US journalist and television presenter Anderson Cooper has publicly confirmed he is gay.

Cooper has never before publicly confirmed his sexual orientation, citing his desire for neutrality as a journalist.

In email to blogger Andrew Sullivan, which Cooper has allowed to be published online on The Daily Beast today, he confirms his homosexuality.

Cooper said his longstanding silence on the question of his sexual orientation was motivated in part by his personal desire for privacy and for his neutrality and personal safety as a journalist.

He wrote: “Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own.”

He said he had come to consider, however, whether “the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle”.

Cooper said he was “distressed” that his silence could be construed as him “trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid”.

He continued: “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.

“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.”

He confirmed he had “always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues.”

In the email, he added that he had “never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one”, and was “blessed” in his career as a journalist.

But, he concluded: “I am also blessed far beyond having a great career. I love, and I am loved. In my opinion, the ability to love another person is one of God’s greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life.”

In 2007, Out Magazine named Cooper alongside actors Jodie Foster, David Hyde Pearce and Sean Hayes as stars it said were living in a “glass closet” by refusing to end speculation about their sexuality.