One year ago Ed Smart's wife, Lois, looked him in the eye and asked him something that had been tormenting her.
"December 10th, my wife asked me ‘are you gay?’ And I finally said yes,” he told Inside Edition.
The Smart family became nationally prominent during the kidnapping and miraculous rescue of their daughter, Elizabeth, in 2002. Now, Ed Smart is speaking out about his struggle to come out to his wife of 34 years and come to terms with his sexual orientation.
"Somehow, this person I’ve loved my whole life thinks I’m a horrible person, that really tears me,” he said.
He said he and his ex-wife are not speaking, adding, “I’m sure, she feels betrayed like, ‘what was my marriage?’"
If given the chance to make sure Lois knew something, Ed told Inside Edition that he wanted her to know “I care about her, that I do still love her in this element, and I’m so sorry."
Lois request for divorce from Ed was granted last month. Elizabeth, now a child safety advocate and mom of three, has stood by her father. She said Elizabeth and all of his other kids were surprised at first that he came out but quickly showed him love and support.
"Elizabeth said to me, 'dad whether you're gay or not, I want you in my life,'" he recalled.
Ed spoke to Inside Edition in Utah where he was speaking at the Encircle Summit, an educational event for the LGBTQI+ community.
"People need to understand that it's not something learned, people are born the way they are born,” he said.
Ed's self-acceptance came after years of struggling, including times in which he contemplated taking his own life. He said what stopped him was “I still have a strong belief in God, I thought Elizabeth’s return was a miracle,” he said.
Now, at age 64, Ed has come to terms with his sexual orientation and identity, marking this new chapter in life with a return to the dating scene.
"I was not very good at dating when I was dating women!" he joked.