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Andy Cohen may spend his days rubbing elbows with reality show stars and celebrities, but at night, he's just like every other working parent ... exhausted from middle-of-the-night wake-ups from his kids.
Chatting on the "After Bedtime with Big Little Feelings" podcast with parenting coach Kristin Gallant and licensed child therapist Deena Margolin, Cohen was running on fumes after being "emotionally exhausted" from hosting the Salt Lake City reunion show the day prior.
After the reunion wrapped, Cohen went out to dinner with his parents, drank "a couple tequilas" and went to bed at 11:30 p.m. Inevitably, Cohen's daughter Lucy cried on and off around 1 a.m. and his son Ben woke up for the day at 6:30 a.m.
"I am very tired," Cohen admitted. "I will say, I think dealing with toddlers is far more challenging than dealing with Housewives or Bravolebrities."
What's the difference?
"You can't reason with a toddler. You can kind of reason with a Housewife," he said.
Later, Cohen said that raising a toddler "has impacted me at a lot of the reunions ... I do find myself occasionally going into 'Ben's daddy mode' as opposed to 'Housewife daddy mode.'"
In dealing with wildly different personalities, Cohen tries to remember that "people just want to be heard. And that's with little kids, and that's with stars of reality shows or Housewives."
Having children helped Cohen better understand the parents on Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise.
“You can say a lot about the Housewives, but they’re great moms,” Cohen tells TODAY.com in an exclusive digital interview.
“One of the unexpected joys of my time with the Wives is that now, when we’re on breaks from reunions, we’re sitting there waiting, getting touched up and stuff, and we all talk about our kids and about parenting," he added. "It’s opened up a portal to the way they parent that I never used to care about very much, frankly.”
Coming home to Ben and Lucy each day, says Cohen, is what matters to him.
"If I go on Twitter at any given moment, it’s a battlefield about politics, or people telling me that I messed up a show completely, or that I’m this, that, or the other," Cohen says. "But Ben today: I was like, ‘Ben, I love you.’ He goes, ‘However many stars there are in the sky is how much I love you.’ And I’m set for the day. ... This little boy loves me for as many stars as there are? The rest doesn’t really matter!”
When it comes to social media, Cohen shares silly moments (like eating potato chips for breakfast) along with the serious moments of parenting.
In May, he became emotional while recounting a story about a time he felt like he had failed his eldest child.
“Ben goes to a progressive nursery school in New York City. I’m the only single parent and I’m the only gay dad,” Cohen, 55, revealed during a conversation with NPR. It’s an experience Cohen once described as “surprisingly lonely."
During his chat with NPR, Cohen illustrated what he meant by lonely, when he recalled a birthday party Ben attended at a playground.
“It was unseasonably warm and all of a sudden, the sprinklers went on and all the moms suddenly had changes of clothes for the kids so they could run around in the sprinklers and Ben didn’t,” Cohen said. "He was the only child who couldn’t play in the sprinklers.”
The Bravo host said he cried when he got home.
“I just felt so, like, ‘Maybe you don’t know what you’re doing,'" Cohen said.
“And by the way, Ben didn’t care — but I cared,” he added.
Cohen went on to express gratitude for the “fellowship of other gay dads,” including his best friend, Anderson Cooper. The CNN anchor is raising kids Wyatt, 3, and Sebastian, 18 months, with his former partner Benjamin Maisani. Ben and Wyatt are BFFs, and are often pictured together on Cohen's Instagram.
“Ben sees that Wyatt has two gay dads, and there are two gay dads down the hall from us,” Cohen shared with the “The New Yorker” earlier this year.
Cohen also leans on friends and veteran moms Kelly Ripa and Sarah Jessica Parker when he needs advice.
“Kelly and Sarah Jessica have been really great because I can text them at any time, and be like, ‘Ben is constipated,’” Cohen told TODAY.com in 2022. “Then I know immediately what to run out and get.”
“The Daddy Diaries” author is quick to note he’s happier than he’s ever been with Ben and Lucy in his life.
“I want to be everything for them,” Cohen told TODAY co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb in May. “As a single parent, there is the feeling of ‘I need to be there,' and I’m always kicking myself for time not spent with them and trying to dissect what it all means and seeking out parent friends for advice.
“But I wouldn’t change it for the world, by the way,” he added.
Read on to learn to learn more about Cohen's kids, Ben and Lucy.
Benjamin Allen Cohen, 4
“He is named after my grandfather Ben Allen,” Cohen wrote, in part. “I’m in love. And speechless. And eternally grateful to an incredible surrogate. And I’m a dad. Wow.”
