The Real Story
Leah Remini was introduced to Scientology in her youth, joined the Church’s religious order in her teens and was dismissed a year later for unethical conduct—including violation of sexual rules, petty theft from three Church restaurants, abusive behavior toward schoolmates and chronic truancy.
Remini and her family continued as parishioners of the Church. She pressured her mother into letting her drop out of junior high school at 14, contrary to Remini’s attempts today to blame the Church for her lack of formal education. “I just said, ‘Screw this. If I want an education, I’m going to learn from my mother,’” she would later tell media. “I was gonna be a star.”
Remini’s career began to take off and she often credited her success to the help she received from the Church. As she told interviewers: “I wouldn’t be successful if it wasn’t for Scientology….It means everything to me.”
But as she admitted, a “horrible” person was always bubbling just below the surface. “People who know me go, ‘Oh,’ you know, ‘you’re horrible.’ But I would be even more horrible if it wasn’t for Scientology. It’s like I would have been a monster.”
Remini was immoral, stole a married man and wrecked relationships
Remini supplied plenty of her own examples of that “horrible” person. Among them, she wrote of getting “no respect” from cast and crew on set “by me going around grabbing girls’ tits and sexually joking around.” She wrote of jealousies, trash-talking fellow actors, and efforts to thwart her own sister’s aspirations to become an actor, admitting it was “really quite evil.”
Remini infamously stole her future husband, Angelo Pagan, from his then wife, Raquel, and their young son. Years later she revealed she “manipulated” Angelo into leaving Raquel by giving him an ultimatum: “‘If you’re not at my house today with your bags packed, you can go f—k yourself.’ I knew this would push him to do it. He did it.”
When Angelo’s wife objected to Remini wrecking her family, Remini unleashed a private investigator on the woman in an effort to dig up dirt and remove her from Remini’s life: “[I] hired a private investigator to investigate Raquel indefinitely until he finds something on her.”
Remini’s immoral and selfish conduct affected her own family relations. She refused to loan her own father $1,500 for a cancer biopsy his doctor ordered, and he was later confirmed to have cancer. The two had a falling out that would never fully mend before he passed away in 2019.
Remini got into continual disputes with her industry representatives. In a few years she went through at least three publicists and three managers—one of whom sued her, and another whom Remini admitted she was “cruel” to.
Remini continually turned to the Church for help, and we were always there for her. The bottom line? She did better when she was around us and was able to find temporary calm in her sea of self-generated turbulence.
Remini volunteered statement after statement: Scientology gave her confidence, made her happier, helped her family, gave her real answers; it helped her to avoid the pitfalls of Hollywood, keep her marriage together and avoid drugs; and it was “a beautiful thing” to help the Church help others.
Remini was obsessed with “celebrity” to the point she alienated others
No one paid Leah Remini for her statements acclaiming her Church, but her success came with a price. Friends, family members and associates would refer to it in such terms as “self-importance” and an “oversized ego.” Remini later admitted she was “very narcissistic. I mean…you have this huge alternate ego, right, that you’re all powerful and better than the rest of the world.” It was bad then, and it only got worse.
Celebrity-driven, Remini sought to gain status in the Church by repeatedly communicating to its leadership about her friend Jennifer Lopez and her efforts to get J.Lo into Scientology. She was told if her friend wants help from the Church, it’s there for her, not as a trophy for Leah Remini. But Remini continued to text and call about J.Lo so obsessively, she was politely but firmly told to stop.
Remini disgraced herself at an A-list wedding through abusive and disruptive conduct. Guests spoke of how Remini threatened to punch one “in the f—king face,” greeted another with “f—k you,” used vulgar language for humor, made an embarrassing scene over her seating at the reception, arrived an hour late to the wedding, and other behavior that led one CAA executive to tell her she was one of the “most classless people” he had ever met. Remini herself, in retrospect, called it her “period of brattiness and bullshit.”
The Church tried to help Remini take responsibility for her behavior. She was urged to live an ethical life with decency and respect for others. She found it nearly impossible. As she said at the time: “It’s not easy to be a Scientologist because the ethic level of this group is very, very high. You can’t fall down on, you know, ‘I just want to be a selfish ass and just do what I want to do.’…A lot is expected of you.”
Instead of meeting those expectations, Remini believed that because she was once a sitcom actress, she was entitled to special treatment and none of the “rules” applied to her. But the ethics of the religion are high and she was consistently told as much.
