Tell me about your friendship with Andy Cohen.
I met Andy Cohen at a
Christmas party at Bryant Gumbel’s house years ago. It was bizarre
because the two of us stared at each other from across the room like a
soap opera moment. We came together in the middle of the room — I don’t
know who else was there, I don’t remember what else happened that night —
and we’ve been together ever since. The conversation has just sort of
never ended from that moment. Andy is the greatest man on the planet, as
anyone who knows him will tell you.

And you’re the person to
thank for taking that shirtless photo of Andy at your pool out in the
Hamptons and uploading it to your Twitter.

Let me tell you that I
have hundreds of pictures on my iPhone from that impromptu photo shoot.
He was telling us about being in St. Bart’s with a group of famous
people who all knew how to be photographed coming out of the water so
that they looked great. He was standing in the background behind Daniel
Craig and he hated the way he looked in those photos. So he said, “I
just want to re-create that moment.” I said, “Well, let’s re-create it
coming out of the pool. So I think we took 400 pictures of Andy coming
out of the pool. I was like, “You’re not seeing the camera, so just sort
of point and tilt your upper body toward the camera, but keep your
lower body forward and then say, ‘What?’” I made him say “What?” over
and over again. My kids are standing there, going, “What are you guys
doing?” And I’m like, “Quiet! We are having a photo shoot right now!”

you got a shot worthy of Twitter exposure.

My son Michael goes, “Are
you going to put that on Twitter?” I said, “Andy, can I?” And he said,
“Sure, why not?” So I put it on Twitter. Now, at that point I had
tweeted about 6,000 of what I felt were quite fascinating and adorable
photos of myself, my husband, and my family. I put up one picture of
Andy Cohen and it’s picked up by everywhere in the universe. The New
York Times
even called me for a quote. [Laughs] I said, “Andy, I’m
feeling very insecure.”

When The Advocate hosted an event in New
York to celebrate Andy’s cover story in September, Mark attended the
party without you. You trust Andy to behave himself around that hunk of

Andy’s one of the few people I do trust to behave himself.
Mark and Andy are like two peas in a pod. You’ve never seen two people
who have the same opinion about everything like they do — they can
finish each other’s sentences and read each other’s minds. And Andy and
my son Michael have the same birthday. He’s Andy Joseph and my son is
Michael Joseph, so we talk about that a lot.


When did you first
become aware of your gay fan base?

When I read your request for this
interview. [Laughs] I guess I don’t really think about it, but I love
me some gay men — I’m not gonna lie. I love men in general, so if
they’re gay, it’s just a bonus. I do feel the love from the gay
community. When my son’s second-grade teacher went to a Halloween party
downtown a few years ago, he said that there were a bunch of gay men
there doing a dance called “The Kelly Ripa,” where they were just, like,
model-walking and fanning each other. I was like, “Really? That’s

I think it’s pretty telling that so many gay people
chose your side over a lesbian’s side in 2006 when The View’s Rosie
O’Donnell called your remarks to a then-closeted Clay Aiken on your talk
show “homophobic.”

Yes, I did feel very supported by the gay
community in that moment, which I appreciated more than anything. But to
me that was one of the most question-mark moments in the history of the
universe. I’m standing there going, “Huh?! What in the world is going
on over there?! You can’t possibly know me the way you know me and
actually mean what you’re saying.”

Were you worried that your
reputation and relationship with gay people might be tainted by the

It was easy for me to just put the whole thing out of my
mind, but to have somebody say “I’m gay and I don’t think you’re
homophobic” made me feel good. I wasn’t really thinking it could carry
any weight until somebody put it like that. It certainly didn’t change
my relationship with any of my friends.

Tags: People