Leah Remini is known for playing characters who are vain, self-absorbed and use an acerbic sense of humor to belittle others.
What is she like in real life? Pretty much the same, according to those who knew her.
In the following video interviews, Remini’s former friends and associates tell the story of a vain, self-absorbed diva who treats others with arrogance and disdain. Here is that Leah Remini as told by those who experienced her treatment firsthand.
After being cast in an episode of the TV series The King of Queens that starred Remini, actress Shannon Burwell arrived for the first day of rehearsal expecting a pleasant and professional atmosphere on the set of the comedy show. Instead, she discovered Remini had created such a major blowup with the director, the set had to be shut down for at least an hour until Remini came back to work. Shannon says Remini remained “mean” the whole week. And to cap it off, on the day of the show Remini made a crude remark to a makeup artist that Burwell describes as “mortifying.”
Michael Duff described how in social settings Remini would bully others and make them feel less. She would hold Karaoke parties and belittle those who were not professional singers as inadequate. “That was the unfortunate thing that I saw. She would try and make herself propped up by putting other people down. And that’s just unpleasant to be around…’It’s really funny because I’m a comedian.’ Yeah, but it’s not funny, really. You know, especially with your friends. ‘But oh, they can’t take it.’ Take what? What should they actually have to take?”
Jim Kilmartin has known Leah Remini since she was a teenager. She was a close friend of his daughter. Later, his son married Remini’s sister. The families spent holidays together, but Remini treated Kilmartin like dirt. He described that when he was on a special diet and could not eat the food Leah served, Remini acted insulted and shunned him. He described her as callous toward him. Said Kilmartin: “Leah never made me feel that I was part of the family. When my wife was sick for quite a long time, in the hospital numerous times, I don’t recall Leah ever coming to visit or calling … I don’t remember her being at the memorial service when she passed away.”
Joanne was friends with Remini’s mother, Vicki. She was shocked at how Leah treated her own daughter in front of others.
“One time I was at the house and I was like in absolute shock. I was outside playing with Sophia. She was on the trampoline and Leah was yelling at her. I just couldn't believe how she was treating her daughter… I was just very embarrassed that she would do that with her daughter and I felt horrible for the kid.”
Todd Woodruff is a former Church staff member who ministered to Remini for six years. He and his wife decided to leave the staff to start a family, while remaining Church parishioners. His wife experienced four miscarriages. In the midst of this family crisis, Leah Remini hired a private investigator to track him down, insensitively harassing them during a time when they needed privacy to cope with their loss.
Cristin, Todd’s wife, explained: “It’s just really hurtful that after all that he did for her that this would be what we get in return. I just hope that my son can grow up to understand that actions like this are wrong and I only hope that we can teach him to love people and care about people and never turn on the people that you love and that you care about.”
That’s Leah Remini in real life as described by those who knew her and witnessed her behavior firsthand:
It’s the story of a vain, self-absorbed diva with a sense of entitlement to walk over others.