Anderson Cooper is sharing his story about the first time he came out.
As part of Entertainment Weekly‘s 2019 LGBTQ special issue, which also features stars including Neil Patrick Harris, Ruby Rose and Janet Mock, the 52-year-old CNN news anchor explains that he first came out to his friends in high school.
“I was in love with this guy and I was so desperate, I just asked all my friends how I could get him,” Cooper recalls of his teenage days. “And I sort of always felt like I was out, I had boyfriends, I’d go dancing, I’d go to bars and stuff.”
Opening up about seeing a shift in his work life, he adds, “But reporters didn’t really talk about their personal lives. And then, with Twitter and the internet, suddenly you could access something about anybody. And the expectation became, ‘You’re a public person, you should be public.'”
Explaining that coming out as a reporter “was a difficult thing to navigate”, the journalist says, “I was by myself in Somalia and all these places and it was just easier not to say something. But I reached a point where, by not saying something, I realized I was saying something.”
In the issue, Cooper reportedly goes on to detail how he published a letter on his friend’s website in an effort to not “make a big deal about it at the time”; however, in the process, he forgot to tell his mother, author and actress Gloria Vanderbilt.
“It was funny because I was in Africa shooting something when it was published and I didn’t realize I was in a place that had absolutely no cell phone service for three days,” he recalls. “But as soon as I got to Johannesburg, my phone lit up. And I’d realized I’d forgotten to tell my mom I was making this announcement. I’d come out to her a long time ago, but she was like, ‘Oh, you could’ve given me a heads up!'”