At the end of last night’s “Town Hall” on CNN, the latest in a series of weekly programs devoted to the coronavirus pandemic, host Anderson Cooper had a surprise for the viewers: He’s now a father.
In the final minutes of the show, Cooper, 52, looked into the camera and said “It has been a difficult time in all of our lives, and there are certainly many hard days ahead. It is, I think, especially important in these times of trouble to try to hold on to moments of joy and moments of happiness. Even as we mourn the loss of loved ones, we are also blessed with new life and new love.”
Then, with a shy smile beginning to grow in his face, he announced his news: “On Monday, I became a father,” Cooper said, breaking into a brief laugh. “I’ve never actually said that before, out loud, and it still kind of astonishes me. I am a dad. I have a son. And I want you to meet him.”
Cooper then showed a few recently posted photos from his Instagram account of Wyatt Morgan Cooper (“7.2 pounds at birth, and he is sweet and soft and healthy, and I am beyond happy), as well as one of Cooper cradling and feeding his newborn son.
The baby boy is named after Cooper’s father, Wyatt, who died when Cooper was 10. “I hope I can be as good a dad as he was,” he said Thursday night. Cooper said his son’s middle name, Morgan, comes from the family tree of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt, who died last last year. (Cooper’s lone sibling, Carter, committed suicide in 1988.)
“I do wish my mom and dad and my brother, Carter were alive to meet Wyatt,” Cooper said, “but I like to believe they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing and watching, looking down on us. Happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt… and that our family continues. New life and new love.”
Cooper also thanked the “remarkable” woman who acted as the surrogate and “who carried Wyatt, watched over him lovingly, tenderly, and gave birth to him,” while also acknowledging he doubted this day would ever come. “As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child,” Cooper said, “and I am grateful for all those who paved the way.”
Brian Stelter, a CNN colleague, wrote last night that the news of Cooper’s fatherhood “came as a big surprise to CNN viewers, as Cooper had not spoken publicly about his plans to have a baby.” One person who did know, though, was CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, who joined Cooper on screen (remotely, because of social distancing) after Cooper disclosed that he had told him the news a few days earlier. “I can’t believe I kept a secret,” Gupta said, chuckling.
Cooper will apparently being raising Wyatt as a single father for now. In 2018, Cooper released a statement that he had split from his longtime partner, bar owner Benjamin Maisani.