- Anderson Cooper opened up about the moment he realized he was gay Friday on “Radio Andy.”
- Cooper said he came to the conclusion after watching Richard Gere in the 1979 Broadway play “Bent.”
- Cooper said he met a shirtless Gere backstage after the show and “couldn’t speak.”
Anderson Cooper opened up about the moment he realized he was gay on Friday during the “Andy Cohen Live Pride Special” on SiriusXM’s “Radio Andy.”
The CNN host sat down with Cohen and actor John Hill at the iconic Stonewall Inn in New York City. People reports Cooper recalled watching the Broadway play “Bent” in the late 1970s with photographer Paul Jasmin and Jasmin’s boyfriend, who were friends with Cooper’s mother, the late fashion designer, and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt.
Richard Gere starred in the play about the persecution of homosexuality in Nazi Germany.
“And this was Richard Gere in 1977, ‘Looking for Mr. Goodbar.’ He was so beautiful. And I’m there. My mom didn’t go. It was just me and my mom’s two gay friends,” he said.
Cooper called the opening scene, in which a man gets out of bed completely naked and puts on a uniform, “the gayest thing you can imagine.”
“And I just remember being like, ‘Oh my God, I’m gay. … I’m totally gay,” he said.
After the play ended, Cooper said Jasmin took him backstage to meet Gere, who he worked with on the film “American Gigolo.” Cooper shared that Gere was shirtless in his dressing room when Cooper met him for the first time.
“I couldn’t speak. I had my playbill and I wanted to get him to autograph it, but I just couldn’t stop staring at his chest,” Cooper told Cohen.
The moment came full circle for Cooper when he later interviewed Richard Gere and asked him to sign the original playbill. He said Gere was “very tickled” by the story.
Representatives for Cooper and Gere did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Cooper also shared more about how he came out to his mom. He said he didn’t tell her he was gay until he graduated college, and although she was “cool about it,” she told him not to make any “definite decisions.” Cooper publicly came out in 2012.
In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Jess Cagle and People, Vanderbilt shared with Cooper that she had a “brief so-called lesbian relationship” when she was 13. Vanderbilt also said her understanding of LGBTQ issues was shaped by the gossip surrounding her mother, who was “accused” of being a lesbian during a 1932 custody battle between Vanderbilt’s parents.
“I think almost everybody goes through at one point of course, the thing is, now we realize there’s no difference,” Vanderbilt told People and EW at the time. “Love is love.”