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November 02, 2015 10:45 AM

Leah Remini says being free from Scientology has helped her to understand Katie Holmes.

“I know now [Holmes] did what she did, leaving [Scientology] the way that she did, because she had to protect her daughter, which, in a way, connects us now,” Remini said during a Monday appearance on Good Morning America.

Holmes divorced Tom Cruise, one of the most famous faces in Scientology, in 2012 after six years of marriage.

The former King of Queens star spoke about how leaving the Church has opened her eyes to the struggles of other former members of Scientology, especially Holmes.

Leah Remini

“Now I know really what she was going through,” the 45-year-old said. “At the time I was thinking of myself and my family and what we were going through and, although painful, I had no idea she was going through probably a lot more.”

Remini added that she did not want her own daughter to “choose the Church,” “which so many families do in these kind of extremist religions.”

The actress publicly split with Scientology in 2013 and is now releasing a tell-all book about her time in the Church titled Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.

In a previous statement, Church International Spokesperson Karin Pouw, told PEOPLE that Remini’s book and recent claims are just a cry for attention.

“It comes as no surprise that someone as self-absorbed as Leah Remini with an insatiable craving for attention would exploit her former faith as a publicity stunt by rewriting her history with it,” Pouw said.

“Including omitting that she was participating in a program to remain a Scientologist by her own choice, as she was on the verge of being expelled for her ethical lapses.”

In regard to the expulsion claims, Remini said on GMA: “I didn’t get the memo that I was expelled. But I mean, if that’s what makes them feel good.”

Holmes previously weighed in on the situation, saying in a statement provided to PEOPLE by her publicist: “I regret having upset Leah in the past, and wish her only the best in the future.”

The statement was read on-air during Remini’s GMA appearance, and the star said she was “touched” by Holmes’s words.

“Seeing her and Suri out there in the world and her being able to be with her daughter and live her life is, you know, I’m touched by it,” Remini said as she began to tear up.

“It’s really because we both left that we’re able to have this kind of grace towards each other,” Remini said. “Because we’re back to being human.”

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