Remini hurt her own career through her toxic conduct
Remini’s toxic conduct was grinding her career to a halt. She was fired from the CBS show, The Talk, in 2011. Hollywood insiders spoke out on her “vicious behind-the-scenes battles” and called her out as “a total terror” and “disruptive force.”
Her next endeavor, ABC’s short-lived Family Tools, resulted in a lawsuit from her management team in 2012 claiming she banked her money from the show and fired them before paying commissions owed. The suit began: “Remini’s behavior will not be tolerated.”
Remini’s acting career was disintegrating. Her fame fleeting, she was struggling to support the 8–10 people she kept on her payroll, while also picking up the tab for her husband.
Remini abused her assistants, who feared her retribution
According to accounts, Leah Remini went through personal assistants as often as a new one every two weeks. She fired one for buying the wrong color tissue. She drove another out of her house in a violent outburst so terrifying the assistant dared not return. Assistants who had feared retribution by Remini later came forward to detail her abuses. Beyond being called “f—king idiot,” “stupid f—king c—t,” “asshole,” “douche bag” and more, those abuses included fat-shaming, ridiculing physical ailments, and squeezing breasts and buttocks. When Remini was mad, one stated, she would threaten a “punch in the vagina.”
Remini apologized to one assistant after firing her in a tempest in December 2012: “I’m sure you think of me and think ‘f—king c—t ass’.”
Friends and relatives also got the brunt of Remini’s abusive conduct. Her stepfather, George Marshall, said it in late 2012: “The way it is going she won’t have any friends or family….She is almost to the point where she can’t work with others (studio business-wise). She has been a hardship on all of us (family-wise).”
Remini bitterly complained about everything from her enduring grudge over her seating at the wedding reception, to complaints about her stepfather, husband, sister, former business partner, other parishioners, and Church ethical requirements. But her inflated ego was to have one final and preposterous performance.
Remini was turned down as an “advisor” to the Church’s leader and became vindictive
Coveting status and power in the Church, Remini sought a self-styled position of “advisor” to the Church’s leader, seeing herself as someone who would advise on “how it really is.” We rejected the ludicrous notion.
Remini then showed her true lack of honesty. While professing to want help with ethics and getting her life and relationships back on track, secretly she was consulting with hostile former Scientologists—chiefly Mike Rinder, whom the Church had expelled for criminal conduct.
Remini continued to come into the Church, ostensibly meeting with staff but then reporting back to Rinder. When the Church discovered her duplicity, Remini knew she was on the brink of being expelled herself. We once again offered her the opportunity to get honest and straight. Instead, she continued to malign the very Church which had served her for most of her life.
We explained that she was not welcome in the Church if she was going to continue her unethical behavior. The Church ceased contact with her. No more emails or texts reaching out to her, and no attempts to meet with her.
Remini staged her “exit” from the Church for attention and profit
Leah Remini could have just walked away from the Church. She was well aware that the door would always be open a crack, should she wish to return. But her career was moribund and she was reportedly going broke. So, with Mike Rinder and a third partner, blogger Tony Ortega, Remini devised a plan to make a tumultuous, public exit from the Church. The intent was to then parlay Remini’s new status as a former Scientologist into publicity and profit.
Mike Rinder confided the plan to the threesome’s adviser, Mark “Marty” Rathbun—the expelled former Scientologist who at the time led the hostile, anti-Scientology faction. In 2017, Rathbun posted a video on YouTube in which he revealed Remini’s plan and how it played out.
“[It] was completely and utterly an act. It was a classic troll job,” Rathbun said. “It was all going to be a rollout to increase her profile.…She’d be this innocent princess who was converted into a warrior because she was hunted down and persecuted by Scientology. Okay, that was the story.”
But it didn’t go as planned. The Church never took Remini’s troll bait. The totality of our response to her exit? “The Church respects the privacy of parishioners and has no further comment.”
Remini filed a false report with police for publicity, then attempted to extort the Church
To garner further attention, an unhinged Remini escalated her performance by exploiting the high-profile leader of the Church in a calculated act of harassment. Knowing the man was 2,500 miles away from his wife, overseeing the training of ministers from around the world at our spiritual headquarters in Florida, Remini filed a fraudulent “missing person report” on the leader’s wife with the Los Angeles Police Department. It took just hours for the police to determine the report was bogus and publicly declare Remini’s abusive and publicity-seeking stunt as “unfounded.”
