Leah Remini on Scientology: 'No One Is Going to Tell Me How I Need to Think'
updated 07/29/2013 AT 10:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/29/2013 AT 07:45 AM EDT
"We stand united, my family and I, and I think that says a lot about who we are, and what we're about," the former King of Queens star, 43, told PEOPLE on Saturday at the 15th annual DesignCare event in Malibu.
Remini, who tangled with the church, added, "I believe that people should be able to question things. I believe that people should value family, and value friendships, and hold those things sacrosanct. That for me, that's what I'm about. It wouldn't matter what it was, simply because no one is going to tell me how I need to think, no one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot, talk to."
The actress – who was defended by the niece of David Miscavige, the most powerful man in Scientology – explained, "It doesn't matter, it could be anything. I thought about the family being broken up for some other cause, and I'm not about to shut up."
After being a very visible member of the religion for more than three decades, following her departure, Remini thanked fans for their support.
"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 said in a statement earlier this month.