‘The King of Queens’: Why Leah Remini ‘Never Recovered’ From the Show Ending

Kevin James and Leah Remini starred on The King of Queens as married couple Doug and Carrie Heffernan for nine seasons. The hit sitcom launched the two actors into stardom and proved to be an enjoyable gig for the many years they were on the air. Though the CBS comedy came to an end in 2007, Remini still holds a special place in her heart for the show.

Leah Remini attends the Critics' Choice Real TV Awards
Leah Remini | JC Olivera/WireImage

‘The King of Queens’ was ‘home’ for Leah Remini

Premiering in 1998, The King of Queens aired its last episode in May 2007. In her 2015 memoir, Remini recalled the emotional conclusion of the sitcom that made her a star.

“Leaving that show was so difficult,” she wrote in Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. “It really was like ending a marriage in that a lot of history happened in the nine years we worked on it. When I looked at everything around me, the many people I knew, the many things I had achieved, they reminded me of The King of Queens.”

Remini listed the milestones she and James achieved during their time on the series, and credited the sitcom with giving her a sense of belonging.

“That was my home, a place where I felt I had finally been accepted somewhat in a business I never felt part of,” she explained. “My house is The King of Queens. My wedding and baby — King of Queens. Kevin’s marriage and first two babies — King of Queens.”

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Leah Remini got emotional on series finale of ‘The King of Queens’

While other sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld were in the limelight when coming to an end, The King of Queens didn’t garner as much publicity when its series finale aired. Still, Remini felt the magnitude of such a major chapter in her life reaching a conclusion.

“Although our finale didn’t come with the typical fanfare or press coverage, the end of The King of Queens was no less dramatic,” she shared. “When Kevin and I looked up at that old piece of wood above the doorway to the set that I promised on our first show we wouldn’t see forever (but that we had looked at far longer than either of us ever imagined) we both started crying. We didn’t need to speak; each of us knew exactly what the other was thinking: That’s history. Our history.

Remini still feels a void since The King of Queens went off the air, saying, “I have never recovered. I miss him, our writers, the cast, and the crew every day.”

‘The King of Queens’ wasn’t canceled

The CBS comedy had a solid following when it took its final curtain call, but James wanted to end the series on a high note rather than risk cancellation.

“It was also hard to say goodbye to a show that didn’t get canceled but just ended,” Remini wrote. “Yes, there were reasons, first and foremost of which was Kevin’s movie career, which took off after he did Hitch. Kevin didn’t want to tarnish the series with its being canceled or going out with low ratings. The show was special to him and he wanted to honor that.”

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Remini and James were both grateful to The King of Queens‘ strong fan base that had followed the Heffernans from the start.

“No matter how many awards we didn’t win or how many times the network moved us around, our viewers were as loyal to us as Carrie and Doug were to each other,” Remini remarked. “They were the ones who kept us on the air, making us one of only a handful of sitcoms of that period to make it to 207 episodes. So in what was more a collective feeling than a decision, we said, Okay, this is it, it’s time to end the show.”

The King of Queens is still available on streaming services and syndication.