Seventeen years after his daughter Elizabeth's high-profile kidnapping and rescue, Ed Smart spoke Monday of his struggle to come out as a gay man.
“There is no cure. This is absolutely not a choice," Smart said, sobbing in an interview with Gayle King on "CBS This Morning."
"And I wish my wife knew that. I wish that, more than anything,” said Smart, who described his complicated and conflicted relationship with his lifelong Mormon faith and his sexuality – and the fallout that took place after coming out.
Smart came out as gay in August in a Facebook post to friends and family, confirming to Utah media that he wrote the post. In the same post, he announced that he and his wife of 34 years, Lois, were in the process of getting a divorce.
Elizabeth Smart told the Deseret News in August that she was "saddened" by her parents' separation but refused to "pass judgment," instead focusing on loving and supporting both of her parents.
In 2002, Smart was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City at 14 and held captive for nine months. She was raped and drugged almost daily by her captors, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. The horrific kidnapping was the subject of much media coverage.
“During the course of my life, I’ve found men to be attractive,” Ed Smart told King. “I was taught that that was unacceptable. You were a bad person if you thought those things.”
He said he went to therapists and church leaders, hoping they would provide answers to his anxiety over his sexuality.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changed its controversial rules toward LGBTQ people in April, no longer banishing same-sex couples and allowing them to baptize their children into the faith. Same-sex relationships are still deemed by officials to be a "serious transgression."
Smart told King he chose to speak out publicly because he wanted to reach out to other men "who are struggling in the same spot" as he was.
Contributing: Ryan Miller, Jorge Ortiz and John Bacon
Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed, gives first interview since coming out