Leah Remini is looking back at the struggles she faced as a teenager growing up in the Church of Scientology.
The “King of Queens” star took to Instagram to share a black and white photo taken when she was at the beginning of her acting career.
“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,” she began. “By this point, I had been living the life of an adult for years even though I was just a kid.”
Remini continued, “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.”
The 51-year-old then detailed how her “education was interrupted” due to a “deep disdain for conventional education” in Scientology.
“For the last 38 years of my life, I have been living and working with an 8th grade education,” she wrote.
Remini also recalled how she used her acting career as a “salvation” that would help get her and her family “out of poverty”.
After recently returning to education, Remini added, “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.”