In a thoughtful letter to the Daily Beast, journalist turned talk show host Anderson Cooper finally ended speculation about his sexual orientation by confirming what many suspected - he is gay.
Cooper has been a news anchor on CNN since 2001, and his 2 hour nightly program "AC360" became a staple on the cable news network in 2005. As if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, he launched an afternoon talk show, "Anderson" last September.
Cooper has long deflected inquiries into his sexual orientation, citing the need to maintain his journalistic objectivity and neutrality. He repeated his concerns in his letter, but said he decided to come out because his silence had been misinterpreted, and he worried it had become a liability to the gay community.
"I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something," he explained, "This is distressing because it is simply not true."
Cooper is the latest in a series of celebrities making the difficult decision to "come out" publicly. Here are a few others.
Davis has accomplished the TV equivalent of winning the lottery twice. She was a semi-finalist on Season 2 of "American Idol," but was disqualified because of revealing photos she took when she was 19. Then in 2011, she advanced to the semi-finals of "The Voice" in it's first season. This time she was eliminated by audience vote .
In June she announced that - despite a bi-sexual past - she had found love with a woman, "I think I can be with forever."
Perhaps the most touching "coming out" story of the year comes from "So You Think You Can Dance" winner Benji Schwimmer, brother of "Dancing With the Stars" pro Lacey Schwimmer, and former member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, better know as the Mormons.
Schwimmer details his agonizing attempts to "fix" himself with help from Evergreen, an LDS organization for "correcting" homosexuality. During his journey he considers suicide, chemical castration, and marriage to a widow (who presumably would make few sexual demands on him), before coming to the realization that the problem is not him, it's the belief system.
"I thought, 'You know, here I am, bending over backwards to figure out how to fit in this mold, this cookie-cutter-machinery mold that I was not made into. How do I do this?'"
Zach Quinto, Dan Kloeffler
When "Star Trek" and "Heroes" star Zach Quinto came out last October, he cited the suicide of bullied teen Jamey Rodemeyer as a motivating factor.
He told ABC News, "In light of Jamey's death - it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it - is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality."
Quinto didn't realize that he, too, would become an inspiration to other men struggling with the decision to go public, until ABC News anchor, Dan Kloeffler, followed his example. Kloeffler told The Hollywood Reporter, "As a journalist, I don't want to be the story, but as a gay man I don't want to stand silent if I can offer some inspiration or encouragement to kids that might be struggling with who they are."
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