As life hardships go, having your 14-year-old daughter snatched at knifepoint from her bedroom by a sociopath is one rung lower than coming out as gay at 64.
Call it an optics misstep. No one handles fame perfectly. But this is what Ed Smart said as he formally emerged from the closet this week and told CBS’s Gayle King that he’s gay in his first national interview on the subject. Smart is the father of Elizabeth Smart, who is now an American child safety activist and ABC News commentator.
For a guy named Smart, that’s pretty dumb.
Smart spewed his truth at a conference in Lehi, Utah over the weekend. He did manage to say that his daughter’s safe return was the “first miracle” of his life followed closely by the second one — his experience of coming out as gay.
“I thought Elizabeth’s ordeal was very difficult,” Smart told the conference. “But this was more difficult, because it not only affected Elizabeth but it affected my entire family.”
More difficult? Not to poke too many holes in Smart’s cracked wisdom, but didn’t his daughter’s kidnapping also affect the entire family?
The Salt Lake Tribune focused on Smart smartly saying that his announcement about his sexuality is slightly lower on the life totem pole than his daughter’s kidnapping. The headline: “Ed Smart — father of Elizabeth Smart — speaks publicly about coming out as gay, calling it the ‘second miracle’ of his life.”
His daughter’s safe return was nothing short of a miracle.
For nine months, Elizabeth was raped daily, tied up and threatened with death. Thankfully police rescued her in 2003 in Sandy, Utah. Her life was made into a made-for-TV film and she wrote a memoir called My Story. Her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, proclaimed himself an “angel from heaven.” He’s spending his life in prison.
But it’s 2019 — 17 years later — and Ed Smart’s turn to take the spotlight.
“I went to therapists. I went to my church leaders. I mean, I literally called my bishop up one morning, and I said, ‘You know, I feel like I’ve stabbed Lois in the heart,’” Smart told CBS’s King in what was a pretty fantastic get for the CBS morning show. “And I went to my other church leader, and I said to him, ‘So am I gay? Am I gay?’ And he said to me, ‘I don’t think so.’ He said, ‘You know, there’s this spectrum.’”
King, known for remaining unflappable during bombshell interviews like the one she conducted with R. Kelly, asked Smart if it was a relief to him that this pastor told him he didn’t think he was gay.
Smart admitted as much. But not for long. After much internal strife, he ultimately admitted to himself — and to King — that there is no cure for being gay.
Through tears, he said he only wishes that Lois, his now former wife of 34 years, could understand.
As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, Smart came out to his wife in late 2018 when she asked him if he was gay. He said yes.
In August, he came out privately to his pals on Facebook. (RELATED: Ed Smart Says He’s Gay, Divorcing Wife and Leaving Church)
The secret obviously leaked.
And here we are.