Anderson Cooper says he came out gay to make a statement, adding that he feels it's an important statement for public figures.

Cooper, who came out gay earlier this year after ducking rumors for years, appeared on ABC's daytime talk show The View.

The 45-year-old Cooper said he first came out to friends and family in high school but kept quiet publicly because his work as a CNN correspondent often takes him to places where violence against gay people is routine.

“I wanted a certain amount of privacy in my public life,” he said. “Also I travel to a lot of very dangerous areas. I started as a war correspondent traveling by myself. And I didn't want to do anything that would add danger. I traveled to a lot of places where they kill gay people, and still continue to kill gay people. You know, Iraq, Afghanistan.”

“But I also got to the point where I feel as a public person there is a responsibility to send the message that I'm very proud of being gay, I couldn't be happier being gay, and that you can be successful and you can be happy. And for those of us in public life, I just think it's important to make that statement.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)