Why Anderson Cooper Is Co-Parenting with His Ex: 'I Would Want Wyatt to Be Surrounded by Love'
For more from Anderson Cooper, pick up this week's Pride issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
And what makes it even more special is sharing the experience with his best friend and former partner, Benjamin Maisani.
"There is no acrimony between us," Cooper, 53, says in PEOPLE's Pride issue, out Friday. "Even though it's maybe unconventional because he's my ex, he is my family."
"I knew what it was like growing up without a dad," adds the star, whose father Wyatt Emory Cooper died during heart surgery when Cooper was 10. "If there was ever something that happened to me, I would want Wyatt to be surrounded by love."
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Cooper and Maisani's split was confirmed in March 2018 after they'd been together 10 years. They've remained in each other's lives since, and are planning to raise Wyatt together in Cooper's four-story converted firehouse.
"While we were a couple, he wasn't sure he wanted kids, which was one of the issues we'd always had," says the Anderson Cooper 360° star. "But when I decided, 'I'm just going to do this,' he started to be interested."
Cooper adds that one surprising aspect of fatherhood is just how emotional he and Maisani have become.
"I cry at things I never cried at before," he says. "And Benjamin, I've never seen him cry ... but I couldn't believe how weepy he gets with Wyatt. I'm maybe a little bit of a harder egg to crack but I find myself being overwhelmed with emotion, and it's a lovely thing."
For more from Anderson Cooper, pick up this week's Pride issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.