"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.
The Attack in Egypt
Anderson Cooper's bravery was on display when jarring video surfaced of him being repeatedly hit in the head while reporting from protests spreading through the streets of Egypt. The CNN anchor talked about the experience on David Letterman's show.His Famous Mother, Gloria Vanderbilt
Anderson Cooper didn't grow up like most kids. His mother was a big celebrity, but he clearly has a special relationship with her, as seen in this interview.Snooki Takes Anderson Spray-Tanning
Cooper has a much lighter side than the hard-news war correspondent and contributor to 60 Minutes. For a multitude of reasons, one of our favorite moments is this spray-tanning session with Snooki.Anderson Cooper Kicks Woman Off Show
On his new daytime talk show, Cooper often does lengthy interviews with some pretty strange characters. But this one just drove him too far. Watch what happens.Kathy Griffin's Infamous Comments With Anderson on New Year's Eve, 2009
The Anderson-Kathy duo has become a New Year's Eve favorite for many gay TV watchers. Every year there's a ball drop with drag queens in Key West. And we get to watch Cooper squirm while Griffin torments him with outrageous commentary. This moment, though, almost ended it all.Confronting Mary Landrieu Over Katrina
Cooper's coverage of Hurricane Katrina and his commitment to reporting from New Orleans long after the winds had passed earned him wide praise. He was famously tough on guests of all political leanings in fighting for residents.The Giggles
Watching Cooper totally lose it during his segment "The Ridiculist" became a viral sensation not just because a normally serious anchor lost his cool but also because the sound of his giggle is infectious.Anderson Cooper Rescues Injured Boy from Haiti Earthquake Riot (CNN)Watch Video Here.
One of the things viewers love about Cooper is his empathy for the people he covers. His reporting from the devastation in Haiti was a perfect example.The Sissy Boy Experiment, Part 1
Cooper's show ran a three-part investigation into reparative therapy that tore apart the arguments made by its proponents. Watch it on this and the following pages.The Sissy Boy Experiment, Part 2
The Sissy Boy Experiment, Part 3