We all have that someone who helped us realize that we are gay or bisexual. For Anderson Cooper, it’s Richard Gere. What about you, guys?
Anyway, Cooper sat down on Friday with his friend Andy Cohen and actor John Hill and got candid during the “Andy Cohen Live Pride Special” on SiriusXM’s “Radio Andy.” The 55-year-old American broadcast journalist and CNN anchor revealed that Richard Gere helped him realize he was gay.
Cooper shared that he watched the Broadway play “Bent” starring Richard Gere in the late 70s with his late mother’s—American artist, fashion designer, heiress, and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt’s—gay friends, photographer Paul Jasmin and Jasmin’s boyfriend. Bent, by the way, is a play about the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany, and it was titled as such because “bent” refers to the slang word used in some European countries to describe or refer to gay men.
“Yeah. If anyone doesn’t know about the play, Bent it’s about two gay guys in the concentration camp. I mean the opening scene… It is the gayest thing you can imagine,” Cooper said. He added:
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. And I’m watching this thing and literally the opening scene of ‘Bent,’ like there’s a guy in bed who has picked up some guy the night before, and the guy he’s picked up gets out bed is completely naked and then puts on his SS stormtrooper uniform.
And I just remember being like, ‘Oh my God, I’m gay. Like, this is… I’m totally gay.’ And afterward, Paul Jasmin was friends with Richard Gere, cause Paul Jasmine took the pictures for ‘American Gigolo’, and we go backstage and Richard Gere is shirtless in his dressing room. And I couldn’t speak. I didn’t. 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. So fast forward to, I dunno, 10 years ago I was interviewing Richard Gere and I took out the Playbill, I had the Playbill still, and I told him the whole story and I had him sign it. Yeah. He was very tickled with it.
Cooper further shared that he only told his mother he was gay after he graduated from college. At the time, he had a boyfriend for three years “whom she knew and he used to sleep over and like nobody was making up a spare bed, but she never asked about it. You know?” He related, “So I said to her, finally, I stupidly said, ‘I think I’m gay.’ I wanted to kind of couch it. And she said, ‘huh?’ She said, ‘well, don’t make any definite decisions.’”
He added, “It was surprising … But she was cool about it. But she was just like, ‘well, don’t make any definite decisions.’ Which was not the response I was expecting. So, I was like, ‘let’s put a pin in it for now.’”
“Did you ever come back to it?” Cohen asked.
“Yeah, we did. We came back to it and really, it’s too long and boring a story. Her mother was probably bisexual. Her mother was revealed to have had a lesbian relationship during a court battle in 1932. That was a scandal in New York. It shut down the court. And my mom was taken away. My mother’s mother lost custody of her in part because of that, because she was accused of being a lesbian. So there was all this stuff in my mom’s head about that.”
Listen to the interview in full below: