Elizabeth Smart may have been heavily involved in the making of the Lifetime movie about her 2002 abduction, but that didn’t make seeing the finished project any easier.
“I had been over the script probably about 100 times…then I narrate a lot of it, so I had seen a lot of the difference pieces, and then finally watching the whole thing come together in one format, it was terrifying,” Smart, who served as the narrator and a producer on I Am Elizabeth Smart, explained to E! News.
Smart was taken from her bedroom and brutalized by her captors for nine months before being rescued when she was just 14.
“I’m pretty proud of it and I’ve watched it and, no offense to Alana [Boden, who played Smart in the film], she was great, but I never want to watch it again,” the 30-year-old said of the movie, noting its accuracy. “That’s how good it was.”
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Smart also revealed that her family — including husband of over five years Matthew Gilmour and their two children, 2-year-old Chloe and 8-month-old James — was not present when she actually viewed the film.
“My husband was downstairs watching the kids and trying to put my daughter to bed, and I was just upstairs in our bedroom and I was watching it,” she said. “And I kept thinking, ‘I don’t have to watch this right now! I don’t want to watch this! I’m just going to put it away, I can come back after I’ve had a breather.’ “
She continued, “Then I said, ‘No, I have to watch it. I have to know how it turns out’…just because it was so accurate. It was terrifying and so intense and part of me was like I don’t know if I want to feel all of these emotions again.”
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Smart recently told PEOPLE that despite her ordeal, she feels she has much for which to be thankful.
“My children have brought so much happiness and joy,” she explained. “To me, they’re the very definition of love.”
Smart met her husband while both were serving missions for the Mormon Church in France. But she wondered 15 years ago if a normal life and motherhood would ever be possible.
“Today, I’m so grateful for the small things,” she told PEOPLE.
“I’m grateful for rain, because when I was kidnapped, that meant that I had something to drink,” she shared. “I was grateful for when people would throw out their leftovers at restaurants in those doggy bags, because that meant that sometimes I had something to eat. I’m grateful for the sunshine, because it warmed me when I was cold. Certainly, I was grateful for my family and who they were and who my parents were.”
Smart said, “I wake up every morning and I feel like a very lucky and blessed woman.”
Her horrific ordeal is never far from her mind, however.
Next spring, Smart, who works as a victims’ rights advocate and as a contributor to the syndicated TV show Crime Watch Daily, will release her second book, Where There’s Hope, an up-close and personal glimpse into her healing process.
And she hopes the film will also tell her story.
“I decided to do [the movie] because they wanted me involved every step of the way, and I thought it might also help other victims and survivors,” she said.