad” from New York, that’s because she is in a lot ways. Her upbringing actually does lend itself to being a badass New York chick from Brooklyn, even though she was raised in Clearwater and California during her formative years.
Her parents were Vicki Marshall and George Remini. Their marriage didn't last too long though, George was a bad man who would serve time on New York’s own little Alcatraz, Ryker’s Island, for dealing cocaine. Remini and her dad only recently reconciled for Remini's old TLC reality show, It’s All Relative because she wanted her daughter to know him.
As for her mother, who was the person who introduced her to Scientology in the first place? Remini has stated that her momma was a rolling stone, so to speak. She slept around a lot and experimented with drugs before finding the Church.
7 She Asked To Recruit J-Lo
Considering how Scientology members like to get new members to join, it stands to reason that if a Scientologist has friends outside the Church then they would love to recruit them, and try to. Remember all of the rumors that swirled around Will and Jada-Pinkett Smith when they started hanging with Tom Cruise? The media attention their friendship received was as if Luke was about join Vader.
Naturally any organization, religious or otherwise would like to do is strengthen their business, their reach, and their coffers. The Church had asked Leah to try and recruit her derrière-defining friend. So Lopez and then-husband, Marc Anthony were invited to the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
Once the couple got to the three day affair, instead of dancing it up all night long, the friends were kept separate while the Church tried (and failed) to recruit J-Lo.
6 Exposing Scandal On Scientology Boss' Wife
Reporting on her friends, neighbors, and fellow Scientologists in Knowledge Reports didn't convince Leah Remini to break from the Church. Being told she was wrong countless times and taught how to behave as a teenager and even as an adult didn't cause her to leave. But the fact that Michele Miscavige, wife of Church’s current leader, David Miscavige hasn't been seen in public since 2007 certainly raised a few flags for Remini.
Remini would not stand for being treated like she shouldn't ask about “Shelly’s” whereabouts when she wasn't present at the Tom and Katie wedding; considering how involved she was in Cruise’s life (she set the pair up). While several missing person reports were filed, including one by Remini, no one is batting an eye at this supposed Scientology scandal.
It was one of the many reasons for Remini, who was already fed up with the abuse of Sea Org. members and the policy of “disconnect,” in which Scientologists are supposed to completely remove themselves from ex-Scientologists, even if they're family. Remove and renounce any and everything they ever did. You have to try and discredit them at every turn, which is what the Church is doing to Remini now.
No matter how good you think Dianetics is, when the wife of the leader of the religion hasn't been seen anywhere in ten years, there might be a problem or two with the guys running it.
5 Paid For Couple's Counselling To Get Past Hubby's Prior Marriage
How is this for going to the ends of the Earth to try and end a relationship before it got hot and heavy, and wrong by most ethical standards? Remini’s future husband was not only a drug dealer in his youth (does this mean that girls really do wind up going for their fathers?), but unbeknownst to her at first, the guy was also married! So Remini did what any mistress would do (yeah right), pay for Scientology Marriage Counselling of course!
Like a lot of aspects of life, there is a website detailing how Scientology Marriage Counselling works, highlighting and accentuating the positives of you and your spouse’s attributes both together and separately, instead of talking about the negatives of your husband or wife’s character flaws.
In any event, Pagan had already fallen hard for Remini and ended his marriage when he decided that counselling was not going to work and began to court the Brooklyn Bombshell that he met earlier in 1996. The couple would wed in 2003 and has one daughter together and three boys from Pagan’s earlier marriage.
4 She Broke Scientology Childbirth Rules
If you’ve ever watched someone give birth before, you can assume it’s a pretty painful, albeit joyful part of life. If you’ve ever given birth before, you know that is a VERY painful, albeit joyful part of life. Every religion has their rules / guidelines for bringing a life into the world and Scientology is no different.
Scientologists believe that all kinds of background noise, including nurses and doctors urging you to “PUSH,” could be detrimental to the baby’s well being, hence the practice of Silent Birth was born. According to L. Ron Hubbard, “Everyone must learn to say nothing within the expectant mother’s hearing using labor and delivery. Particularly during birth, absolute silence must be maintained and the more gentle the delivery, the better.”
Silent Birth, no medication; Remini said “F that” when she gave birth to her daughter. She trusted her motherly instincts and got an epidural when giving birth to Sofia. She even stated if she could have hit herself with a rock and knock herself out, she would have.
3 Despite It All, No Regrets
One might think that after the way you’ve seen them treat some of their most important people, let alone how poorly they’ve treated you, that you might have a lot of bitterness towards the Church of Scientology and how you were raised. Heck, Leah Remini is now actually helping to expose some of Scientology’s seediest secrets. But even after seeing what she has seen and knowing what she knows, Remini did find it hard to leave the Church – afraid she was going to be shunned by her friends and family.
But she does not regret growing up in the Church, “At the end, I mean, I don’t regret what I’ve been through,” Remini said in a 20/20 interview. “I don’t regret spending my life there, because it really did teach me a lot...and because we’ve all survived it, we’re all surviving it and living life and it’s kind of like we have a gift of second chance of life.
2 Stacey Carosi
While she caught a few breaks on her way to starring on The King Of Queens and now reunited with Kevin James again on Kevin Can Wait, Leah Remini was a relatively unknown in Hollywood; just another young cute actress trying to find consistent work and make it. She already had been part of a failed sitcom and was getting zero love from the movie industry.
But at 21 years old in 1991, she became the summer love of Zack Morris’ life when she was cast as Stacey Carosi on Saved By The Bell. The series headed to the Malibu Sands Beach Club for the summer and most of the gang got jobs there, which saw Zack and Stacey frequently butt heads considering Stacey was the boss’ daughter and already a career woman and Zack was already a career slacker.
But in typical rom-com SBTB style, it wasn't long before the pair was butting more than just their heads. Summer love hit Zack hard and he was hopeful the couple would write and call each other day and see each other on holidays. But ever the cad, Zack was soon on to other girls who didn't move back to New York when summer was over. No, that storyline didn’t happen - Remini was only signed for the summer episodes.
1 Living Dolls
When Charlie Briscoe (Remini) decided to visit her friend Samantha Micelli (Alyssa Milano) while she was dabbling in her own modelling career, the photographers thought that she too was very photogenic and a new show was spun-off of Who’s The Boss – Living Dolls. The spin-off was universally panned by critics and only lasted a handful of shows, but we have to thank the series for introducing the world to Remini and another Hollywood newcomer, Halle Berry.
In a bit of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the Scientology Edition, Berry of course would go on to star in countless Hollywood blockbusters including the action ride, Swordfish, which not only starred one of Scientology’s most notable spokespersons in John Travolta, but also a bit part featuring Remini's husband, Angelo Pagan, who played Torres in the 2001 film and would go on to marry Remini a year later.