Actress Leah Remini jokingly forgave her mother for introducing her to the “cult” of Scientology as she celebrated a big win at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday.

The former King of Queens star took home her first Emmy for her documentary series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, in which she shared her tough experiences with the controversial religion and interviewed fellow former church members, whose lives had been turned upside down by the group’s strict traditions and practices.

As she accepted the prize for Outstanding Informational Series or Special at the Los Angeles ceremony, Remini gave her mother, who was sitting in the audience, a cheeky shout-out.

“Mom, thank you. You are officially forgiven for getting us into a cult,” she quipped.

She then grew emotional as she dedicated the honour to “our brave contributors who, despite ongoing risk and repercussion, spoke out and told their stories.”

Remini was a devout Scientologist for 30 years before she famously quit the religion in 2013, and she recently admitted therapy has helped her deal with the lasting affects of her past life.

“You rebuild slowly. It doesn’t happen overnight,” she told People magazine last month of adjusting to life post-Scientology. “It’s a learning process; it’s changing the way you think.”

Remini has since become one of the most vocal critics of the faith, which boasts Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Elisabeth Moss among its members.