Anderson Cooper rose to fame as an anchor on CNN, but the 53-year-old is happiest in his starring role as doting dad, he tells People.

Cooper is co-parenting with his former partner Benjamin Maisani, 47, and he shared a peek into his new life with Wyatt Morgan, saying it has been an extraordinary journey, especially as a gay man. 

He told People for its first-ever Pride issue: “When I was 12 years old and knew I was gay and thought about my life, it always upset me because I thought, ‘I will never be able to have a kid.’ This is a dream come true.”

Cooper said: “It feels like my life has actually begun,” Cooper continues. “And I sort of wonder, what was I waiting for? This is a new level of love. It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced, and yet it’s also very familiar and incredibly special and intimate. It’s really extraordinary.”

Cooper added that becoming a father made him more motivated to cover news in a new way: “I feel invested in the future in a way I hadn’t really before. There’s something about having a child that makes you feel connected to what is happening and you want to make sure that the world this child is growing up in is a better one. You suddenly worry much more about the future of all of us.”

It has also made him more emotional: “I cry at things I never cried at before. And Benjamin, I’ve never seen him cry, but I couldn’t believe how weepy he gets with Wyatt. I find myself being overwhelmed with emotion, and it’s a lovely thing.”