Actress Leah Remini marked a major life milestone on Saturday — the end of her first semester at New York University. The King of Queens star made a celebratory post on Twitter noting that she had spent "most of my life in a cult and only" achieved "an 8th grade education" before taking on this challenge. She urged others to pursue their dreams no matter their age.
Remini was referring to the Church of Scientology when she described her upbringing in a cult, as many fans likely guessed. The actress was raised in the Church of Scientology from the age of 8 and was taken out of school to join its "Sea Organization" at the age of 13. Remini left Scientology in 2013 and wrote a memoir about her time in the church followed by a docu-series called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Her ongoing departure from the church now includes a belated college education.
Going to college for the first time at 51 after living most of my life in a cult and only having an 8th grade education hasn't been easy.— Leah Remini (@LeahRemini) May 7, 2022
But I took my first NYU final exams this week and I'm glad I decided to educate myself.
It's never too late. It's tough, but it's worth it.
"Going to college for the first time at 51 after living most of my life in a cult and only having an 8th grade education hasn't been easy," Remini tweeted. "But I took my first NYU final exams this week and I'm glad I decided to educate myself. It's never too late. It's tough, but it's worth it."
Remini has previously revealed that she is in NYU's Liberal Arts program and is pursuing an associate's degree for now. She shared her acceptance letter on Instagram when it came last spring. In the post, she left no doubt that this decision was about her process of leaving Scientology behind.
"I am so excited, in tears and wanted to share this with you guys," Remini wrote at the time. "For someone like me, a person who desperately wanted a higher education and options in my life, coming from a cult and a family who didn't value an education, this is a very big day for me. This didn't come easy."
"This is one of the last chunks of my life that I am taking back for myself from Scientology. It took a lot for me to take this step, for fear that I was not smart enough, not worthy enough, not able to do the work that will be required, my age ... I did it anyway with a lot of encouragement from a very special person in my life," she continued.
Remini spoke to PEOPLE about the college experience in the middle of the semester, admitting that it is difficult to juggle along with work and family. She said: "With my degree, I might eventually want to go into politics, but who knows? I would like to be of some kind of public service."