Anderson Cooper Comes Out

"The fact is, I’m gay," he writes in an e-mail to the Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan

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It’s a story that many people suspected, but that doesn’t make it any less newsworthy. Via an e-mail reprinted on Andrew Sullivan’s the Dish blog on the Daily Beast, Anderson Cooper has told the world he’s gay. Rumors have long surrounded the CNN host and war correspondent, but even in his memoirs, Cooper would not address his sexual orientation.

(MORE: TIME’s 10 Questions for Anderson Cooper)

Sullivan wrote on his blog that he asked for Cooper’s thoughts on an Entertainment Weekly story that ran last week on gay people in public life coming out of the closet. Cooper responded with a long e-mail in which he not only declared his sexuality but also explained why he has not shared his personal life with the public in the past:

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.

(VIDEO: Anderson Cooper Cracks Up on Air)

Cooper also cited work-related reasons for not previously coming out:

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.

But, Cooper said, he can remain silent no longer:

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. This is distressing because it is simply not true … 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.

Cooper concludes, “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 encourages Sullivan to share the e-mail with his readers.

MORE: Anderson Cooper and Crew Attacked in Egypt