Anderson Cooper is talking openly about his sexual awakening.
As he appeared on Radio Andy with friend Andy Cohen from the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City on Friday, Anderson Cooper 360° host, 55, recalled how meeting a shirtless Richard Gere at age 11 helped him know he was gay.
As per Etcanada, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, and photographer Paul Jasmin, who brought a young Cooper to see a Broadway performance with his partner, were among the gay friends of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt that he remembered seeing when he was a little boy.
“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.
“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.
In the opening scene, a man gets out of bed completely naked and dons an SS outfit after sleeping with another man the night before, according to Cooper.
“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.
“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 at 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.
Cooper, whose co-parents Wyatt Morgan, 2, and 4-month-old Sebastian Luke with her 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.