If the Church of Scientology had had its way, it would have found a new member in “King of Queens” star Kevin James — at least, according to his on-screen wife Leah Remini.
Remini — who was a Scientologist for more than 30 years before leaving in 2013 — revealed that the church continually asked her to convert James, and she refused.
“They always tried to get me to, (asking), ‘Why is he not in? Why have you not promoted it to him?'” she told People. “I was like, ‘Because he’s Catholic. He doesn’t want anything to do with it.”
She says they eventually relented, but that the process of recruitment is a typical one for the religion.
“They let it go after a while, but usually you’d be expected to recruit, especially with somebody you work with for nine years,” she said. “If they’re going to come for me, they’re going to come. I’m not afraid of it. I think it’s disgusting, and the more they do it, the more they expose who they really are … I would like to be the face of resistance to abuse.”
The Church of Scientology denied Remini’s recruiting claims to the outlet, and dismissed her attacks on the church as a way for her to draw attention to herself and exploit the situation for money.
“It is Remini who is the attacker,” a spokesperson told People. “Her whole anti-Scientology shtick was scripted and choreographed by her, casting herself in her drama as the ‘victim’ so she could cash in on her false narrative while savaging her friends and those who helped her most of her life.”
Remini and James played husband and wife on the popular CBS sitcom “King of Queens” from 1998-2007.
Since Remini parted ways with the church, she’s been an outspoken critic, even starring in an exposé docu-series for A&E called “Scientology and the Aftermath.”
The series profiles people like Remini who have left the religion, and faced the wrath of the church and their families because of it.
The show was recently picked up for a second season, which Remini says will focus on “all of the abusive practices of Scientology — sexual abuse and physical abuse.”
Of the show, a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter: “Leah Remini is just an actress whose current role is starring in a scam of a show whose singular goal is to incite religious hate and violence for ratings, money and Emmy nominations.”
The actress, 47, also penned a tell-all book in 2015, which included anecdotes about Scientology’s most famous son, Tom Cruise.
Remini will reunite with James on-screen again when she kicks off her full-time role on “Kevin Can Wait” in September.