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In an email to journalist Andrew Sullivan that was posted on the Daily Beast, Anderson Cooper acknowledged that he is “gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”
The personal life of the popular CNN and CBS newsman has long been a matter of interest and speculation, but Cooper had always sidestepped the issue of his sexuality. But the culture has changed — evolved, you might say — and the recent June 29 EW cover story, below, captured that shift.
Fifteen years ago, when the star of a popular TV comedy decided to come out of the closet, it was big news. Not just big: It was the cover of Time magazine; a major story on Oprah, Primetime Live, and CNN; and the subject of a New York Times editorial that took her to task for her ”ostentatious display of affection with her lover in front of President Clinton.” At the time, it scarcely mattered that Ellen DeGeneres protested that she’d ”never wanted to be the spokesperson for the gay community.” That role was automatically assigned — by both the news media and a gay population desperate for high-visibility representatives — to any famous person who took such a rare public step. It was not to be relinquished for months, or perhaps years. She’d be expected to weigh in on everything from civil unions to ”Don’t ask, don’t tell” until the next willing celebrity came along.
Last month, another star of a popular TV comedy went public with his homosexuality. But the news that The Big Bang Theory‘s Emmy winner Jim Parsons is gay was reported with such matter-of-fact understatement that my first reaction was a quick Google search to see if maybe he was out already and we’d all just failed to notice. Parsons did not seek out any magazine covers; in fact, he turned down several offers. Instead, the ”big reveal” about his sexuality came in the 33rd paragraph of a Times profile about his return to Broadway this summer in Harvey. READ FULL STORY »