Her remarks were some of her first since leaving the Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville, in Alabama, on Wednesday after Trump commuted the remainder of her sentence.
Video from NBC affiliate WVTM of Birmingham showed Johnson throwing her arms wide to embrace family after leaving the facility.
On Thursday, she described the “moment of shock” she felt seeing her family.
“I knew I’d walked out of the door,” she said. “To see them, my heart was leaping.”
“We are going to appreciate every single moment we have,” she added. “Sometimes we take family and life for granted, I’ll never do that again”
Trump commuted Johnson’s life sentence on Wednesday, just days after reality star Kim Kardashian West personally lobbied the president in an Oval Office meeting to intervene on her behalf.