Paul Haggis has praised Leah Remini for leaving Scientology.

The 'Crash' director quit the controversial religion in 2009 and while Leah remained with it until recently, Paul says she was one of the few people from the church who reached out to him after he left.

In an open letter for The Hollywood Reporter, he wrote: ''Leah and I were always friendly but never close friends. Despite this, she called me as soon as she heard about my letter of resignation. Unlike the rest of my former friends, she expressed real sadness that I was leaving and concern for me and my family.

''She had shouting matches with Tommy Davis, then the church spokesman, who had come to try and keep her quiet. The fact that she fought within the system so resolutely for so long, never making her feelings public, is a testament to how much she believed in the basic goodness of her friends and the institution.

''I can't express how much I admire Leah. Her parents, family and close friends were almost all Scientologists; the stakes for her were so much higher than for me. Her decision to leave was so much braver.''

The 'King of Queens' star and her family quit Scientology earlier this month after being subjected to years of abuse for questioning the actions of Church leader, David Miscavige, and Paul says she has been hurt by how she was treated.

He added: ''She had been terribly hurt and shaken by the events of the last weeks. Leah is an incredibly strong woman and will get through this with the help of her family and her true friends. She is kind and generous and loyal; she has always cared more about others than herself. She barely knew me, and yet she fought for me and my family, a battle she had to know in her gut she was never going to win. That takes an enormous amount of integrity and compassion...I will forever be grateful to her.''