Regardless, Remini has continued with her perverse obsession, repeating her willfully false and malicious claim to provoke hate and harassment. She has known all along the report was a “scam,” as Mark Rathbun also exposed.
When we informed the media of Remini’s false report and lack of scruples, Remini, through her attorney, sent the Church back-to-back extortionate demands—first for $500,000 with threat of suit, followed by a demand for another $1 million. We soundly rejected her demands.
The friends Remini had while she was in the Church wanted nothing to do with her attacks on their religion. That Remini betrayed and estranged her own friends only fueled her bitterness and anger. Remini ramped up her vitriolic speech and false allegations about the Church and “abuses,” particularly of families. We continued to point out who was talking; her fraud was beyond disgraceful.
Remini abused her non-Scientologist family and they spoke out
Months after Leah Remini exited the Church, she made tabloid infamy for turning her back on her dying half-sister, Stephani, and Stephani’s pleas for financial help. Stephani passed away from cancer in December of 2013; Leah did not attend her sibling’s memorial service. Stephani’s mother, who was Leah Remini’s stepmother for 28 years, pulled no punches in her sentiments toward Remini in an email 10 days later.
Remini published statements trashing and humiliating her father, George Remini, calling him a “pimp” and more. In reply, he posted a series of videos on YouTube to speak out on his daughter and her lies and ill-treatment of him, his mother and other family members.
After Remini started her Aftermath show, family members reached out with unsolicited communication to the Church to express their dismay. One first cousin emailed: “Funny how Leah lies about your church, when she herself is lying about family and her beliefs on national TV.” He told of how Leah had their grandmother’s apartment ransacked when the elderly Remini lay dying. That cousin swore he would never speak to Remini again.
Remini’s former stepmother, the late Donna Fiore, contacted the Church after seeing Remini on TV, to unleash years of pent-up resentment. Fiore said that speaking out about Remini had been “a long time coming, because she’s gotten away with a lot. And she’s the first one to point her finger at somebody.” Fiore detailed how Remini had made her life “an absolute nightmare.”
“Leah, she was quite the diva.”
Remini’s hypocrisy: Her stepfather still practices Scientology
Then there’s Remini’s hypocrisy about the family members she pulled out of the Church with her, and who she has claimed stand by her: Her stepfather still practices Scientology. “It [Scientology] works every time. It works on almost anyone,” he posted online. “I started doing it and then I continued; I still do it, learning the technology….I’ve always been fascinated by it.”
Remini is on a path of vengeance and has proven nothing will hold her back
The simple truth is, Leah Remini has been on a vengeance game because she couldn’t have her special status and power in the Church.
She has proven nothing will hold her back.
She went so far for her Aftermath show as to induce discreditable individuals to file false reports about the Church with the police as a requirement to appear on the show. The reports from these so-called “victims” were meant to give credence to lies about the Church and to protect Remini, her partner and the network from defamation claims.
Police, of course, thoroughly investigated the reports. Months and even years after Remini propagated the lies, the police closed the cases due to no evidence whatsoever. In one case, the “victim” had even been found guilty years earlier of lying to the police.
Remini admitted to The Hollywood Reporter she did no vetting of those she called “my people” on her show. “What do you want to do? ‘Prove it to me?!’” she snapped. “So there is no vetting.”
These are far from the only false reports that Remini has manufactured about the Church and Scientologists. Shamelessly bigoted, dishonest and vengeful, her hate speech and campaign have incited unstable individuals to commit felonies and hate crimes against Scientologists—including a murder—and more than 600 threats and other acts of hate and violence, from bomb threats and specific threats to assassinate the leader of the religion, to acts of criminal assault, vandalism and arson.
Remini’s livelihood, and that of profit-seekers who enable her, derives from her fraudulent “fight” against her former religion. It’s all her own contrivance. Remini has continued to lie and slander her prior friends and associates and those who tried to help her. And she admits she has done so at an immense personal loss.
“A lot of people who are in Scientology, are in Scientology because they had something in their heart that wanted to help people and wanted to leave this planet a little bit better than before,” Remini said to an interviewer in 2018. “And that is at the heart of everyone who gets into this [Scientology]….
“I miss it, I miss the group that I once had. It’s okay to say that.”
It’s a sad and lonely postscript to a life that fell on dark times. Leah Remini once said that without Scientology, “I would be a horrible, horrible person.”
She is, without doubt, without Scientology—and there is no doubt as to what she has become.