Smart, 33, an author, podcast host and advocate for kidnapped children and sexual assault victims, told E! News that she has started to open up to her oldest child, Chloe, 5, who has asked questions about her mother’s ordeal.
“Even now, she has begun to sort of ask questions,” Smart said. “Occasionally, I’m doing a presentation or I’m on a Zoom call, and she doesn’t understand. So she asked me, ‘Why?’ And as her questions come up, that is how I gauge how much to tell my daughter.”
Smart garnered worldwide headlines when she was kidnapped at knifepoint from her Utah home in 2002. She was 14 years old at the time and was held captive for nine months by handyman and street pastor Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee.
Mitchell forced Smart into a polygamous “marriage” and raped her almost daily. She was found while walking with Barzee and Mitchell on a street in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy.
He is serving a life sentence and Barzee was released from prison in 2018 despite objections from Smart.
Smart is now married and has two other children, 3-year-old James and 2-year-old Olivia. Her experience has made her a different kind of parent than she otherwise may have been, she said.
“I’m probably more into helicopter parents than I would have imagined,” she told the entertainment news outlet. “And it also makes me think that I’ll never regret checking on my children or spending that extra time to look after them or watch them. I’ll never regret it. I might regret not spending time with them or not looking after them for that moment. So, I think it’s probably made me a more conscious parent.”
Last year, Smart revealed that she never had a ‘tell all’ with her parents about the abuse she suffered.
“The truth is I never sat them all down and had a ‘tell all’ experience with them,” Smart wrote of her father Ed Smart and mother Lois in a November 2020 Instagram post. “I was brought to an advocacy center, where I had to disclose much of what happened to two professionals and they, in turn, relayed much of what happened to my parents. But I don’t think my parents ever heard in detail what happened from my own lips until my court appearance almost a decade later.”