In the picture, a beaming Cohen is shown cradling newborn Ben to his chest. Later that month, Cohen opened up about fatherhood to TODAY anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.
“There is a comfort in knowing that he’s there waiting for me,” Cohen said. "I went out for my first night away from him, just for dinner with friends the other night, and I was sitting there and I realized, ‘Wow! I love it that he’s there at home for me.’ It’s an anchor. It’s my family. I was like, ‘I love this feeling.’”
When Anderson Cooper welcomed his son Wyatt in 2020, the two boys became besties, just like their dads.
“We’ll get over there and Wyatt will be sleeping and Anderson will say, ‘Do you want to come into his room to wake him up with me?’" Cohen told People in 2021. “And Ben’s like, ‘Yeah.’ And so they go in there and they wake them up and it’s really cute.
“Ben always gives Wyatt a hug and gives him a kiss,” Cohen added.
The following year, Cohen shared a photo of Ben and Wyatt sitting in the host chairs on the set of "Watch What Happens Live."
"New WWHL co-hosts Ben & Wyatt are taking over my show. Thanks for a great run, Bravo!" Cohen captioned the adorable photo.
Over the years, Cohen has treated his Instagram followers to relatable parenting content — like the time Ben had a tantrum during a drive home from a weekend getaway.
“You just watched ‘Bob the Builder’ for six hours while I packed the car up,” Cohen said as the little one continued his meltdown. “You can’t want to watch more.”
“I do!” he whimpered.
"Bob the Builder," is just one of Ben's favorite things. He's also a huge fan of potato chips.
“Ben, what are you doing hiding behind a chair with two bags of chips at 7 in the morning?” Cohen asked in an Instagram video posted on Aug. 19.
“Eating chips because I love chips,” Ben responded.
“I do it every day,” he added.
Ben is clearly hilarious and could have a future in comedy, but his dad predicts he'll be an architect.
In May, Cohen showed his Instagram followers a structure his son created with Magna-tiles.
“What is this, Ben?” Cohen asked. “Is that an airport? And it looks like there’s a place for boats, too.” Ben informed his dad that created a "boat home" and "helicopter home."
“Wow, this is really good! I think you’re gonna be an architect, Ben," Cohen gushed, to which Ben replied, "You can help me finish it right now … I’ll bring over the Magna-Tiles.”
Cohen stopped sharing photos of Ben's face once he became school age to protect the little boy's privacy.
Lucy Eve Cohen, 19 months
“HERE’S LUCY!!!!! Meet my daughter, Lucy Eve Cohen!” Cohen wrote on Instagram. “She’s 8 pounds 13 oz and was born at 5:13 pm in New York City!!! Her big brother can’t wait to meet her!”
The TV personality also shouted out his "rock star" surrogate, adding, "ALL surrogates are rockstars by the way."
During a 2023 appearance on the "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast, Cohen revealed that Lucy was one of the first children born with the help of a gestational surrogate in the state of New York.
Gestational surrogacy uses the egg of the mother and the sperm of the father or sperm donor to create an embryo, which is then transferred to the uterus of the surrogate via in vitro fertilization. It was illegal in New York until February 2021, when the Child-Parent Security Act was passed.
Lucy's moniker has special meaning, Cohen explained on "Watch What Happens Live."
"Louis is a big name in my family — two great grandfathers and my dad, all named Louis,” Cohen, who was born in St. Louis, Missouri, said. “So that’s where I got Lucy. I’ve always loved the name Lucy, by the way.”
Her middle name, Eve, also has family significance: Cohen’s mother is named Evelyn.
On Aug. 29, Cohen shared a sweet photo of himself and Lucy.
“Preppies,” Cohen wrote.
At just 5 months old, Lucy made an appearance at BravoCon with her father. In the photos Cohen posted on Instagram, Lucy is shown with a pink bow in her hair.
“Bring your Daughter to #BravoCon Day!” Cohen wrote on Instagram.
There’s also no shortage of adorable Lucy videos. In February 2023, the proud dad blessed the world with 52 seconds of pure joy: his daughter laughing.
Cohen, who described himself to The New Yorker as "an older dad," said it was important for him to give Ben a sibling.
"If something, God forbid, ever happened to me I don’t want to abandon him. So he and his sister will always have each other. And, by the way, of course I’m so glad I did it, and it’s wonderful, and she’s so cute. And I’m so glad I have a girl now," he gushed.
As of March 2023, Ben was still getting used to having a little sister.
“Ben is alternately just trying to love her and kill her,” Cohen shared on “The Tonight Show," as host Jimmy Fallon held up a photo of the day Ben first met Lucy.
So in other words, they're just like any other brother and sister!
This article was originally published on TODAY.com