Now, he's ready to give an interview about his experience.
Speaking with Gayle King, Smart discussed his journey with his sexuality and leaving the Mormon church.
His main takeaway?
Something many already know, but still too many people don't want to believe.
Watch the interview here:
Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart: "There is no cure" for being gay www.youtube.com
Speaking with church leaders, he was advised to suppress that part of himself.
"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'."
King asked Smart about how he felt when it was suggested that he wasn't gay, but rather on a spectrum of sexuality.
It was an opening that could have kept Smart in his own closet.
"I was praying that I was not. I didn't want to believe that I was. But how do you cure being gay? There is no cure. And for all of those out there that are struggling in the same spot, there is no cure."
For many online, this was seen as a brave act for someone raised in the Mormon faith.
@USATODAY how tragic for this poor man and for his family.....they should be able to deal with this emotional journ… https://t.co/4RW7CP119b— lou's rant (@lou's rant)1575941005.0
Powerful interview! https://t.co/VwERB8FQGM— Miranda Dollarhide (@Miranda Dollarhide)1575938470.0
@CBSNews @CBSLA It’s good he is finally free and no longer living a lie. To thine own self be true...— Tom D. (@Tom D.)1575962680.0
However, Smart is also being criticized for other comments he's made since coming out.
Smart had come to national attention in 2002, when his daughter, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped for nine months. Elizabeth was abused during her time until she was miraculously spotted with her kidnappers and returned to her family.
It was a horrible situation that captured national attention. Which is why some are criticizing Smart's comparison to his daughter's kidnapping.
At a speaking event focused on identity and acceptance, Smart is quoted as saying:
"I thought Elizabeth's ordeal was very difficult, but this was more difficult."
Which is kind of a bad look.
Proof, yet again, that men can make literally anything about them. Ed Smart said that coming out of the closet as… https://t.co/euKKfg5nNE— Kate Kelly (@Kate Kelly)1575853704.0
i have never had good feelings about ed smart https://t.co/tMuwaqlKaz— poetic kate (@poetic kate)1575830471.0
Smart has said he wants to help others struggling with their sexuality to find acceptance.
Despite comments about coming out so late in life, or how they think God feels about homosexuality, Smart is happy with his decision.
"It's better to be able to tell your story than to have somebody take your story and rumor mill it through so people get all these crazy ideas about who you are and what you are." It's better with "you just telling them: This is the way it is, this is my life.'"
The story and his comparison to Elizabeth's kidnapping has the internet debating the value of Smart's story.
@FarinellaMark @CBSThisMorning @GayleKing I think you mean that you don't care. You can't speak for everyone else.— Aunt Flossie (@Aunt Flossie)1575911808.0
@NBCNews @NBCOUT I wish him and his family well. Too bad he lived in denial all these years.— curiousone (@curiousone)1576012742.0
@loneoak64 @GayleKing @CBSNews @CBSThisMorning You forgot to use the sarcasm font 😜— Elizabeth LeDoux (@Elizabeth LeDoux)1576031172.0
@MillettValerie @NBCNews @NBCOUT So what?— Christine (@Christine)1576012073.0
Elizabeth has been asked about her father's announcement and her parents' separation.
She has given her statement about the situation to TODAY.
In it she says:
"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."