The Anderson Cooper 360° host, 55, recounted how meeting a shirtless Richard Gere at age 11 helped him realize he was gay as he appeared Friday on Radio Andy with pal Andy Cohen from the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City.
He recalled meeting his mom Gloria Vanderbilt‘s gay friends as a kid, such as Truman Capote, Gore Vidal and photographer Paul Jasmin, who along with his boyfriend, took a young Cooper to see a Broadway show.
“And they took me to see Richard Gere in Bent, which if anyone doesn’t know about the play Bent, it’s about two gay guys in the concentration camp,” Cooper recounted. “I mean the opening scene… It is the gayest thing you can imagine.
“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,” he continued.
Cooper explained that the opening scene features a man getting out of bed completely naked and putting on an SS uniform after sleeping with another man the night before.
“And I just remember being like, ‘Oh my God, I’m gay. … I’m totally gay.’ And afterward, Paul Jasmin was friends with Richard Gere,” he said. “Cause Paul Jasmin took the pictures for American Gigolo and we go backstage and Richard Gere is shirtless in his dressing room.
“And I couldn’t speak. And I had my Playbill and I wanted to get him to autograph it, but I was too — I just couldn’t stop staring his chest. And so, fast forward to 10 years ago, I was interviewing Richard Gere and I took out the Playbill … and I told him the whole story and I had him sign it. Yeah. He was very tickled with it,” Cooper added.
“I’ve always believed that if you’ve been with somebody and that ends, in terms of an intimate relationship, if you love somebody, there’s no reason why that love shouldn’t continue,” Cooper said in September.ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!