U.S. actress Leah Remini has offered clues about why she left the Church of Scientology, telling People magazine no one is going to tell her how to think or who she can talk to.
Up until now the actress known for her role in the CBS comedy "King of Queens" gave little explanation for her split after three decades with the church that lists actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise among its members.
In a statement this month after the New York Post newspaper broke the story, Remini, 43, thanked fans and colleagues for their support but did not mention the Church of Scientology.
She told People magazine at an event in California on Saturday how important family is and being able to speak openly.
"I believe that people should value family, and value friendships, and hold those things sacrosanct. That for me, that's what I'm about," the magazine said on its website.
"It wouldn't matter what it was, simply because no one is going to tell me how I need to think, no one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot, talk to."
In its story earlier this month the New York Post said the actress left the church, founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, after "being subjected to years of 'interrogations' and 'thought modification' for questioning leader David Miscavige's rule."
Miscavige succeeded Hubbard as leader of the church in 1987.
Representatives for neither Remini nor the Church of Scientology immediately responded to requests for comment.
Followers of Scientology believe humans are immortal beings whose experience extends beyond one lifetime. Critics of the church describe it as a cult that harasses people who try and quit, a criticism the movement rejects.
Remini told People that she is not alone and that she is still close to her family.
"We stand united, my family and I, and I think that says a lot about who we are, and what we're about," she added.
© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.