|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
Anderson Cooper is reportedly preparing to marry his long-term boyfriend - and the nuptials could take place as soon as Labor Day. It comes just weeks after the CNN news anchor spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time, saying: 'The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be more happy.'
Cooper, 45, is now planning to marry his boyfriend Ben Maisani, whom he has been dating since at least 2009, in New York City later this year, the National Enquirer reported.
'He'd been considering breaking the news [about being gay] since same-sex marriage became legal in the state of New York last summer,' a source told the Enquirer.
'It's been about a year now and he wants to get married to Ben. They're totally committed to one another.'
French-born Maisani, 39, lives with Cooper in his converted fire station townhouse and together they enjoy a low-key lifestyle - workouts at Chelsea's David Barton Gym and dinners with friends, including Kelly Ripa, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.
They showed off their affection for each other while dining in Morandi in New York's West Village on Sunday. They enjoyed dinner with Bravo host Andy Cohen, who is also openly gay.
'They're a very low-key couple who sticks to their routine,' a source told In Touch magazine.
They were encouraged to marry last year by Anderson's mother, designer Gloria Vanderbilt. She reportedly helped the pair patch up their relationship after they struggled with conflicting work schedules.
Cooper agreed to cut back on trips abroad, while Maisani, who owns gay bar Eastern Bloc in Manhattan's East Village, conceded that he would do fewer night shifts.
Vanderbilt, 88, was also encouraging the men to adopt a child, with sources telling the Enquirer that the grandmother-of-three was desperate to see her son settled down.
Although Cooper did not publicly announce his sexuality until a few weeks ago, his relationship with Maisani was known, and they had been pictured together.
After coming out through in an interview on the Daily Beast, Cooper thanked his fans for their support.
Cooper wrote on Twitter: 'I appreciate all the nice tweets. I am in Botswana working but want to wish everyone a great 4th of July!'
In the interview, he said that he did not want people to think he is 'trying to hide something' and that he is 'proud' of who he is.
In candid comments he said that he was taking a stand because 'the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible'.
'In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted,' he continued.
'I'm not an activist, but I am a human being and I don't give that up by being a journalist.'
He added he was moved by recent events such as Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage - and hopes his example will put an end to bullying.
Cooper's sexuality has long been an open secret in TV circles, but for him to state it publicly is a brave and bold move.
He is also one of the most high profile people to come out in recent years, given that he hosts CNN's 'Anderson Cooper 360' and his own daytime TV talk show.
He said he had decided to come out because he did not want to give the impression he was ashamed of his sexuality, and feared he might be setting a bad example.
He said: 'Recently I've begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle.
'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.
'I've also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible.
'There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.'
Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Don Lemon, Kelly Ripa and Joan Rivers took to Twitter to show their support for Cooper.