In the pantheon of cultural surprises, it’s not likely to rank high on anyone’s list of stunning public admissions by a celebrity.
But Anderson Cooper has finally come out and said it: He’s gay. It’s a subject many have speculated on, but it was also something the CNN anchor and afternoon talk show personality felt was nobody’s business and, in the name of privacy, he didn’t discuss it, until now.
Cooper, 45, apparently had a change of heart, and has now made this very-personal disclosure in an e-mail he wrote to journalist Andrew Sullivan — an e-mail that Cooper apparently allowed to be posted on the Internet, because Sullivan did just that.
The letter can be read in its entirety here, on the Daily Beast Web site.
In the letter, Cooper eloquently laid out his reasons for maintaining his privacy on this issue, and also explained — just as clearly — why he feels it’s OK now to come out and admit it. He wrote the letter in a response to something Sullivan asked him. Sullivan had asked Cooper for his reaction to an Entertainment Weekly story about gay people in public life, and how the “coming out” process today is so much more low-key than in the past for gay or lesbian celebs.
“Andrew, as you know, the issue you raise is one that I’ve thought about for years,” Cooper wrote in response. “Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to.
“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. …”
“I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible,” Cooper wrote. “There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.
“The fact is, I’m gay,” he wrote, “always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”