Despite their years of feuding over Church of Scientology, Leah Remini says Kirstie Alley's sudden death is "very sad." The King of Queens star, who left Scientology in 2013 and has since sought to expose its inner workings, opened up to Rolling Stone after the Cheers star died Monday after a short and private battle with colon cancer.
"The news of Kirstie Alley's passing is very sad," Remini told the magazine. While Alley's cancer was only recently discovered, Remini pointed out that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was very critical of western medicine. "While it has been reported that Kirstie sought conventional cancer treatment, which gave her a fighting chance, the majority of Scientologists do not seek treatment until it's too late," the actress continued. "Scientologists are convinced they can cure themselves of diseases like cancer. It's one of the more sinister things they promise. And because Scientology claims to be an exact science, not a faith, its members are brainwashed into believing these false claims as guarantees."
Remini noted that she's also sending her prayers to Alley's two children – True Stevenson, 30, and Lillie Stevenson, 28 – who are both members of the Church of Scientology. "Although Scientologists don't believe in prayers, my prayers do go out to her two children, who are now without their mom," she said. "I hope they can, one day, free themselves of this dangerous and toxic organization."
Alley had been a member of the Church of Scientology since 1979 and publicly credited Scientology for helping her end a problematic cocaine habit. Remini, who left the Church of Scientology in 2013, often was at odds with Alley publicly, and in 2013, the Drop Dead Gorgeous actress called the Scientology and the Aftermath star a "bigot."
"First of all, I just want everyone to know: I have hundreds of friends and people that I know that have come into Scientology and left Scientology... You're not shunned; you're not chased. All that's just bulls-," Alley said on The Howard Stern Show at the time. "When you are generalizing and when your goal is to malign and to say things about an entire group... when you decide to blanket statement 'Scientology is evil,' you are my enemy."
She continued, "I have blocked her on Twitter, because she's a bigot... It's not selective. I just won't have people in my life that are that... If somebody's sitting there badmouthing your religion and saying that it's hideous and evil, that's not going to be your friend."