Andy Cohen took full advantage of his last birthday before becoming a father

Andy Cohen‘s 50th birthday was a milestone event in more than one way.

When Cohen decided to have a child via surrogacy, he knew his life was going to change — so he made sure to go out with a bang.

“I lived my life as though it was my last year on the planet,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, on stands now.

When it came time to celebrate his last birthday before becoming a parent, Cohen took full advantage of the night out.

“[It was my] going away party,” he says.

Andy Cohen with baby Benjamin
| Credit: Mei Tao

The Watch What Happens Live host says his surrogate was impregnated just a week before his birthday, which helped set the tone of the event.

Watch the full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview: Andy Cohen, streaming now on, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

“There were a group of people at the party who knew that,” he says. “That was absolutely the subtext of the entire affair.

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Credit: Mei Tao

Along with going all-out at his birthday party, Cohen spent the year leading up to fatherhood traveling the world.

“I went to London twice. I followed the Dead on tour. I went to Israel for the first time. I went to Europe for three weeks,” he says. “I did things that I just took advantage of every opportunity, so to speak, and it was a joyous, joyous year.”

He adds: “I did it really deliberately because I knew that I needed to now hunker down and that I was turning the page on that chapter in my life and that this was going to be great.”

Cohen welcomed his first child, son Benjamin Allen Cohen, via surrogate on Feb. 4. The baby weighed 9 lbs., 2 oz., and measured 20 inches long upon his birth at 6:35 p.m. (Benjamin Allen is a special name for the Bravo personality, coming from his grandfather, Ben Allen, on his mother’s side.)

“He was so alert for the first two hours. His eyes were wide open. He didn’t cry; he was just calm,” Cohen recalls of meeting his son for the first time. “I kind of have no words for it.”