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Leah Remini earns college degree at age 53: "It's never too late to continue your education"

Actress Leah Remini sues Church of Scientology for harassment, emotional distress
Actress Leah Remini sues Church of Scientology for harassment, emotional distress 00:24

Former "King of Queens" actor Leah Remini has a message for those interested in pursuing a college degree later in life: "It's never too late to continue your education." 

Remini, 53, posted on social media on Thursday that she received an associate's degree from New York University —a feat she's been working on for the past three years. Remini said she embarked on this "terrifying journey" after only having an eighth grade education and spending 35 years in a "totalitarian cult," referring to the Church of Scientology. 

"I desperately wanted a higher education for many years but didn't move forward because I feared I was not smart enough," she said. "Even though I had managed to leave Scientology, three decades of brainwashing still gripped my mind."

FOX's So You Think You Can Dance - Season Seventeen
"So You Think You Can Dance" judge Leah Remini shared that she earned a college degree at the age of 53.  FOX via Getty Images

But thanks to the support of family and friends, she went ahead in her pursuit. The "So You Think You Can Dance?" judge told her fans that she's now aiming to get a bachelor's degree. 

"Whether a cult used to control your life, you have a full-time job as a stay-at-home parent, or full-time job(s) outside of the home, it's never too late to continue your education and pursue what you have always wanted to achieve for yourself!" she wrote.

Remini has been an outspoken critic of the Church of Scientology for years. She left the church in 2013 after being a member since childhood, and last year she sued the organization and its leader, David Miscavige, alleging she's been the victim of harassment, intimidation, surveillance and defamation. 

Earlier this month, a judge threw out parts of the lawsuit, Variety reported, saying some of the church's attacks on her are protected under the First Amendment. However, the judge also found the church can't claim protection under free speech for allegedly harassing and surveilling Remini or employees associated with her anti-Scientology podcast. 

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