"I've always known I was gay from the time I was a little kid," the CNN anchor told the Huffington Post's Michelangelo Signorile on Monday. "I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware of it, even before I knew what it was or the name of it."
What's more, Cooper believes "being gay is a blessing" and he "couldn't be more proud" of his sexuality.
The 45-year-old journalist also talked about the 1988 suicide of his brother, Carter, and how that tragedy influenced his career.
"If you feel like an outsider, you tend to observe things a lot more," Cooper said. "Early on I felt very much like an observer, because I knew I was gay, I knew I was somehow different. If you learn the language of loss early, I think you seek out others who have experienced the same thing, who speak the same language of loss."
Meanwhile, the gay rights organization GLAAD will honor Cooper with its Vito Russo Award at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 16. The accolade is given to an openly gay, lesbian or transgender figure who has made a significant difference in promoting equality. Madonna will present Cooper with the award.