"I never said I wasn't gay or tried to hide it or pretend anything else. I just didn't want to talk about it."
Anderson Cooper said he wished he had announced he was gay to the world "sooner."
During a guest appearance on Thursday's "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the CNN anchor revealed his journey to coming out of the closet to the public, as he had done so to family and friends while in high school.
"I was open at work, but, yes, in a public way, I was not," he told Ellen DeGeneres during an online interview. "I hadn't made a statement about it. I never said I wasn't gay or tried to hide it or pretend anything else. I just didn't want to talk about it."
"By not saying something, it seemed like I was indicating that I was somehow ashamed of something or not happy being gay," he continued. "The complete opposite has always been the case."
"So I felt bad. By not saying something, I seemed to be saying something."
Anderson and Ellen recalled how he was on her show back in 2010, two years before he came out publicly, but the pair had discussed his sexuality privately.
By 2012, Anderson was ready for the world to know with the help of his then-boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani.
"I thought, 'OK, well, I want to say something.' So I did and I couldn't be happier. Even though you think you're out, you think everybody knows, it doesn’t matter, [but] it does matter. It makes a difference."
He added, "And I think it's important for me to have said the word 'gay.' That I'm gay and I'm proud of it."