Photo: BANG Showbiz. All rights reserved.
Leah Remini has been “living and working with an 8th grade education.”
The 51-year-old star has reflected on growing up in the Church of Scientology and how she was treated like an adult from a very young age, including leaving formal education in her early teens and being held accountable for anything “bad” that happened to her.
Sharing a black and white photo taken at the start of her acting career, she wrote on Instagram: “This photo was taken when I was 16. I was so proud of this headshot. I thought my side pony made me look so versatile and like the consummate actress.
“By this point, I had been living the life of an adult for years even though I was just a kid.
“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.
“For the last 38 years of my life, I have been living and working with an 8th grade education.”
The ‘King of Queens’ star explained how she turned to acting as a “salvation” to raise her position in the church and lift her family out of poverty.
She continued: “Scientology was my life. Our friends were mostly Scientologists, I met my agent through Scientologists, and I worked for an insurance company owned by Scientologists.
“I saw a successful acting career as a salvation. It would help me get my family out of poverty and give me a higher standing in Scientology which I truly believed was helping to save mankind.
“At the time we were living in squalor with no furniture. Every spare cent we had went to Scientology and I was determined to get my family into better circumstances.
“I auditioned but was repeatedly told that my brash approach, and thick Brooklyn accent, was taking me nowhere fast. It wasn’t until a voice teacher and casting director discouraged me from losing my brashness and accent that I started getting acting gigs.”
Leah has recently returned to her studies and is amazed at how far she’s come since leaving the controversial faith.
She concluded: “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.”