Anderson Cooper says he realized he was gay after meeting a shirtless Richard Gere backstage at a Broadway play | Breaking News Updates

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Anderson Cooper attends CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute in New York on December 12, 2021; Richard Gere attends the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California on January 6, 2019.Dominik Bindl/Getty Images; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

  • Anderson Cooper opened up about the moment he realized he was gay Friday on “Radio Andy.”

  • Cooper said he came to the conclusion after seeing Richard Gere in the 1979 Broadway play “Bent.”

  • Cooper said he met a shirtless Gere backstage after the show and “couldn’t talk”.

Anderson Cooper opened up about the moment he realized he was gay on Friday during the “Andy Cohen Live Pride Special” on SiriusXM’s “Radio Andy.”

The CNN host sat down with Cohen and actor John Hill at the iconic Stonewall Inn in New York City. People reports that Cooper recalled watching the Broadway play “Bent” in the late 1970s with photographer Paul Jasmin and Jasmin’s boyfriend, who were friends with Cooper’s mother, the late fashion designer and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt.

Richard Gere starred in the play about the persecution of homosexuality in Nazi Germany.

“And that was Richard Gere in 1977’s ‘In Search of Mr. Goodbar.’ He was so handsome. And here I am. My mom didn’t go. It was just me and my mom’s two gay friends,” he said.

Cooper called the opening scene, in which a man stands up completely naked and puts on a uniform, “the most gay thing you could imagine”.

“And I just remember saying, ‘Oh my God, I’m gay. … I’m totally gay,” he said.

After the play ended, Cooper said Jasmin took him backstage to meet Gere, who he worked with on the movie “American Gigolo.” Cooper shared that Gere was shirtless in his dressing room when Cooper first met him.

“I couldn’t talk. I had my program and I wanted him to autograph it, but I just couldn’t help but stare at his chest,” Cooper told Cohen.

It came full circle for Cooper when he later interviewed Richard Gere and asked him to sign the original poster. He said Gere was “very tickled” by the story.

Representatives for Cooper and Gere did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen and John Hill laugh at a table with a white and rainbow tablecloth holding microphones

Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen and John Hill tape a live broadcast of ‘Andy Cohen Live’ at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 24, 2022.Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Cooper also shared more about how he dated his mother. He said he didn’t tell her he was gay until he graduated from college, and even though she was “cool about it,” she told him not to take ” final decisions”. Cooper came out publicly in 2012.

In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Jess Cagle and People, Vanderbilt shared with Cooper that she had a “brief supposedly lesbian relationship” when she was 13. Vanderbilt also said her understanding of LGBTQ issues was shaped by the gossip surrounding her mother, who was “accused” of being a lesbian during a 1932 custody battle between Vanderbilt’s parents.

“I think almost everyone passes at some point of course, the thing is now we realize there’s no difference,” Vanderbilt told People and EW at the time. “Love is love.”

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