Gay Pride Month just wrapped up in June, but Anderson Cooper made a big, long-anticipated announcement on Monday: In what has long been an open secret, the award-winning CNN journalist and talk show host, 45, came out as gay in an open letter to political blogger 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," Cooper writes to Sullivan, as excerpted on the Daily Beast.
Longtime friends with Cooper, Sullivan (who is also gay), had reached out to the Anderson Cooper 360 host about an emerging trend about "gay people in public life who come out in a much more restrained and matter-of-fact way than in the past."
Cooper -- many in NYC and nationwide have known about his sexuality for years, although he has never publicly commented on it -- responded in a lengthy letter to Sullivan.
"I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons . . . But I've also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I've often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own."
Continues Cooper, who is the son of heiress Gloria Vanderbilt: "As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn't matter. I've stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly 'the gay question,' which happens occasionally."
"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," Cooper writes. "This is distressing because it is simply not true."
"I love, and I am loved," Cooper's letter says. "In my opinion, the ability to love another person is one of God's greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life . . . . I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn't mean an end to a small amount of personal space. But I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy."