CNN anchor Anderson Cooper recently revealed that an encounter with iconic actor Richard Gere as a tween is what made him realize that he was gay, and tons of people are like, "Yep, that tracks!"
Cooper told the story to his good friend and Bravo host Andy Cohen during a Pride-themed episode of Cohen's SiriusXM radio show Radio Andy.
Broadcasting from the legendary Stonewall Inn in New York City, Cooper told Cohen of seeing Gere in a gay-themed Broadway production back in 1979 and having that lightbulb moment familiar to many LGBTQ people.
Hear his story below.
As Cooper told Cohen, the production was the first Broadway production of Martin Sherman's play Bent, about gay men's experiences in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
Gere, a newly minted matinee idol hot off the success of his star-making turn in the steamy thriller Looking for Mr. Goodbar, was starring in the lead role of Max, originated in London by Ian McKellen.
Cooper told Cohen he was taken to the play by a pair of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt's retinue of gay male friends, photographer Paul Jasmin and his boyfriend.
And right from the play's opening scene--a gay-male sex scene Cooper called "the gayest thing you can imagine," Cooper started having realizations.
He told Cohen:
"I just remember being like, ‘Oh my God, I’m gay. … I’m totally gay.’"
But it wasn't until after the play that his little gay mind melted. Jasmin was friends with Gere, having photographed him during production of his then-next film, American Gigolo, so Cooper got to meet him backstage
And well... if there was any lingering doubt about his sexuality, a shirtless Richard Gere took care of that right quick.
He told Cohen:
"...[W]e 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 at his chest."
On Twitter, plenty of people understood exactly what Cooper was talking about.
\u201cHahaha, hear hear!\n\nAnderson Cooper says seeing a young Richard Gere shirtless helped him realize he's gay: 'He was so beautiful' https://t.co/w01fXO95x1\u201d— Gary Giannini (@Gary Giannini) 1656202042
\u201c@Foxmental_X @LazarusMofo @tlrd Richard Gere in American Gigolo definitely cemented my sexuality too. \ud83d\ude03\u201d— McG \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf2\ud83d\udc1d\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83d\udd96 (@McG \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf2\ud83d\udc1d\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83d\udd96) 1656277800
\u201cHim and a generation of other #gay men \u2026 https://t.co/yEmgVffr56\u201d— GeustGeoff (@GeustGeoff) 1656285280
\u201cRelatable.\nhttps://t.co/GaH5ywajcO via @pagesix\u201d— Jimi Ananda (@Jimi Ananda) 1656223213
One more accomplishment for Richard Gere to add to his resume.
Cohen's podcast was the perfect place for Cooper to share his gay origin story—the two have been close friends for ages.
And now that they're both gay dads—Cooper to sons Wyatt and Sebastian and Cohen to son Benjamin and daughter Lucy—they're swapping more than just stories about celebrity crushes. Baby clothes are in the mix too.
As Cooper told Access Hollywood when they visited the Stonewall Inn before the taping of Cohen's radio show, his son Wyatt has been sporting some stylin' "Ben-me-downs"—Cohen's son Ben's old baby clothes.
\u201c.@AndersonCooper revealed his son Wyatt got "Ben-Me-Downs" from @Andy Cohen \u2764\ufe0f\u201d— Access Hollywood (@Access Hollywood) 1656113400
Cooper posted some adorable pictures of Wyatt on Instagram just days before to celebrate Father's Day.
And Cooper's Instagram friends were definitely feeling the love.
No word on whether Wyatt's outfit was "Ben-me-downs" from Uncle Andy, but he sure looked adorable regardless.