The father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has come out as gay.
Ed Smart, 64, recently came out in a Facebook post to friends and family. He said he is “finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept."
"I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay,” the father of five wrote.
Court records show Lois Smart filed for divorce on July 5.
“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," he added.
Elizabeth, now 31 and the mother of three children, released a statement saying, "while I am deeply saddened by their separation, nothing could change my love and admiration for them both.
"As an openly gay man, the church is not a place where I find solace any longer,” he declared. "... I have come to a change in my beliefs. It is because of this change, that I can finally acknowledge and accept my orientation. Had I not had a change in my beliefs, I would have likely remained closeted the rest of my life."
Ed was thrust into an international spotlight after Elizabeth was kidnapped in 2002 at the age of 14 and held captive for nine months. After she was found, Ed became an outspoken advocate for missing children.