After keeping his sexual orientation private "for professional reasons" for many years, Anderson Cooper revealed that he's gay in an email to columnist Andrew Sullivan that was published on The Daily Beast today.

Sullivan asked Cooper to comment on a recent Entertainment Weekly article about gay people in the public eye, and Cooper responded by writing, "The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."

According to Cooper, he finally decided to come out because he felt that silence gave the wrong impression. "It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something -- something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true," he wrote.

Cooper then gave Sullivan permission to publish the exchange because he believes there's value in "standing up and being counted."

"I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn’t mean an end to a small amount of personal space," Cooper wrote. "But I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy."