07/11/2013 at 09:00 PM EDT
Leah Remini has broken her silence after deciding to leave the Church of Scientology.
"I wish to share my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming positive response I have received from the media, my colleagues, and from fans around the world. I am truly grateful and thankful for all your support," she says in a statement to PEOPLE.
For years, the King of Queens
star, 43, was one of the best-known members of the Church of Scientology.
In 2007, Remini laughed off reports that she had tried to convert Jennifer Lopez
, one of her closest friends, to Scientology. "Two girls can't hang out together?" she told PEOPLE. "What does that have to do with religion?"