Leah Remini celebrated her enrollment at New York University by looking back on how far she’s come since growing up in the Church of Scientology.
The former “King of Queens” star shared a lengthy Twitter thread on Sunday that she kicked off with a headshot from her teenage years that was photographed when she was “ready to take on the world” as an actress.
“By this point, I had been living the life of an adult for years even though I was a kid,” she wrote. “Scientologists are taught that kids are no different from adults. So from a very young age I was held accountable like an adult and regularly told that anything bad that happened in my life, even things that I wasn’t responsible for, was my fault.”
Remini, 51, said by the age of 16, she hadn’t “received any sort of formal education for years” because she was instead working to help support herself and her family.
“For the last 38 years of my life, I have been living and working with an 8th grade education,” she continued.
The “Second Act” actress explained that L. Ron Hubbard, the controversial religion’s founder, had a “deep disdain for conventional education,” so she turned to acting as a “salvation” that would help put her family in a better standing — financially and within the church.
Remini, who since leaving the Church of Scientology has dedicated her career to trying to expose its truths, announced in May 2021 through “tears” that she had been accepted into NYU.
“This didn’t come easy. This is one of the last chunks of my life that I am taking back for myself from Scientology,” she wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of her acceptance letter. “It took a lot for me to take this step, for fear that I was not smart enough, not worthy enough, not able to do the work that will be required, my age.”
Months later and fully enrolled in the elite university, Remini is still in disbelief.
“Had you told me then that I would be a student at NYU at age 51, I wouldn’t have believed it,” she ended her Twitter thread. “I had big dreams back then but when I look back they were rooted in my desire to survive…I couldn’t have imagined a world in which I would be a university student at my age.
“And the idea that I would leave Scientology and work to expose the abuses that current and former members face was not a thought I could even conjure up. Only Scientology’s darkest enemies would think in such a way.”
Reps for the Church of Scientology told Remini to “get a life” in a statement responding to her tweets.
“Leah Remini’s lack of education is of her own doing and it is shameful to publish
such bigotry,” International Spokesperson Karin Pouw said in a statement to Page Six. “Remini’s livelihood derives from promoting hate and lies like these toward her former religion. As Remini told journalist Meredith Vieira in 2004, she talked her mother into letting her drop out of school so she could become a ‘star.’ Remini needs to get a life.”
Remini was raised as a member of the Church of Scientology from childhood and left the organization in 2013. Two years later, she released her memoir, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology,” which lambasted the religion.