Stepmother Recounts Ordeal of Daughter’s Death and Leah Causing “Chaos”

Leah Remini’s stepmother, Donna Fiore, recalls that when her daughter Stephani died, Leah meddled in Donna’s life and turned it into “a tornado of chaos” so Donna wasn’t “able to grieve.”


That email was written precisely 10 days after Stephani [Leah’s half-sister] died. I was a mess. I was very, very distraught. I was in the hospital and Leah and Elizabeth [Leah’s half-sister] were running the whole show when it came to what we were going to do and this and that and who’s going to be allowed and who isn’t, and it was turning into—it was turning into an emotional brawl. That’s what it was turning out to be.

So, it doesn’t take—Elizabeth riled herself up. And then it became compounded because Leah didn’t know what was really going on, like on my end, alright. And she was hearing, “Oh, Mommy did this and she said that and these people blah, blah, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.”

So, Leah was like, “Well, you can’t let her do that!” And, “You know, you should tell your mother, dat-dat-dat-dat…” And I was like, “Would you mind your f—king business, please? Okay? You don’t know what’s going on here. You missed the whole thing. So…” ’Cause there were just so many things going on. It was heartbreaking. I mean, just terrible.

We drove 12 hours to New York and then we went to the hospital. We dropped the dogs off and went to the hospital, alright. And you know, this was Stephani’s last night. The room was standing room only. Everybody was crying and praying, alright. And this one [Elizabeth] comes walking in like, “Hi-aah,” with this guy that I have no idea who he was, a real sleazebag, alright. And they were both high off their ass. And she said, “Ah, do you want something to eat?” And I said, “No.” And they left and never came back.

So, I mean, I didn’t care because I wanted to spend time with Stephani. So I got into her bed and it was really—too heartbreaking. And I woke up and…she was no longer there. Stephani was dead, alright.

We go back to Stephani’s house and this guy is still with her [Elizabeth]. I’m like, “Who are you?” I said, “Get out of here. You do not belong here.” And after three hours we finally got rid of this guy and then her and I started fighting. And I didn’t really want to fight with her, but she was just in a manic stage. She was carrying on so badly the five dogs were hiding—they were little dogs—they were all hiding behind me. And shaking! All five of them. I said, “Elizabeth, at least for the dogs, shut up.”

But meanwhile, she was on the phone with Leah. Alright, and Leah was like, “Well, you know, she’s your mother, but you’re her daughter, you should be able to work it.” You can’t work something out with a psycho. You really can’t.

So that’s another reason I was pissed off because, “Leah, you’re telling Elizabeth how to deal with me and you don’t even know what’s going on.” You know, and it was never a time—you couldn’t—her and I are very—you could say that we’re very upfront and…​“Why didn’t you ask me what was going on? Why didn’t you, you know, why—why?”

So then we [Donna and Elizabeth] went at it and I called the police. Elizabeth was like, “I can’t believe it.” I said, “What did you want me to do?” So, she said, “I’m leaving. I’m leaving. I don’t care how you get home—I’m leaving.” I said, “Go right ahead.” Alright. Now my bank account was emptied out. My credit cards were hit, okay. She cleaned out Stephani’s bank account. She took anything of value. And I had $30. And Stephani’s friend took me to Staten Island and my cousin rescued me. I call her St. Valerie. She did, she really, really, really, really did. She was like—I had no clothes. The only clothes I had were what was in the suitcase at the funeral. It was like—she just really jumped into action, my cousin. But I went to the hospital because I had bronchitis. And it was just a really bad time. So that’s why I wrote that email.

I was like, “F--k you! F--k you. All of you die. I hate you.” Because I was like—it was like a tornado of chaos at a time where I should be able to cry. I was not able to cry. I was not able to grieve. I wasn’t able to do anything until a year after I got back. It hit me then, because I was like, “Oh, I can’t cry, I can’t. I have to worry about how I’m going to get home, how am I going [to] live, what am I going to do,” you know.

So, yeah, that’s why I wrote that email. So now you know.

She [Leah] eventually told somebody, “Yeah, that was a very wrong thing for me to do.” But, you know, it was just…just endless shit and I’m done with it.