Andy Cohen recently got candid about what it’s like to be a single gay parent, and shared a parenting moment that made him cry.
In a conversation with NPR in May, the 55-year-old Bravo producer became emotional as he recounted a moment in which he felt like he failed his four-year-old son, Ben. He explained that “Ben goes to a progressive nursery school in New York City” where he is not just the only single parent but also the only gay father.
He described the experience as “surprisingly lonely”, and recalled a specific time at a birthday party at a playground in which it struck him just how alone he felt in raising his child.
“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 explained. "He was the only child who couldn’t play in the sprinklers.”
He felt so mortified about the incident that when he got home, Cohen couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed and cried. “I just felt so, like, ‘Maybe you don’t know what you’re doing.’" Cohen added, “And by the way, Ben didn’t care - but I cared.”
While Cohen does have a community of fellow gay parents to rely on - including his best friend Anderson Cooper, who is currently raising sons Wyatt, 3, and Sebastian, 18 months, with ex-husband Benjamin Maisani - Cohen does feel guilty for not raising Ben with two parents to look up to.
“Ben sees that Wyatt has two gay dads,” Cohen said in an interview with The New Yorker, adding that Ben and Wyatt were best friends. “And there are two gay dads down the hall from us.”
However, Cohen doesn’t just have Cooper to lean on, as he also has longtime parents and friends Sarah Jessica Parker and Kelly Ripa to go to for advice. In 2022, Cohen shared with Today: “Kelly and Sarah Jessica have been really great because I can text them at any time, and be like, ‘Ben is constipated.’ Then I know immediately what to run out and get.”
When thinking about what his life was like before becoming a parent to both Ben and his one-year-old daughter, Lucy, the Daddy Diaries author told Today co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb: “I accessed a weight about me and a sense of worry that I never really had. I’m now thinking - what the heck did I worry about? Five years ago, what was I worried about? My tea order?”
“There are things on my calendar that I’m navigating through that I had never!” Cohen added, before nothing that “schedules, food, allergies, and playdates” were also big stressors. Although he’s felt stressed raising his children alone, Cohen said that he’s never felt more happy and fulfilled and that he “wouldn’t change it for the world.”