Anderson Cooper Reveals How Richard Gere Helped Him Realize He's Gay: 'I Couldn't Speak'

The Anderson Cooper 360° host said the acclaimed actor was part of his sexual awakening

Anderson Cooper is opening up about his sexual awakening.

The Anderson Cooper 360° host, 55, recounted how meeting a shirtless Richard Gere at age 11 helped him realize he was gay as he appeared Friday on Radio Andy with pal Andy Cohen from the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City.

He recalled meeting his mom Gloria Vanderbilt's gay friends as a kid, such as Truman Capote, Gore Vidal and photographer Paul Jasmin, who along with his boyfriend, took a young Cooper to see a Broadway show.

"And they took me to see Richard Gere in Bent, which if anyone doesn't know about the play Bent, it's about two gay guys in the concentration camp," Cooper recounted. "I mean the opening scene… It is the gayest thing you can imagine.

Anderson Cooper's son Wyatt turns 2
Anderson Cooper/Instagram

"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 continued.

Cooper explained that the opening scene features a man getting out of bed completely naked and putting on an SS uniform after sleeping with another man the night before.

"And I just remember being like, 'Oh my God, I'm gay. ... I'm totally gay.' And afterward, Paul Jasmin was friends with Richard Gere," he said. "Cause Paul Jasmin took the pictures for American Gigolo and we go backstage and Richard Gere is shirtless in his dressing room.

Anderson Cooper Says Shirtless Richard Gere Helped Him Realize He Was Gay: 'I Couldn't Speak'
getty (2)

"And I couldn't speak. And I had my Playbill and I wanted to get him to autograph it, but I was too — I just couldn't stop staring his chest. And so, fast forward to 10 years ago, I was interviewing Richard Gere and I took out the Playbill ... and I told him the whole story and I had him sign it. Yeah. He was very tickled with it," Cooper added.

RELATED VIDEO: Anderson Cooper Shares New Family Photo in Honor of Son Wyatt's Second Birthday: 'Hard to Believe'

Cooper, who co-parents sons Wyatt Morgan, 2, and 4-month-old Sebastian Luke with ex-partner Benjamin Maisani, opened up to PEOPLE about their arrangement

"I've always believed that if you've been with somebody and that ends, in terms of an intimate relationship, if you love somebody, there's no reason why that love shouldn't continue," Cooper said in September.

Related Articles