Actress Leah Remini has expressed her sorrow over nemesis Kirstie Alley‘s shock death despite their years-long Scientology feud.
The King of Queens alum said she was saddened over the Cheers star’s passing earlier this week following a brief battle with cancer.
“The news of Kirstie Alley’s passing is very sad,” Remini, 52, told Rolling Stone magazine in a new interview.
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Remini – a former Scientologist – said her thoughts were with Alley’s two adult children, True and Lillie Stevenson, who, like their mother, are 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,” Remini said. “I hope they can, one day, free themselves of this dangerous and toxic organisation.”
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Remini and Alley have had a rocky relationship over the years as they butted heads over Scientology. The Second Act actress abruptly left the organization in 2013 after more than 30 years with the controversial sect and has since been outspoken about her experience within Church and its members, such as Alley.
In a previous interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Remini said she “lost friends” following departure, claiming Scientologists practice “disconnection” where members aren’t permitted to speak with those who have left.
Alley resented the comments and hit back in a 2013 interview with Howard Stern, in which she slammed Remini’s suggestions former members were ex-communicated.
“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,” Alley said at the time. “It is not true that you cannot [leave] … You’re not shunned, you’re not chased. All that stuff’s bulls–t.”
“The truth is, I don’t think I’ve seen Leah for seven or eight years, not for any reason other than I’m acting, and she’s acting,” she added. “I didn’t care if she was in or out.”
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Alley passed away on Monday shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer – a diagnosis she did not share publicly. Days after her death, her rep revealed Alley had colon cancer.
Alley’s children released this touching statement following her death:”To all our friends, far and wide around the world… We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” they said in the statement.
“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.”
“We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care. Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did.”
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