Celebrity Cult Survivors: Leah Remini 3/6

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Her new success brought her into higher echelons of Scientology, so that she was on the cover of their Celebrity magazine, appearing in Scientology videos, and meeting church leader (called Chairman of the Board in this litigious cult) David Miscavige and his wife Shelly. “He is very, you know, charismatic. He’s very powerful… he’s likable.” Leah remained highly involved in the church, making numerous donations to various projects, up to a million dollars at a time.

In the early 2000s she and Angelo married and had a daughter. Leah also made friends with the second most important man in the Church of Scientology, Tom Cruise. One night at Cruise’s behest, church officials sent Remini to his house to give private salsa dancing lessons. Two church officials observed the evening, and Cruise’s then new girlfriend Katie Holmes was also there.

“He was like forcibly kissing Katie and I said, ‘hey, get a fricking room.’” And well, I was written up for that, and I had to go into session for it.” Writing up other members is a standard part of Scientology and Remini states she wrote such “Knowledge Reports” about her own husband. “I wrote Angelo up all the time… It’s what the group does to regulate itself.”

While she liked him as a friend and an actor, she was concerned his erratic public appearances would reflect badly on the church. “I’m saying, ‘I don’t think he’s becoming of a Scientologist, jumping on couches, and attacking Matt Lauer… and attacking Brooke Shields. Like… ‘What the hell is this guy doing?’ … we need to rein it in, we need to stop all this, and he just needs to be an actor.”

Criticizing Cruise turned out to be ill advised and Remini was counseled to address her own transgressions. “So you then become guilty. So 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.”

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