ANDERSON COOPER LOVE SHACK

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CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has found love with the buff owner of a gay bar – and pals say the couple is moving in together.

The award-winning newsman, 42, has been quietly seeing 36-year-old New Yorker Ben Maisani for the last eight months, and they’re now house-hunting, The ENQUIRER has learned.

"Anderson has found his ‘Mr. Right’ in Ben. Their relationship is so solid they want to move in together, and they’ve been looking at Manhattan real estate," a longtime friend told The ENQUIRER.

The two met briefly years ago, and were reintroduced earlier this year, according to a CNN insider. They recently vacationed at a romantic resort in Jaipur, India – the Rambagh Palace – where their opulent $3,200-a-night room had views of the gardens of the former Maharaja palace.

"I’ve seen Anderson have crushes before, but he’s been telling pals that this is the real thing," said the CNN source. "He plans to sell his condo and move in with Ben. They looked at an old firehouse in Greenwich Village that Anderson wanted to convert into a residence."

While he’s widely considered one of TV’s sexiest newsmen, prematurely gray Cooper has long been the source of gay speculation. With Ben’s love and support, he may finally come out of the closet, the friend said.

"Anderson firmly believes that media members should keep their personal lives private, but for years he’s dropped hints that he’s gay," the source said.

"Now that he’s with Ben – who is certainly not shy about his sexuality – Anderson is seriously considering publicly acknowledging his sexuality."

Ben co-owns a raunchy gay bar, the Eastern Bloc, and while he’s in fantastic shape, he’s also an intellectual who was the valedictorian of his Hunter College graduating class in 2000, the source said. The two share a love for horror movies, good wine and photography, friends say.

"Anderson and Ben do everything together. They bike and work out at the gym," said the source. "They also like to have intimate dinners alone and with friends."

Meanwhile, the relationship has delighted their friends. "Anderson says Ben is the first guy who he can see sharing his life with," said the CNN insider.

The source added: "Up until now, Anderson has refused to comment on his sexuality. He wanted to be a serious newscaster – not ‘the gay newscaster.’ But Anderson cares so much about Ben that he’s ready to change his attitude. That’s what love will do for you."

POP FYI: Anderson is the son of heiress and 1980s jeans magnate Gloria Vanderbilt.

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