March 25, 2023

Contributor, PEOPLE
Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani may have broken up, but the pair remain best friends.
After first meeting in 2009, the broadcast journalist and his businessman ex-boyfriend confirmed their relationship in 2015 with a series of red carpet appearances. Three years later, after much speculation, Cooper announced that he and Maisani had split up as romantic partners but that their love would always last.
When Cooper had son Wyatt Morgan in 2020, the pair proved that statement true when they decided to co-parent. “While we were a couple, he wasn’t sure he wanted kids, which was one of the issues we’d always had,” Cooper told PEOPLE in the first-ever Pride issue. “But when I decided, ‘I’m just going to do this,’ he started to be interested.” The former couple announced the birth of their second child, Sebastian Luke, in 2022.
“I’ve always believed that if you’ve been with somebody and that ends, in terms of an intimate relationship, if you love somebody, there’s no reason why that love shouldn’t continue,” Cooper said of Maisani.
From their global travels to their adventures as co-parents, here's everything you need to know about Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani's relationship.
Cooper publicly came out as gay in July of 2012 in an open letter to his longtime friend, journalist Andrew Sullivan.
"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," Cooper wrote.
While the couple hadn’t yet confirmed their relationship publicly, Maisani seemingly addressed the speculation and attention surrounding it during a 2014 appearance on a French talk show. “I understand that it interests people, but it doesn’t interest me,” the French businessman said. “Like most people, I never really thought about it, and I never wanted to be a celebrity. I knew I’d have to be careful right from the start before it had a chance to get out of hand.”
Cooper and Maisani officially confirmed their relationship when they walked the red carpet together at the 26th annual GLAAD Awards.
Later that night, Cooper presented his good friend and talk show host Kelly Ripa with the GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award.
The couple enjoyed a night out together at the 14th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit in New York City. They showed some rare PDA and walked the red carpet hand-in-hand.
Cooper and Maisani celebrated Christmas 2016 a few days early with Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos.
In February 2022, Cooper joked that their son Wyatt was “in love” with Ripa and Consuelos’ daughter, Lola.
A few days later, the couple headed Myanmar for a Christmas vacation. In a series of images posted to Instagram, the pair could be seen exploring the country and taking in the views. One sweet photo shows Cooper and Maisani posing while holding a puppy they met at a Buddhist Monastery.
Cooper and Maisani continued their travels with a trip to Venice. Maisani, who studied art history, enjoyed the city’s many museums. “He is the art expert … I’m the complainer who wants to take naps,” Cooper wrote on Instagram.
For their next vacation, Cooper and Maisani traveled to Tahiti with some A-list friends, including Bradley Cooper, Irina Shayk, Allison Williams, Diane von Furstenberg and Andy Cohen.
“Part of the [sic] funnest group ever!” von Furstenberg wrote on Instagram alongside a group photo.
Speaking with Town & Country magazine, the couple opened up about building their art collection with the help of the European Fine Art Fair.
Cooper admitted that before meeting Maisani, he wasn't exactly an art buff but that the couple did have a strategy for collecting art: "It's about building up a collection that represents who we are."
Maisani added that they were able to adapt to each other's personal preferences and style. "Anderson definitely has more of a modern, contemporary sensibility, but after a few years of living with my Old Masters, he grew to love them," he explained.
After months of speculation, Cooper announced in March 2018 that he and Maisani had split but that the former couple would remain close friends.
“Benjamin and I separated as boyfriends some time ago,” he told PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. “We are still family to each other, and love each other very much.”
Following the 2019 passing of his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, Cooper announced in April 2020 that he had welcomed a baby boy via surrogate, Wyatt Morgan. Wyatt was named after Cooper’s late father, Wyatt Cooper.
"I hope I can be as good a dad as he was," Cooper said on Instagram. "As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I'm grateful for all those who have paved the way."
Shortly after Wyatt’s birth, Cooper announced that he and Maisani would be co-parenting him. “He’s my family and I want him to be Wyatt’s family, as well,” Cooper said at the time.
In February 2022, Cooper announced that Maisani officially adopted Wyatt and that his new name would be Wyatt Morgan Maisani-Cooper.
"We're a family," the CNN anchor said, adding, "Wyatt calls me 'Daddy' and Benjamin 'Papa.' "
In PEOPLE’s first-ever Pride issue, Cooper opened up about how becoming a father had changed his perspective on life.
"It feels like my life has actually begun, and I sort of wonder, 'what was I waiting for?' " he said. "I feel invested in the future in a way I hadn't really before."
During a virtual appearance on The Ellen Show, Cooper talked about co-parenting with Maisani and revealed that the former couple still lived together.
When host Ellen DeGeneres pressed Cooper about rekindling his romance with Maisani, Cooper laughed it off, saying, “No, that’s not going to happen.”
During an appearance on The Stephen Colbert Show, Cooper revealed that he missed Wyatt’s first steps while away on a business trip and learned about it via text from Maisani.
"He should have lied and said, 'Oh no, he's not walking at all,' so when I got home and he walked, we'd be like, 'Oh my god! It's the first walk,' " Cooper said.
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Cooper and Maisani got candid about co-parenting. “It’s awesome. It’s probably an unusual setup, but I knew he would be a great dad, and he is,” Cooper said.
"Anderson has changed a lot since Wyatt arrived," added Maisani. "He's happy and relaxed in a way he's never been before."
On Feb. 10, 2022, Cooper and Maisani welcomed their second child, Sebastian Luke Maisani-Cooper. Cooper revealed the happy news on his show, Anderson Cooper 360, and also shared the news about Maisani officially adopting Wyatt.
Cooper shared a rare photo of his whole family on Instagram to celebrate son Wyatt’s second birthday. “He is sweet and funny, kind and caring. Your Papa and brother and I love you sooooo much!” Cooper wrote in the caption.
As Cooper celebrated Father’s Day in N.Y.C., he reflected on losing his dad at age 10. Alongside a photo of Wyatt sitting on his shoulders, Cooper shared that while the holiday has always been hard for him, he’s found new meaning in the day after becoming a father himself.
"But today I celebrated Father's Day, remembering my dad, Wyatt, with little Wyatt and Sebastian and their Papa, Benjamin," he wrote. "I can't believe how lucky I am."
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