Cooper is openly gay; according to The New York Times, he is "the most prominent openly gay journalist on American television." For years, Cooper avoided discussing his private life in interviews.
On July 2, 2012, however, he gave Andrew Sullivan permission to publish an email that stated, in part:
I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. 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 has stated his intentions to marry his boyfriend, gay bar owner Benjamin Maisani, in New York City. He considered coming out to the public when same-sex marriage became legal in New York in July 2011. The couple has been dating since 2009.
Anderson Cooper is an American journalist, author, and television personality. He is the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. He gave Andrew Sullivan permission to publish an email that stated, in part: "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 has stated his intentions to marry his boyfriend, gay bar owner Benjamin Maisani, in New York City. The couple has been dating since 2009.
Cooper was born on June 3, 1967, in New York City, the younger son of the writer Wyatt Emory Cooper and the artist, designer, writer, and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. His maternal grandparents were millionaire equestrian Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and socialite Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, and his maternal great-great-great-grandfather was Cornelius Vanderbilt of the prominent Vanderbilt shipping and railroad fortune. He is also a descendant, through his mother, of brevet Civil War Major General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, who was with General William T. Sherman on his march through Georgia.
Cooper's media experience began early. As a baby, he was photographed by Diane Arbus for Harper's Bazaar. At the age of three, Cooper was a guest on The Tonight Show on September 17, 1970, appearing with his mother. At the age of nine, he appeared on To Tell the Truth as an impostor. From age 10 to 13 Cooper modeled with Ford Models for Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Macy's.
Cooper's father suffered a series of heart attacks while undergoing open-heart surgery, and died January 5, 1978, at the age of 50. Cooper considers his father's book Families to be "sort of a guide on...how he would have wanted me to live my life and the choices he would have wanted me to make. And so I feel very connected to him."
Cooper's older brother, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, committed suicide on July 22, 1988, at age 23, by jumping from the 14th-floor terrace of Vanderbilt's New York City penthouse apartment. Gloria Vanderbilt later wrote about her son's death in the book A Mother's Story, in which she expresses her belief that the suicide was caused by a psychotic episode induced by an allergy to the anti-asthma prescription drug salbutamol. Anderson cites Carter's suicide for sparking his interest in journalism. "Loss is a theme that I think a lot about, and it's something in my work that I dwell on. I think when you experience any kind of loss, especially the kind I did, you have questions about survival: Why do some people thrive in situations that others can’t tolerate? Would I be able to survive and get on in the world on my own?"
Cooper was educated at the Dalton School, a co-educational independent school in New York City. At age 17, after graduating from the Dalton School a semester early, Cooper travelled around Africa for several months on a "survival trip". He contracted malaria on the trip and was hospitalized in Kenya. Describing the experience, Cooper wrote "Africa was a place to forget and be forgotten in." Cooper went on to attend Yale University, where he resided in Trumbull College, and was inducted into the Manuscript Society, majoring in political science and graduated in 1989.
A freelance writer, Cooper has authored a variety of articles that have appeared in many other outlets, including Details magazine.
In May 2006, Cooper published a memoir for HarperCollins, Dispatches from the Edge, detailing his life and work in Sri Lanka, Africa, Iraq and Louisiana over the previous year. Some of the book's proceeds are donated to charity. The book topped the New York Times bestseller list on June 18, 2006.
Cooper has two older half-brothers, Leopold Stanislaus "Stan" Stokowski (born 1950), and Christopher Stokowski (born 1952), from Gloria Vanderbilt's ten-year marriage to the conductor Leopold Stokowski.
Dispatches from the Edge by Cooper, Anderson
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 8, 2007)
Amazon: Dispatches from the Edge
Amazon Kindle: Dispatches from the Edge
Few people have witnessed more scenes of chaos and conflict around the world than Anderson Cooper, whose groundbreaking coverage on CNN has changed the way we watch the news. In this gripping, candid, and remarkably powerful memoir, he offers an unstinting, up-close view of the most harrowing crises of our time, and the profound impact they have had on his life.
After growing up on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Cooper felt a magnetic pull toward the unknown, an attraction to the far corners of the earth. If he could keep moving, and keep exploring, he felt he could stay one step ahead of his past, including the fame surrounding his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, and the tragic early deaths of his father and older brother. As a reporter, the frenetic pace of filing dispatches from war-torn countries, and the danger that came with it, helped him avoid having to look too closely at the pain and loss that was right in front of him.
But recently, during the course of one extraordinary, tumultuous year, it became impossible for him to continue to separate his work from his life, his family's troubled history from the suffering people he met all over the world. From the tsunami in Sri Lanka to the war in Iraq to the starvation in Niger and ultimately to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Mississippi, Cooper gives us a firsthand glimpse of the devastation that takes place, both physically and emotionally, when the normal order of things is violently ruptured on such a massive scale. Cooper had been in his share of life-threatening situations before -- ducking fire on the streets of war-torn Sarejevo, traveling on his own to famine-stricken Somalia, witnessing firsthand the genocide in Rwanda -- but he had never seen human misery quite like this. Writing with vivid memories of his childhood and early career as a roving correspondent, Cooper reveals for the first time how deeply affected he has been by the wars, disasters, and tragedies he has witnessed, and why he continues to be drawn to some of the most perilous places on earth.
Striking, heartfelt, and utterly engrossing, Dispatches from the Edge is an unforgettable memoir that takes us behind the scenes of the cataclysmic events of our age and allows us to see them through the eyes of one of America's most trusted, fearless, and pioneering reporters.
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