Anderson Cooper, 53, is getting candid about the moment he not only realized he was gay but “really, truly accepted it.”
He answered a viewer’s question on CNN’s “Full Circle” regarding his sexuality: “I mean, I was probably, I don’t know, seven, when I kind of realized — I’m not sure I knew the word ‘gay’ at the time, but I realized something was up. Something was different.”
Cooper says although he told a few people in high school about his sexual orientation, it wasn’t until after he was in college that he “came around to really loving the fact that I was gay.”
“I think I really, truly accepted it — and not just accepted it, but fully embraced it and you know, came around to really loving the fact that I was gay — would probably be right after college,” he says. “You know, I kind of struggled in my teenage years, certainly, but even a little in college.”
Cooper continues, adding “a lot of the things I wanted to do at the time, you couldn’t be gay” including having a career in the military after the US Army declared homosexuality to be “incompatible with military service” in 1982.
“It felt like there were a lot of limitations on it, and it wasn’t what I envisioned for my life,” he says of his interest in the military. “Or, I imagined a family and getting married. All those things which weren’t possible at the time.”
The news anchor came out publicly in 2012 and became a first-time dad to son Wyatt with his former partner Benjamin Maisani in April 2020.
Cooper says it took him “a while to kind of fully embrace” being gay after he graduated college.
At a certain point after graduating, Cooper says, “I thought, I don’t want to waste any more time worrying about this and sort of wishing I was some other way,” he shares. “And I want to embrace who I am, and as I’ve said before, I think being gay is one of the great blessings of my life.”
For Cooper, being gay has “made me a better person, and it’s made me a better reporter.”
He explains: “Especially when you grow up, kind of feeling like you’re on the outside of things, and you’re kind of an observer of things or not necessarily in the mainstream, you see society from a slightly different view. And I think that can be very valuable and can impact how you treat other people and how you see things. So yeah, it’s enabled me to love the people that I’ve loved and have the life that I’ve had, so I’m very blessed.”