Leah Remini breaks her silence after deciding to cut ties with the Church of Scientology which she has become a member of since three decades ago. The former "King of Queens" star thanks fans for their overwhelming support and kind words after the news broke out.
"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," she says in a statement to PEOPLE. "I am truly grateful and thankful for all your support."
Remini left the church she previously fiercely defended reportedly after being subjected to years of "interrogations" and "thought modification." Rumor suggested she was reprimanded for asking the whereabouts of church leader David Miscavige's wife.
The actress was curious why Shelly Miscavige was not present at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' 2006 wedding in Italy. Shelly reportedly has never been seen publicly since 2006 except for one in August 2007 when she was allowed to attend her father's funeral.
Another thing about the church's policies that reportedly bothered her was the alleged rule saying that followers must cut all contact with family members who are branded as "suppressive persons" if they choose to leave the church.
"It all began when Leah questioned the validity of excommunication of people," a source said to New York 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.' "
Remini is married to restaurateur Angelo Pagan, who is also a Scientologist. The couple has a nine-year-old daughter, Sofia. She joins a series of public figures who have left the controversial church, including Cruise's ex-wives Nicole Kidman and Holmes, as well as writer-director Paul Haggis.
A Scientology rep previously commented on the Remini report as quoted by The Hollywood Reporter, "The Church respects the privacy of parishioners and has no comment about any individual Church member." They have also repeatedly denied the abuse allegations.