"King of Queens" actress Leah Remini recently left the Church of Scientology after 30 years of membership, and uncharacteristically for her, has been quiet about the split.
“But the actress' sister, Nicole, is speaking out defending her sister's decision in an exclusive interview with My Talk Radio,” CNN’s Pamela Brown reports.
Nicole, who also left the church, says the church is fighting back, using their shared circle of friends as arsenal.
“They literally have pulled in these people and told them they had to choose between relationships with my sister and my mother or the church,” Nicole said in the interview. “And I'm going to tell you, these people chose the church.”
In an interview in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Nicole says her sister's problems with Scientology all started at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ wedding when she asked the head of the Church (David Miscavage) about the whereabouts of his wife, Shelly, Brown reports.
“According to Nicole, that question led to others and ultimately to Leah leaving Scientology.”
After her struggle to walk away from the Church, Leah Remini released just this statement saying, “I wish to share my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming, positive response I have received.”
Someone with first-hand insight into those struggles is Nancy Many, the former president of Celebrity Centre International at the Church of Scientology and author of "My Billion Year Contract: Memoir of a Former Scientologist".
Many says Leah Remini's reasons for leaving the Church stressed on its organizational structure and policy of disconnection. "Even though Scientology still denies it,” Many says, “it does happen.”
Many says the Church is a “very high control group,” that has a policy where members must report on other members.
She says the revelation about David Miscavage “came about when Leah confided in a very, very close personal friend her concerns. But her close, personal friend was also a Scientologist, and as such…she was to report this, which she did,” Many says.
“Disconnection is very common practice.”