Tim Cook, the leader of one of the world’s most valuable companies, is known for using his spotlight to take a public stand on major societal matters. From immigration and police brutality to climate change and LGBTQ rights, Tim Cook has been one of the most influential allies of the progressive movement.
Since he took the reins from the late Steve Jobs in 2011 as the CEO of Apple, Cook has remained a traditionally private leader. But in that time, he has solidified Apple’s pro-LGBT stance by trading off his privacy to become the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Tim Cook Came Out in 2014
Given that Cook is a notoriously private person, his sexual proclivities were not a public concern until a few years back. Although there were rumors in the media about his sexual orientation, the Apple CEO never confirmed them. For the first three years of his time as CEO of the tech company, he maintained a quiet stance about his sexuality until 2014.
Out of a tremendous sense of responsibility to do something for the greater good, and to set an example for inclusion, Cook publicly confirmed he is gay in 2014, making him the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to come out.
Though many of his colleagues already knew he was gay, Cook was inspired to speak up by a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote. The quote, “What are you doing for others?” posed him with life’s most persistent and urgent question. In his attempt to answer it, he decided to come out of the closet publicly.
The Apple CEO set aside his desire for privacy and opened up about his sexuality in an essay published by Bloomberg advocating for human rights and equality. In a 2014 editorial for Bloomberg Business, Cook told the world that he is proudly gay and considers being gay among the greatest gifts God has given him.
He is a Vocal Supporter for Gay Rights
Business leaders, especially at the power level of Tim Cook, often shy away from politically charged subjects like sexual orientation and LGBTQ rights. However, since coming out, Tim Cook has been a vocal defender of the minority group. As a native of Alabama, where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights are still limited, Tim has spoken against his home state’s record on the subject.
Pride is typically a time of gathering, community and advocacy. This year may be different, but keeping that spirit alive is urgently important. Thank you especially to the trans community for your leadership, courage and all you do to make sure tomorrow is better than today. 🌈
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) June 28, 2020
In 2020, he wrote a letter in support of a case at the Supreme Court to protect LGBTQ workers and praised the court when it ruled in favor. For his efforts, he has received the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award, Courage Against Hate Award, and the Ripple of Change Award.
Tim Cook Previously Dated A Stanford Alum
After Tim Cook came out in 2014, the world got a brief look into his personal life. First, he attended the San Francisco gay pride parade, bringing visual confirmation to his sexual orientation. Along with him at the parade was a delegation of Apple Staff, and reportedly, his boyfriend at the time, Benjamin Ling.
Benjamin Ling is an Asian American who graduated from Stanford University with Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science. His resume includes high ranking roles at Google, Facebook, and YouTube. He currently holds a position at Khosla Ventures, where he serves as a financial advisor.
Because of Tim Cook’s extreme level of privacy, we don’t know much about their relationship, such as when it began or ended.
However, we do know that unless the two of them are in a polyamorous relationship, Benjamin has since moved on to a relationship with Chris Coudron, a front-end engineer at Betable, an online game company.
He Might Be Too Busy to Date
Since his relationship with Benjamin Ling ended, Tim Cook hasn’t been linked with anyone. This might be a result of his gung-ho attitude about privacy or his hectic schedule. Running a Fortune 500 company is no easy task, and in an industry with constant moving parts like technology, keeping up with changes is a 24-hour responsibility. For CEO’s like Tim, that can leave little time to engage and build meaningful relationships.
A cursory look at his schedule shows he wakes up every day at 3:45 am. He heads to the gym till 5 am, and heads to the office by 6.30 am. As one of the busiest CEOs in the country, Tim is often the first and last person on the Apple campus. After leaving, he has a 9.30/10 pm bedtime when he shuts down for the night and starts it all over again.
This kind of schedule might explain why the influential CEO has a very quiet love life. So quiet that he has never had an officially recognized boyfriend, not to speak of being married. As further evidence of his non-existent love life, Steve Jobs, once famously called his mother to enquire about Cook’s love life. He made the call after he described the current Apple CEO has a workaholic.
However, while Tim Cook might not have someone whom he calls his partner, he hasn’t stopped using his voice and money to help those who found one live a beautiful life together.
Tim Has a Close Relationship with President Donald Trump
Tim Cook might not have a lover in his life. However, there is one relationship he has cultivated and flaunted in the full view of the world – his relationship with President Donald Trump. Tim has appeared at multiple White House events. He has also been known to have regular phone discussions with the American president.
Compared to other tech executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, the two of them have developed a close partnership that has paid off for Apple, Inc. His company has been able to escape from the harsh effects of Trump’s trade war with China. Thus, preserving the company’s ability to manufacture and distribute Apple products made in the Asian country.
It might not be the most fulfilling relationship fans of Tim Cook would like for the CEO, but it has helped him keep his status as one of the most successful business leaders in the country.