Gayle King definitely said something that sounds a lot like, "I'm gay" ... during "CBS This Morning" -- what's not clear is why she said it, and if she was joking.
Watch the clip ... she and co-hosts Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose are having a convo with a guest about choosing the right mate -- and Gayle jokes with Charlie that they'd be a perfect couple.
But then she backs away, saying ... "I'm just kidding. I'm gay."
Well, that's how it sounds. But we've spoken to people at CBS who tell us ... Gayle says that's NOT what she said, and if she was she would have said it years ago.
As for what she really DID say -- Gayle says she was stuttering after saying she was kidding.