Elizabeth Smart is taking one day at a time when it comes to revealing the story of her heartbreaking past to her children.
The 33-year-old mom, who recently starred on Fox’s The Masked Dancer, shared with E! News how she has slowly begun to reveal her abduction as a teen with oldest child, Chloe, 5.
“Even now, she has begun to sort of ask questions,” Elizabeth says. “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.”
She went on, sharing: “With all my children, really, I certainly never want to hide what happened in the past, because every single one of us has a past. Every single one of us has had something happen in our lives. It’s unrealistic to think that we will all just have a perfect life. We will all face hardships and struggles, in whatever form that may be, and so I have begun to speak to her as she asked questions. But with that being said, it’s not all at once. And it’s age-appropriate, to the best of my ability.”
In 2002 when Elizabeth was just 14, she was kidnapped from her Utah home.
And nine months later, she returned to her family. She now runs the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to the prevention of sexual abuse.
Elizabeth goes on to say she believes her trauma has made her a far more cautious parent.
Both she and husband Matthew Gilmour married in 2012 and share 3-year-old James and 2-year-old Olivia, in addition to Chloé.
“I’m probably more into helicopter parents than I would have imagined,” she admits.
“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.”
And speaking on her time on The Masked Dancer, she doesn’t have any regrets, despite saying she “can’t dance to save my life.”
She first admitted she told producers they were “crazy for asking me,” admitting how it was “the most terrifying thing I have ever voluntarily done.”
But she decided to appear on the program as a tribute to her late grandmother who was an avid dancer — even towards the end of her life.
“I’m pretty sure she wasn’t scared of anything,” Elizabeth says. “And I thought, I want to be able to look back on my life and feel the same way. For all of the heavy, serious things that I’ve done, I want to be able to look back and laugh.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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