Leah Remini continues to battle against the controversial practices of the Church of Scientology, including its recruitment of celebrities such as best pal Jennifer Lopez, per a story published by the Daily Beast.
Remini found herself at odds with the religious group, from which she separated herself in 2013, at Tom Cruise’s 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes in Italy, where the leader of the church, David Miscavige, served as best man.
The actress asked others at the festivities why Miscavige’s wife Shelly was noticeably absent from the ceremony (she has not been seen publicly since 2007).
Remini also alleged that church officials attempted at multiple points throughout the affair to separate her from her pal Jennifer Lopez, whom she’d been pressured to invite by the church as a possible recruitment into the religion.
“They were trying to extract me,” Remini revealed in an interview with 20/20. “I can only assume because they wanted to make Jennifer a Scientologist. Maybe I was barring that road for them.”
Remini, who met Lopez through her former husband Marc Anthony, says that despite the church’s best efforts to the contrary, Lopez saw right through their manipulations.
“I didn’t save her from anything. Jennifer is a very strong-minded female and is a seeker of spirituality. She’s Catholic—always has been—and her father is a very indoctrinated Scientologist, and has been for quite a long time. He’s achieved the confidential levels of Scientology. But Jennifer makes her own decisions,” Remini explained in the interview.
“Yes, I did [run interference], but she disagreed with the disconnection policy, so she wasn’t going to submit to any pressures from anybody regardless, and she was a really good friend to me through all that,” explained Remini of her experiences with the church after she famously left.
The aforementioned “disconnection” policy of the church is one of the more dark aspects of the religion. Those that choose to leave their Scientology practice are branded “Suppressive Persons” who cannot be contacted by other Scientologists. This practice separates those who left from their family members that are still members of the church, allowing them no contact.
Since formally defecting from Scientology in 2013, Remini has made it a personal mission to expose the alleged abuses and harassment of Scientology.
She uses her Emmy-award winning A&E docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath as a platform for people to share their stories and experiences within the church.
The series is co-hosted by Mike Rinder, a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology International and Sea Org, its fraternal religious sect.
Remini claims that the Church of Scientology “uses their millions of dollars in tax-exempt money to bully, harass and attempt to silence those that are speaking out.”
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath airs Tuesdays on A&E.