It comes down to "visibility," he says
Anderson Cooper said during the premiere of his freshly renamed daytime talk show, "Anderson Live," that he decided to come out in July because "visibility is important."
Cooper's show returned Monday to an increasingly crowded daytime field: Monday also saw the premieres of Katie Couric's new syndicated series "Katie," as well as "The Jeff Probst Show," "The Jeremy Kyle Show," and "The Ricki Lake Show."
Cooper revamped his show because of disappoining season 1 ratings. His new format calls for a rotating co-host, and his first one, Kristen Chenoweth, proved to be an inquisitive interviewer. She quickly asked Cooper about his decision to come out as gay in a column written by his friend, Andrew Sullivan.
Joking that the question made him blush, Cooper said he has always been out in his personal life and decided to come out professionally as well.
"I came out in high school," he said. "I told my friends, i told my family. I've always been out to my coworkers and stuff. … It's just not something I talked about publicly 'cause as a reporter I didn't think it was appropriate. It didn't seem part of my job."
He added: "I've been torn for a long time between a desire as a reporter to just do my job and be known as a reporter, and at the same time I do think visibility is important. … I do think that the tide of history only moves forward when everybody is fully visible."
"I didn't want to send a message that it was anything I was ashamed about or unhappy about or not comfortable with," he said.
He also said he appreciated the support he received from viewers.
"I'm the same person I always was, I do the job just the same way," he said.