Leah Remini Tears Up Talking About Katie Holmes Leaving Scientology: 'She Had to Protect Her Daughter'

by Jackie Willis 11:33 AM PST, November 02, 2015
Playing Leah Remini Tears Up Talking About Katie Holmes Leaving Scientology: 'She Had to Protect Her Daughter'

Leah Remini got emotional recalling her rift with Katie Holmes while they were both members of the Church of Scientology.

During her 20/20 interview on Friday, the former King of Queens actress revealed that Tom Cruise's ex-wife once caused her family a lot of "time and pain" when she was a parishioner. After the sit-down, Holmes released a short statement apologizing to Remini, saying, "I regret having upset Leah in the past and wish her only the best in the future."

Remini, who left the Church in 2013 after being a member for 36 years, appeared on Good Morning America on Monday, and started to tear up when co-host Amy Robach read Holmes' statement aloud.

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"I'm smiling because it almost makes me want to cry," she said. "It makes me emotional because, at the time, Katie and this particular crew were writing reports, it caused me a lot of time and pain in my family, being 'reprogrammed.' So, at the time, I was fighting with her -- I guess for the lack of the better word -- within the Church, and now I know really what she was going through."

Remini added that the religion creates "an environment where everyone is writing each other up." Now that the actresses are out of the Church, Remini thinks she and Holmes are able to show kindness toward one another.

WATCH: Leah Remini Says She Was Written Up By Scientology After Telling Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to 'Get a Room'

"It's really because we both left that we're able to have this sort of grace towards each other because we're back to being human," she told Robach.

"I had no idea she was going through probably a lot more," Remini continued. "Looking back now and seeing her and Suri [Cruise] out there in the world, and her being able to be with her daughter and live her life, I'm touched by it because I know now she did what she did leaving because she had to protect her daughter."

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Remini shared that she too left Scientology for the sake of her 11-year-old daughter, Sofia Pagan. "I didn't want my daughter to choose the Church ultimately," she said.

As for Cruise's role in the religion, the actress says that's still unclear to her. "In my experience, there seems to be a lot of power there," she said of the actor. "The power seemed to be enormous."

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The Church of Scientology released a statement to ET regarding Remini's recent claims in both her book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, and her recent interviews. The statement reads: "It comes as no surprise that someone as self-absorbed as Leah Remini with an insatiable craving for attention would exploit her former faith as a publicity stunt by rewriting her history with it, including omitting that she was participating in a program to remain a Scientologist by her own choice, as she was on the verge of being expelled for her ethical lapses."