Who is Elizabeth Smart? Here’s everything you need to know about the woman who survived being abducted when she was just 14 years old in 2002.
UPDATE (8/16/19, 5:11 p.m. ET): Elizabeth Smart’s father, Ed Smart, came out as gay in an interview with Radar Online on Aug. 16, 2019. “Elizabeth’s comment was, ‘Dad, I didn’t come home to lose you, and I want you in my life,’” Ed recalled his daughter saying. The former practicing Mormon has also separated from his wife and Elizabeth’s mom, Lois, whom he revealed his sexual orientation to first. They had been married since 1986. “Of course it was incredibly painful for my wife. She is a wonderful person and it was very hard,” the father of six told the outlet, and also noted that his whole family was in “shock” but remains supportive. He made it clear that he did not leave his wife “for another person.”
ORIGINAL STORY: 1.) Elizabeth Smart, 30, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and is the second oldest of six children in her family. She has four brothers and one sister, and in 2002 she was abducted from her own bedroom inside their family home. Elizabeth was only 14 years old at the time, and she was held captive for nine months by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee. On Sunday, November 12, Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography is airing on both A&E and Lifetime in which Elizabeth tells the world about what really happened to her in captivity.
2.) Aside from the autobiography special, Elizabeth is also participating in a film called I Am Elizabeth Smart. The film is a biopic that shows the dramatization of what happened to her, and Elizabeth narrates it from start to finish. Elizabeth was also a producer on the film, so she was heavily involved in the making and ensuring it’s accuracy to the horror that she actually endured. The film, which is set to air on Lifetime on November 18, will also address many of the misconceptions made about Elizabeth and her abduction after she was finally able to escape in 2003.
3.) Elizabeth solidified her role as an activist three years later by going before congress to support the Amber Alert system.Two years after that she went to Washington, D.C. to present a book called You Are Not Alone. The book featured essays written by a number of abduction survivors, including herself. In 2011 she founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation which is dedicated to educating children and teens about violent and sexual crimes.
4.) In 2009 Elizabeth joined a Mormon mission. She temporarily left the mission to testify in the trial against her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, and then returned to her faith in France. Elizabeth didn’t return to America until 2011 and a year later she became engaged to Matthew Gilmour. They married after only one month of being engaged, and in 2015 Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, a daughter. Two years later in 2017 she welcomed her second, a son.
5.) Elizabeth has book coming out in 2018. The book is called Where There’s Hope, and it’s intended to empower and inspire recovery for those who have experienced trauma in their lives. Elizabeth truly hopes that her story can help change the lives of others. You can read more about her book at ElizabethSmart.com.