In June 2002, homeless street preacher Brian David Mitchell kidnapped Smart from her parent’s home, abducting her at knifepoint from her bed, which she shared with her younger sister. She spent nine months in captivity, during which he raped her repeatedly and also forced her to wear a disguise in public while wandering with him and his wife, Wanda Barzee. After a passerby identified Smart after seeing the three walking on a street in the Salt Lake City area, police were called, she was freed and her captors were arrested.
Mitchell is serving two life sentences for kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity. Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping and unlawfully transporting a minor. After spending nine years behind bars, she was released in 2018 and registered as a sex offender.
Last year, after appearing on the singing reality show The Masked Singer, Smart talked to E! News about how she has begun to share her story with her eldest daughter.
“Even now, she has begun to sort of ask questions,” she said about Chloe. “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 continues, “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.”