"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud," Anderson Cooper writes in an email that he agreed to have published on The Daily Beast.
Cooper's acknowledgment comes in response to a conversation with his longtime friend blogger-commentator Andrew Sullivan about Entertainment Weekly's recent cover story about the matter-of-fact way people in the public eye reveal their homosexuality these days. Cooper writes that despite being a public figure he's tried to maintain a level of privacy for professional reasons. A journalist shouldn't be the story, he's long said.
"Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle," he tells Sullivan. "It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something — something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true."
Although he has long dodged questions about his orientation, Cooper was featured on the cover of Out magazine in 2007 behind the headline "The Glass Closet." The article focused on numerous celebrities whose homosexuality is considered an open secret. Several of the people mentioned in the article — including Clay Aiken, Wanda Sykes, and David Hyde Pierce — have since come out publicly. In April 2012, Cooper placed number 6 on Out’s annual list of most powerful LGBT people.
Cooper, 45, says he didn't write about his orientation in his 2006 memoir, Dispatches From the Edge, because he wanted to keep the focus of the book on his experience with war, disasters, loss and survival. The CNN anchor has famously reported from troubling situations all over the world, such as war zones, and including Egypt, where he was physically attacked. His reports on Hurricane Katrina and the devastating earthquake in Haiti stand out for their empathetic tone.
On both his CNN program Anderson Cooper 360 and his daytime talk show Anderson, Cooper has frequently reported on LGBT issues, including a week-long series about the bullying epidemic that was broadcast last October.
"I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues," Cooper says. "In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don't give that up by being a journalist."
Watch some of our favorite moments from Anderson Cooper's career on the following pages.