Updated: 02/10/2017 01:49 PM | First Published: 02/09/2017 04:57 PM

Anderson Cooper came out as gay via email

Anderson Cooper on a swing

Anderson Cooper is arguably the most popular gay anchor in American television. The Anderson Cooper 360° anchor, who is presently dating Benjamin Maisani, had come out first to his high school friends and when he was 21, to his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. But, it wasn’t until 2012 that Anderson went public with this sexuality.

In an email sent to Andrew Sullivan, which was later published by The Daily Beast, Anderson wrote, “The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be. And I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”

Anderson had tried to keep his personal life under wraps but was encouraged to come out to the public after Sullivan interviewed him for an Entertainment Weekly story about how gay people are coming out in a matter-of-fact way.

In a 2016 interview on SiriusXM OutQ, Anderson told Michelangelo Signorile, “I’ve always known I was gay from the time I was a little kid. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of it, even before I knew what it was or the name of it.”

Anderson was awarded the Vito Russo Award by Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in honor of his significant contribution to promoting equality in the LGBT community.