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Leah Remini surprised by reaction to her Scientology split

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Updated: August 18, 2013 6:05AM



L eah Remini is said to be a bit flummoxed by all the attention she’s getting for leaving the Church of Scientology — where she long was one of the church’s biggest boosters and most public advocates, along with Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley.

“Leah really didn’t understand how this would become a news story,” said an associate whose friendship with the actress dates back to her long run on “King of Queens.”

“That was a bit naïve of her, to be sure.”

More recently, Remini has been part of “The Talk” chat show panel, as well as star of the short-lived sitcom “Family Tools.”

Especially irritating to both Remini and longtime friend Alley was the false report that a recent tweet by Alley was directed at Remini.

On Wednesday, Alley tweeted, “When faced w[ith] malicious gossip I take a moment to experience the loss of the person I thought was my friend … Then I say f--- em … #RISE.”

Since then I’ve learned the two actresses have chatted and there is no loss of friendship.

Alley blasted media outlets that passed along the friendship splitsville tale, tweeting, “I do NOT care what religion ANYONE is or isn’t. I respect religions & would fight for your freedom as well as mine.”

HUGE BREAK: No question about it, my best Lindsay Lohan source told me — “Lindsay absolutely realizes this is an amazing opportunity for her. … To have any connection to Oprah is totally fantastic.”

This is all about LiLo’s elation over inking a deal with Oprah Winfrey and her OWN network to do an exclusive one-on-one interview to air in August, then participate in an eight-part documentary-reality series for broadcast early next year.

Reportedly, Lohan is being paid $2 million for the deal.

Lohan supposedly has told pals this gig reminds of that iconic MasterCard TV commercial: “Being associated with Oprah — priceless!”

ROMANTIC RUMBLINGS: Even before the National Enquirer delved into Eva Longoria’s new beau Ernesto Arguello’s financial problems and bankruptcy filing, friends of the actress were worried he was taking advantage of the former “Desperate Housewives” star.

“Eva pays for everything. … I know she’s crazy about Ernesto, but I’m concerned this relationship is too one-sided for it to last,” said a longtime friend and “Desperate Housewives” associate of Longoria.

Arguello met Longoria when he was a contestant on her short-lived NBC reality series “Ready for Love.” He quickly moved in with the actress, and recently accompanied her on a trip to Paris.

† Two of the brainiest and nicest young stars are now dating. Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network,” “Now You See Me”) and Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderfand”) — both known for being true intellectuals and charmingly shy — apparently really clicked while filming “The Double.”

FASHION FLASH: Not only did Glenn Close give intense — and often chilling — performances as Patty Hewes during her five season run on “Damages,” she also always wore great-looking clothes. Now the actress is making a great fashion statement by auctioning off a lot of her series wardrobe for a good cause. Elle magazine reports Close will auction off 380 items (including couture pieces from Armani, Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and Prada) — all to benefit her Bring Change 2 Mind Charity, which Close launched in 2010 to bring more attention to mental illness after her sister was diagnosed with bipolar disease.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: All the best to super-chef Graham Elliot. The Chicago restaurateur and TV’s “MasterChef” judge has revealed that as his weight soared to nearly 400 pounds, he finally realized he had to do something drastic. The 36-year-old chef underwent a sleeve gastrectomy, an hourlong operation that removed approximately 80 percent of his stomach and created a sleeve-shaped stomach about the size of a banana.

“I will feel full quicker because my stomach is that much smaller,” Elliot told People.com. “I won’t need six cheeseburgers to feel full.”

The chef said he went under the knife mostly for his family, which includes three young sons. “What’s going to make me healthy is the most important thing right now, so I can enjoy my kids and be around long enough to see them grow up.”

† Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis had starstruck Gibsons’ diners heads turning Tuesday night at the Rush Street steakery, the night before an early screening of Kutcher’s “Jobs” film about the late Apple genius. Despite the heat, they dined outside to avoid the crowds.

SOME COMEBACK! I’m sure a number of audience members of Woody Allen’s upcoming “Blue Jasmine” film will do a double take. Yes, that is none other than Andrew Dice Clay sharing scenes with Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.

In the movie, Blanchett portrays an upper-class New Yorker whose Wall Street financier hubby (Alec Baldwin) turns out to be a big crook. She is forced to flee her former, cushy lifestyle and move in with her much poorer sister in San Francisco. Clay plays a working-class kind of guy — the handyman ex-husband of Blanchett’s sis.

Not only will audiences be shocked by the veteran bad boy being in an Allen flick, so was Clay, who reportedly thought it was an April Fool’s joke when he got the call from the director asking if he’d be interested in the role.



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