"This is a dream come true," the CNN anchor says of parenthood in the new issue of PEOPLE

By Dan Wakeford
June 09, 2020 09:20 AM
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On the air, Anderson Cooper is the epitome of a serious newsman. Off-camera, he's a seriously besotted new dad.

On April 30, the CNN anchor, 53, surprised the world with the emotional announcement on Anderson Cooper 360° that he had become a father three days earlier to baby Wyatt Morgan. Now, he seems like a completely different man, talking with his co-parent and former partner Benjamin Maisani, 47, about feedings, sleep schedules and diapers. It’s an experience he never imagined he’d get to have.

“When I was 12 years old and knew I was gay and thought about my life, it always upset me because I thought, ‘I will never be able to have a kid,’ ” he says in this week’s PEOPLE cover story for the magazine's first-ever Pride issue. “This is a dream come true.”

Melanie Acevedo

“It feels like my life has actually begun,” Cooper continues. “And I sort of wonder, what was I waiting for? This is a new level of love. It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced, and yet it’s also very familiar and incredibly special and intimate. It’s really extraordinary.”

Becoming a father has also given Cooper new perspective as he works from home, covering momentous news like the coronavirus pandemic and national protests following the death of George Floyd. “I feel invested in the future in a way I hadn’t really before,” he says. “There’s something about having a child that makes you feel connected to what is happening and you want to make sure that the world this child is growing up in is a better one. You suddenly worry much more about the future of all of us.”

Melanie Acevedo
  • For more from Anderson Cooper, pick up this week's Pride issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Like most new parents, Cooper is exhausted. “I’m more tired than I’ve ever been, but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” he says.

And while sleep may not be coming easily for the star, something else is: tears.

“I cry at things I never cried at before,” he admits. “And Benjamin, I’ve never seen him cry, but I couldn’t believe how weepy he gets with Wyatt. I find myself being overwhelmed with emotion, and it’s a lovely thing.”

Cooper says he is also filled with gratitude for “all the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people who struggled for generations and have died never thinking this was a possibility.”