"It's people and a lifestyle you've known all your life," the 44-year-old actress explains. "It formed who I am, good and bad. It formed the way I think, good and bad, and there’s a lot of pain connected to it. There's a lot of healing."
While time heals all wounds, Leah admits that she still has her rough days, especially when it comes to her former friends from the church. She claims one of her worst experiences came when she recently saw her goddaughter on the street. "My instinct was to run to her, and her mom turned her back to me," she recalls.
Despite the difficulties, Remini is learning to take positives from her decision to leave. "When you are raised in something, and you were taught to think a certain way, a lot of times, you grow up thinking, 'This is the way I think,'" she explains in the OWN special. “I’m learning there’s a new world out here and there shouldn’t be any kind of judgment towards somebody who has a belief system that is not yours."
Her words are especially apt in the wake of the documentary Going Clear, which aired on HBO in March.
Tune in to Oprah: Where Are They Now airs this Saturday, May 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.