Time was, coming out of the closet meant People magazine covers and "Exclusive!" banners.
No longer. While coming out remains an occassion of huge importance for many public figures, the route of choice these days is to casually mention your sexuality in an interview, drop it into conversation, or make your manifesto in an email and let your friend release it to the world at large, as Anderson Cooper did today.
Click through to see how Cooper and three other stars have come out without fanfare in the past year:
The CNN anchor and daytime talk show host came out in an email to the Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan that was published on Sullivan's blog this morning. Cooper, 45, was responding to an Entertainment Weekly article about how gay public figures are increasingly coming out in more restrained ways than in the past.
"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.
Cooper explained that he kept his sexuality private "for professional reasons," but had "begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle." Instances of gay bullying made him "believe there is value in making clear where I stand."
While he didn't go into the specifics about romantic relationships, he wrote,"I am also blessed far beyond having a great career. I love, and I am loved."
Parsons, the Emmy-winning star of CBS' "Big Bang Theory," came out in a New York Times article published in May. Writer Patrick Healy connected the dots while explaining why the play "The Normal Heart," in which Parsons played a young gay rights activist, resonated with him deeply: "Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said."
Parsons, 39, has yet to comment further on his sexuality. Though the Times didn't identify the actor's partner, he thanked Todd Spiewak, a man he's been romantically linked to for years, during a 2010 Emmy Award acceptance speech.
"White Collar" actor Bomer went public with his sexuality at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards in February. While accepting an award for his work fighting HIV/AIDS, Bomer said he'd "really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry.... You will always be my proudest accomplishment." That was a nod to his longtime partner, Hollywood publicist Simon Halls, and the three children they've had via surrogates. Following that acknowledgement, in April, Bomer and Halls made a rare red carpet appearance together.
"Star Trek" star Quinto decided to talk openly about his sexuality after the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old gay rights activist who took his life after years of anti-gay bullying. "As a gay man I look at that and say there's a hopelessness that surrounds it," he told New York Magazine in October. "But as a human being I look at it and say 'Why? Where's this disparity coming from, and why can't we as a culture and society dig deeper to examine that?' We're terrified of facing ourselves.'"
Qunito, 35, further elaborated about his decision to come out on his blog. "In light of Jamey's death -- it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it -- is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality," he wrote. "Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country."
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