Leah Remini is making up for lost time.
“Two years ago, I had an 8th-grade education thanks to spending 35 years in a cult,” Remini wrote. “And now, at age 52, I’ve successfully finished my second year at NYU. Undertaking this educational journey has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life.”
The former “King of Queens” star previously told BuzzFeed her mother joined Scientology shortly before Remini’s 10th birthday. She said she received “barely any schooling” and endured constant physical labor with “heavy repercussions” for refusing to work.
The actor left the church at age 42 and went on to write the tell-all memoir “Troublemaker” in 2015, followed by an A&E documentary series about the church that earned her the first Emmy of her career.
“L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, had a deep disdain for conventional education and since everything in Scientology is guided directly by his principles, with no room for interpretation, my education was interrupted,” Remini tweeted last year.
Her documentary series, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” notably included Marc Headley, a former event coordinator in the church who reportedly claimed women in the Sea Org department are forced to have abortions if they get pregnant.
Remini is one of several high-profile defectors from the controversial church, which was founded in the mid-20th century by Hubbard, a science fiction writer, and now claims top Hollywood celebrities such as Tom Cruise as members. Former members have described a cultlike atmosphere and a culture of abuse, manipulation and fear. The church and its current leader, David Miscavige, have faced multiple human trafficking suits over the years, but those have foundered on Scientology’s legal status as a religion and its vigorous use of contracts.
Many such allegations were chronicled in Alex Gibney’s documentary “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.”
Remini previously wrote about her educational journey when she was admitted to NYU in 2021.
“For someone like me, a person who desperately wanted a higher education and options in my life, coming from a cult and a family who didn’t value an education, this is a very big day for me,” she captioned an Instagram post showing her admissions letter. “This didn’t come easy.”
Remini added it “took a lot” for her to apply to a conventional school after years of being told she wasn’t “smart” or “worthy enough” for an education outside the church. While she added “a very special person” gave her the final push, Remini is doing the rest.
“There have been days where I’ve thought about giving up,” she wrote in her post last week. “While I’m still not finished, I’m so glad I decided to dive in. If you have the desire and capacity, please remember that it’s never too late to start again.”