Anderson Cooper poses on the red carpet at the CFDA Fashion awards at the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City
Anderson Cooper, known for being stoic, giggled uncontrollably on Wednesday evening when reporting news and inserting jokes about Gerard Depardieu urinating on a plane. He is pictured here at the CFDA Fashion awards at the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City. Reuters

It's official: Anderson Cooper is gay.

The longtime CNN anchor and reporter, who regularly travels the globe covering dangerous stories in war-torn regions, gave columnist and friend Andrew Sullivan permission to publish a statement officially acknowledging his sexual orientation in the Daily Beast. Sullivan said he asked Cooper for feedback about an Entertainment Weekly story that discussed public figures who came out with little fanfare.

Cooper emailed Sullivan a lengthy disclosure and gave his friend permission to publish it.

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, Cooper wrote. I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I'm not an activist, but I am a human being, and I don't give that up by being a journalist.

Cooper has always been a notoriously private figure, but there has been little doubt of his sexual orientation though he has never previously confirmed it. Numerous media outlets have long presumed that the CNN anchor is gay, including Out magazine, which gave him the No. 2 spot on their 2007 list, The Power 50, which listed influential gays. This year, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation honored Cooper with the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism.

Celebrity media blogger Perez Hilton, who is gay and has been vocal when it comes to celebrities who are supposedly gay and don't come out, talked about Cooper's alleged sexuality in a 2010 interview with the Wrap. Hilton was asked whether coming out was a personal experience.

Absolutely, he told the Wrap. Nobody ever forces anyone to come out. Nobody ever 'outs' anyone, even though people accuse me of that. I report on celebrities; I report on the private lives of public figures. Look at someone like Anderson Cooper, who even Out magazine has reported as being gay. Has Anderson come out? No. That's his choice. He's choosing to remain in the closet even though everybody knows he's gay. And that's OK, because it's his story to tell if and when he's ready. But that doesn't mean that the gay media, myself included, shouldn't talk about Anderson Cooper being in the closet. And we shouldn't talk about how much better it would be for the community and for him if he were open.

As for Cooper, he has never been one to dish on his personal life, citing his profession as one reason.

It's a decision I made a long time ago, before I ever even knew anyone would be interested in my personal life, he told New York magazine in 2005. The whole thing about being a reporter is that you're supposed to be an observer and to be able to adapt with any group you're in, and I don't want to do anything that threatens that.

It seems as if he's had a change of heart, at least when it comes to his sexuality.

Recently, however, I've begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle, he wrote in the email to Sullivan. It's become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something -- something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick praised Cooper's announcement while acknowledging that he had previously been an important figure in the LGBT community.

Even prior to coming out publically, Anderson's terrific work has raised awareness of inequalities facing LGBT people, Graddick said. I'm proud to call him my friend. He's a role model to millions and now will inspire countless others.