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The 55-year-old TV host – who is the son of late heiress Gloria Vanderbilt and actor Wyatt Cooper – went to see the ‘Pretty Woman' actor, 72, starring in the gay-themed play ‘Bent' back in 1977 with his mother's friends and knew he was gay when Richard appeared on stage.
He said: “They took me to see Richard Gere in Bent, which if anyone doesn't know about the play Bent, it's about two gay guys in the concentration camp. I mean the opening scene… It is the gayest thing you can imagine. And this was Richard Gere in 1977 [around the time he was in] ‘Looking for Mr. Goodbar'. He was so beautiful. And I'm there. My mom didn't go. It was just me and my mom's two gay friends. And I just remember being like, ‘Oh my God, I'm gay. … I'm totally gay.' “
The CNN star – who has son Wyatt, two, and Sebastian, four months, via a surrogate and continues to raise them with his ex-boyfriend Benjamin Maisani – went on to reveal that he even got to meet Richard Gere after the show in his dressing room and “couldn't speak” when he laid eyes on the shirtless star.
Speaking on ‘Radio Andy', he added: “And afterward, Paul Jasmin was friends with Richard Gere. Cause Paul Jasmin took the pictures for ‘American Gigolo' and we 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. And so, fast forward to 10 years ago, I was interviewing Richard Gere and I took out the Playbill … and I told him the whole story and I had him sign it. Yeah. He was very tickled with it.”