It’s no secret that for years, and at the height of her career, actress Leah Remini was a member of the Church of Scientology. However, in 2013, Remini broke her 30-year relationship with the church and took a stand against its teachings.
Now, in a new interview with People, Remini is admitting that her decision to step away from the church is what has allowed her 17-year-old daughter to become the strong-minded woman she is today. While talking to People, Remini said that Sofia “wouldn’t be the strong-minded kid she is now, who, hopefully, is going to make some positive change in the world.”
Benefits of Leaving Scientology: Leah Remini Admits She’s Jealous of Her 17-Year-Old Daughter’s Strength
In fact, Remini admits that she and other former Scientology members are often jealous of the free-spirited people their children can now be because they are no longer members of the church. “My friend Sherry, who also left the church, recently texted me, ‘Aren’t we so jealous of our kids?’ We wish we had what we’ve given them.”
And now Remini has big expectations for her daughter. In fact, she’s hoping Sofia uses her strength to do good for the world and would like to see her get into politics.
“I’m always saying to her and her friends, ‘I hope you are going to take all this genius and get your asses into Congress,'” Remini revealed People. “That’s how you’re going to change things.”
However, while Remini is incredibly proud of the woman Sofia is becoming, she’s also struggling with the fact that her daughter will be flying the nest soon. The actress revealed her daughter is preparing to attend college on the East Coast.
“People are always like, ‘Oh my God, you should be so proud.’ Yes, Angelo and I are very proud, but it’s like I’m having a job of 17 years that I’ve loved and cherished ripped away from me overnight. I’m devastated.”
As a result, Remini explained to People that she is cherishing every last moment she has with Sofia until that day comes. Nonetheless, the idea of being an empty-nester is a hard concept for Remini to wrap her head around.
“I’ve always provided for my family members, and I’ve always been the boss, so now it feels like it’s coming to a different chapter of my life where it’s not going to be about getting Sofia to and from school anymore. I have to now find ways to get out of the house. It’s scary because I don’t know what the next thing is for me.”
But even with Sofia heading off to college, the mother-daughter duo will still have a lot in common. Due to her upbringing in Scientology, Remini never received an education above 8th grade. Now, she’s taking online classes offered by NYU.
Remini hopes to get an associate’s degree. “I’m doing it, and I am proud of myself. With my degree, I might eventually want to go into politics, but who knows? I would like to be of some kind of public service.”
In addition to all that is going on in Remini’s personal life, she is still fighting against the Church of Scientology through various mediums. In an Instagram post on January 15, Remini explained that the church ripped away from her childhood.
“Scientologists are taught that kids are no different from adults. So from a 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. Even though I was just 16 at the time, I hadn’t received any sort of formal education for years. Instead, I was working to earn a living to support myself and my family.
“L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, had a deep disdain for conventional education and since everything in Scientology is guided directly by his policies, with no room for interpretation, my education was interrupted,” Remini continued, adding that “for the last 38 years of my life, I have been living and working with an 8th-grade education.”
Leah believed her way out of poverty was by becoming an actress. Now she wants more for herself. “Had you told me then that I would be a student at NYU at age 51, I wouldn’t have believed it. I had big dreams but looking back they were rooted in my desire to survive, not to educate myself. And the idea that I would leave Scientology and work to expose the abuses that members face was not a thought I would even conjure up. Had I heard that anyone else was doing that, I would have seen them as an enemy worthy of punishment.”
Now all of that has changed.
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