Anderson Cooper Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper has come out as gay.

"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 wrote in an email to The Daily Beast reporter Andrew Sullivan.

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In the email to Sullivan — a friend of Cooper's for more than 20 years — the CNN anchor, who has long been rumored to be gay, said that he had decided not to publicly discuss his sexual orientation because he felt it could negatively impact his job as a reporter. "Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life," he wrote. "I've also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. 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 have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist."

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So why did Cooper, 45, decide to come out now?

"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," he wrote. "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. I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn't mean an end to a small amount of personal space. ... I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter's shield of privacy."