Anderson Cooper Explains ‘Weird’ Co-Parenting Relationship With His Ex

The CNN anchor revealed the unusual co-habitation arrangement with ex Benjamin Maisani.
Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani at the Elton John AIDS Foundations 14th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit in 2015.
Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani at the Elton John AIDS Foundations 14th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit in 2015.

Anderson Cooper still lives with and co-parents with his ex-boyfriend, he told Ellen DeGeneres — but the CNN anchor was clear that they didn’t plan to get back together.

On an appearance on the talk show on Thursday, Cooper discussed his parenting relationship with his ex-boyfriend Benjamin Maisani, a French-born nightclub owner. The two share custody of nine-month-old son Wyatt.

“We actually still live in the same house because we get along really well,” Cooper told DeGeneres. “It’s weird but it works out.”

One of the reasons the couple broke up in 2018 was because Maisani didn’t think he wanted kids, Cooper added. But now, he’s “such a great parent.”

The couple remained close friends after their breakup. Shortly after Cooper announced Wyatt’s birth to the world on CNN in May, he told Stephen Colbert that he planned to co-parent with Maisani.

“Even though we’re not together anymore ... he’s my family and I want him to be Wyatt’s family as well,” he said.

He also told Howard Stern later that month that he liked the idea of Wyatt having more than one parent in his life.

Cooper with Maisani at CNN Heroes 2015 on Nov. 17, 2015.
Cooper with Maisani at CNN Heroes 2015 on Nov. 17, 2015.

“My ex is a great guy and it’s good to have two parents, if you can,” he said.

“I thought, if something happens to me or even if something doesn’t happen to me, if more people love my son and are in his life, I’m all for that.”

Wyatt will call him “Dad,” Cooper explained, and Maisani will go by the French “Papa.”

On Thursday, Cooper told DeGeneres that parenting has turned Maisani into “a big softie.”

When they took Wyatt to get his first vaccines, the baby didn’t cry, Cooper said. “But I turned around when Wyatt got his first shot and Benjamin was weeping.”

When DeGeneres suggested that the couple might get back together, though, Cooper was quick to shut that idea down.

“No,” he said, right away, to DeGeneres’ laughter.

He also said he loves the idea of Wyatt having a sibling, but that “there’s nothing in the works” right now.

“I’m not sure I can handle another,” he added.

Cooper also shared some of Wyatt’s favourite things with DeGeneres.

“I didn’t realize when you’re a parent, you have to learn all these songs,” he said. “Right now he’s really interested in the wheels on the bus, because they go round and round ... and the wipers on the bus go swish swish swish, which he seems really intrigued by.”

And “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” has turned out to be much more nuanced that he originally thought, he added.

“There’s more than one verse, which I didn’t realize,” he said. “There’s a whole journey you go on with this twinkling star. There’s an explorer on the seas, so it’s looking for the light, and navigational things — it’s very complex.”

He also said he knows he’s lucky that Wyatt, who still sleeps over 12 hours a night, is such a happy baby.

“I can hear parents around the world groaning when I say he sleeps 12 and a half hours,” Cooper said. “But he’s just a happy little chappie.”