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Leah Remini has been openly critical of the religion she spent over 30 years practicing, Scientology, since her 2013 departure from the church. On tonight’s episode of 20/20, she appeared to share more behind-the-scenes details and promote her upcoming book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.
She started the show confirming a litany of accusations about her read out loud by Dan Harris in her book. “You say, ‘I am an apostate. I have lied, I have cheated,’” he said. “You then go on to admit that you have been selfish, that you’ve physically threateantined people and been a horrible wife and mother.”
“Correct,” said Remini. “I know what my former church...how they deal with people who tell their story, and so I wanted to be the one to say it.” Harris reported that on Tuesday, representatives hand-delivered a package containing damning statements about Remini to ABC News.
And say it she did. She spent a lot of time talking about Scientology’s most notorious member, Tom Cruise. She described her early dealings with him: “At first, it’s very effusive, it’s very loving, you get, like, the laser-in on you and you’re the most important thing that ever happened. It’s, ‘What are you doin’?’ and ‘How are you doin’?’ and ‘Yeah! Great, great, greatgreat, great!’”
Remini told a story about being invited to Cruise’s by a church official, who told her that Cruise wanted her to teach him salsa dancing. At Cruise’s, she said she saw two “high-ranking Scientology officials,” along with his then-girlfriend Katie Holmes. “He was, like, forcibly kissing Katie,” recalls Remini. “I said, ‘Hey, get a friggin’ room.’” Remini says one of the officials present wrote up a “knowledge report” on her that she then had to answer to in an audit.
“If you say something critical to the church, you will be written up,” she says.
Remini nonetheless remained critical of Cruise during his 2005 wild ride in the public eye (that was the year he jumped on Oprah Winfrey’s couch and called Matt Lauer “glib” on the Today show). “I was immediately dealt with,” says Remini, who concludes, “Being critical of Tom Cruise is being critical of Scientology itself. You are a person who is anti the aims and goals of Scientology. You are evil.”
Remini nonetheless attended Cruise and Holmes’s 2006 wedding, which she said her friends Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony were also invited to by the church in what she assumes was an attempt to recruit the then-couple. At the wedding Cruise reprised his Top Gun performance of the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”
“We’re like, ‘Interesting song to sing to your bride,’” Remini says was her response.
Scientology leader David Miscavige, Remini claims, attended the wedding without his wife, which the church calls, along with the rest of Remini’s recent claims, “ridiculous and stupid.” Remini says she was punished for the ensuing knowledge report she filed, and Holmes herself responded to Remini’s behavior at the wedding in her own knowledge report. Remini read from what she said was Holmes’s letter: “I was dismayed at the behavior of Leah Remini during the events leading up to our wedding and our wedding. The behavior as a guest, a friend, was very upsetting.” In various reports, Remini was charged with being loud, late, and rude at the wedding. She was also accused of upgrading her hotel room and switching seats at the reception.
This is just a fraction of her Scientology ordeal that Remini shared on 20/20. Cruise and Miscavige, of course, didn’t participate in the story. Holmes wrote to ABC News this week. She didn’t confirm or deny writing the quoted knowledge report, but she did say this: