Top U.S. newscaster and TV talk show host Anderson Cooper has ended years of speculation about his sexuality by officially confirming he's gay.
The CNN anchor, 45, addressed long-running rumours about his sexuality in an open letter to his friend and columnist Andrew Sullivan as part of an article about the understated ways famous gay people appear to be making their lifestyles known to the public.
In the note, posted online on Monday (02Jul12), Cooper admits he has always avoided commenting on his private life for "professional reasons", but he never intended his silence to be interpreted as an attempt to hide his sexuality.
He writes, "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... As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn't matter...
"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.
"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."
Cooper's announcement has been hailed by fellow celebrities on, with gay comedian Neil Patrick Harris writing, "Good for you, @AndersonCooper. You're awesome."
Country star LeAnn Rimes adds, "Rock on @AndersonCooper for being a brave, classy man. Much respect!"