Ed Smart, whose daughter Elizabeth Smart survived abduction for nine months after being abducted from their Federal Heights home in Salt Lake City in 2002, came out as gay in August. On Wednesday, Smart explained to CBS This Morning host Gayle King how challenging it was to come out to his wife and children.
“I don’t think people understand the fight that goes on inside,” said Smart, breaking down in tears. “And I feel horrible that our marriage has ended. Lois is a wonderful woman. I wish somehow she understood. I think she believes that it was my choice. And yes it was my choice to end our marriage. It was not my choice to be gay. Until I left her I was always faithful.”
Smart said he called his children and told them he was gay at five in the morning, describing it as a grenade that had been waiting to go off.
“I wanted each one of them to hear this from me. I wanted this pain and struggle to be over with,” he told King.
Smart came out in a since-deleted Facebook message to friends and family which announced he was divorcing his wife and no longer saw a place for him in the Mormon church, the Deseret News reported. Smart confirmed the note was his to the paper.
Wrote Smart in the note: “I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay. The decision to be honest and truthful about my orientation comes with its own set of challenges, but at the same time it is a huge relief. Living with the pain and guilt I have for so many years, not willing to accept the truth about my orientation has at times brought me to the point where I questioned whether life was still worth living.”
Added Smart: “I didn’t want to face the feelings I fought so hard to suppress, and didn’t want to reach out and tell those being ostracized that I too am numbered among them. But I cannot do that any longer.”
“Lois has been a loyal wife, and extraordinary mother, who has had to endure an impossible part of this journey,” he said of his wife. “I deeply regret the excruciating pain this has caused her. Hurting her was never my intent. While our marriage will end, my love for Lois and everyone in my family is eternal.”
Elizabeth Smart published a statement of support at the time: “While I am deeply saddened by their separation, nothing could change my love and admiration for them both. Their decisions are very personal. As such, I will not pass judgment and rather am focusing on loving and supporting them and the other members of my family.”