Leah Remini has released only a brief statement to the press addressing her leaving the Church of Scientology, but now her sister, Nicole, is speaking out and offering a much more candid look at how the split happened.
Nicole called in to the "Lori & Julia" show for an exclusive interview with Minneapolis-Saint Paul myTalk 107.1 radio to discuss why their family severed ties with Scientology following more than 30 years of practicing. The move came after Leah faced years of probing and "thought modification" because she questioned the practices of the group, the mistreatment of members and the whereabouts of leader David Miscavige's wife, Shelly. Another point of contention was her questioning Tom Cruise.
“You know, and it's funny too, because when you start questioning things that are connected to Tom things start getting a little crazy over there,” she told 107.1, saying Leah was particularly wary following Cruise's 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes. She added that his relationship with Miscavige is "very strange."
"When Leah came back from the wedding, whatever happened happened ... Leah had brought up to a very, very close friend of hers -- at our house, in private -- you know, 'I just think it's really weird how involved Tom is with the upper levels of the church.' She just started kind of questioning a little bit what was going on and just ... how involved he was with the upper level people. And someone, her best friend actually, wrote a report on her!"
That best friend was allegedly longtime Scientologist Melinda Brownstone, according to Scientology blogger Tony Ortega. The report led to interrogations.
“That was one of things Leah didn’t like, that Tom Cruise seemed to be taking over the church,” she told Ortega Thursday. “When Leah was sec-checked, one of the things they asked her about was whether she was going to be a danger to Tom.”
Brownstone is also the woman mentioned by actress Kirstie Alley. Alley is reportedly "livid" about Leah leaving and called a meeting of celebs on how to deal with the fallout. Her tweeting about Brownstone seemed to be direct jab at Leah. Nicole told "Lori & Julia" that Alley is a "bully" for attempting to rally anyone against her sister.
The Church of Scientology responded to Nicole's comments about Cruise and the church in a statement to RadarOnline.com:
The statements by Ms. Remini-Wiskow are absurd. Considering how big a wedding it was and her sister’s comments published in the media about what a good time everyone had, it is pretty unbelievable this is the story being told. Further, she hasn’t been in the Church since 2005, has no personal knowledge of any events described and knows firsthand that her own sister did not “disconnect” from her. Contrary to myths spouted by … anti-Scientologists, the Church cannot and does not “order” any parishioner to disconnect. Such a decision always has been and remains a deeply personal choice made entirely by the individual. This has been spelled out clearly on our website for years.
Visit 107.1 to listen to the full interview.