Being gay is a blessing, says Anderson Cooper.
The CNN host appeared Thursday on The Ellen DeGeneres Showto discuss his coming-out journey.
In the segment, Cooper said that he never concealed his identity to friends and family. "I never said I wasn't gay or tried to hide it or pretend that [I was] anything else. I just ... didn't want to talk about it [publicly]."
"But it got to a point in my life where ... by not saying something, that seemed like I was indicating that I was somehow ashamed of something or not happy being gay," he added. "And the complete opposite has always been the case."
Cooper long maintained that the journalist should not become the story, and he did not discuss his identity publicly until July 2012, when he allowed The Daily Beast to publish an email to a friend of his, the blogger-commentator Andrew Sullivan. "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," he wrote at the time.
Now Cooper says, "[I] wish I had done it sooner."
"I consider it, along with Wyatt, one of the great blessings of my life to be gay," said Cooper, referring to his newborn son, Wyatt Morgan Cooper, who he is raising with his ex-partner Benjamin Maisani. "Even though I'm kind of painfully shy, an introvert and stuff, I thought, OK, well, I want to say something. And so I did, and I couldn't be happier."
Coming out "does matter, and it does make a difference," said Cooper, who believes "it's important for me to have said the word 'gay,' that I am gay, and I'm proud of it. It's fantastic."
Cooper's gay identity was long an open secret with LGBTQ media. He was featured on the cover of Out magazine in 2007 with the headline "The Glass Closet." The article focused on numerous celebrities whose queer sexuality was 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 the digital chat, Cooper also said he was "proud" of DeGeneres, who came out in the 1990s and became a pioneer for others in media. He added that, as an international reporter, coming out may have complicated his work, as it is illegal to be gay in certain nations. But as an out media personality, he is now happy "to send that message around the world."
Watch the interview below.