Leah Remini got candid about her life since leaving Scientology nearly nine years ago.
The actress, 51, believes that if she and husband Angelo Pagan, 63, hadn’t walked away from the religion in 2013, their daughter Sofia, 17, “wouldn’t be the strong-minded kid she is now, who, hopefully, is going to make some positive change in the world.”
“I’m always saying to her and her friends, ‘I hope you are going to take all this genius and get your a**es into Congress,'” Remini told People for this week’s issue, on stands Friday. “That’s how you’re going to change things.”
Although Sofia is not yet of age to qualify for Congress (at least 30 for senators and 25 for members of the House of Representatives), she is getting ready for college in the fall.
“People are always like, ‘Oh my God, you should be so proud,'” Remini said of her daughter. “Yes, Angelo and I are very proud, but it’s like I’m having a job of 17 years that I’ve loved and cherished ripped away from me overnight. I’m devastated.”
The famous mom noted that she’s “trying to treasure every moment” with Sofia before she sets off.
“Even though she doesn’t need me, I’m in this perpetual mode of trying to impress her with my domestic skills,” Remini revealed. “I’m constantly cleaning, cooking, organizing or running to Party City to help her host parties for her friends.
“I’ve always provided for my family members, and I’ve always been the boss, so now it feels like it’s coming to a different chapter of my life where it’s not going to be about getting Sofia to and from school anymore,” she continued. “I have to now find ways to get out of the house. It’s scary, because I don’t know what the next thing is for me.”
Remini added that watching her daughter thrive has been worth every struggle she has faced since leaving Scientology after 30 years.
“My friend Sherry, who also left the church and has a son in college now, recently texted me, ‘Aren’t we so jealous of our kids?'” she recalled. “We wish we had what we’ve given them.”