Anderson Cooper’s mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, was born into money but accomplished a lot as an iconic designer and writer. She died on June 17, 2019, at the age of 95. As reported on Cooper’s news network CNN, she was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer and died only nine days later. “Being able to spend those nine days and nights with her was a great, great blessing,” the journalist said while eulogizing his mother. “They were the most extraordinary days of my life and I’m very grateful.”
Vanderbilt had inherited a $2.5 million trust fund as a baby and made a fortune in fashion. Cooper did not expect his mother to leave him anything when she died. “My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund,” the CNN news anchor said while appearing on The Howard Stern Show in 2014. “I don’t believe in inheriting money … I think it’s an initiative sucker,” (via Page Six).
Although Cooper’s mother’s death itself was not a surprise, he did receive a surprise once she died. As covered by Page Six, the on-air news personality inherited nearly all of Vanderbilt’s roughly $200 million fortune, with his half-brother Leopold “Stan” Stokowski being left a Manhattan apartment. Cooper’s other half-brother Chris Stokowski had been estranged from their mother for decades and was cut out of the will.
“Gloria Vanderbilt died as she lived: on her own terms,” Cooper said about his mother, per People. So what caused the fashion icon to leave nearly everything to one son?
Tragedy brought Anderson Cooper closer to his mom
Anderson Cooper had a brother named Carter Cooper who killed himself in Gloria Vanderbilt’s apartment in 1988. This horrific event helped bring Anderson and his mother closer as they celebrated a somber Christmas. “Well, I remember the first Christmas we were together after it happened … and we went to the movies,” Vanderbilt recalled to People in March 2016. “[A]nd from then on we’ve never done anything about Christmas.”
In 2016, the journalist documented his mother’s life with the documentary Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper. That same year, he released a book of correspondence between the mother and son titled The Rainbow Comes and Goes; A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss. “I wanted to use the time that we have left in our lives to get to know each other as adults,” he told People in April 2016. Their relationship was an open book of sorts. “I didn’t want there to be questions that I still had about who she was and what her life was like,” Cooper said.
Just prior to his mother’s death, Cooper delighted her by announcing he was going to be a dad, per The Hollywood Reporter. He honored his mother by naming his son Wyatt Morgan Cooper. “Wyatt” was an ode to the journalist’s late father, Wyatt Emory Cooper, and “Morgan” was taken from a list of baby names that were written out by Vanderbilt when she was pregnant with Cooper (via Insider), which he found after her death.
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