Anderson Cooper won’t inherit any of mom Gloria Vanderbilt’s $200 million fortune


If you have ten minutes today, just spend some time perusing Gloria Vanderbilt’s Wiki page. Gloria’s life has been surrounded by scandal, controversies, artists, royalty and unimaginable wealth and privilege. When she came of age, she inherited a fortune, but she also built her own empire of clothing, fragrances, china, linens and sundries. She has been married four times, has four children and she also had a string of famous lovers (she banged Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra). One of her surviving children is CNN’s Anderson Cooper, of course. Anderson is the youngest of her children, and they are reportedly very, very close.

So with all of the scandal and tragedy that has haunted Gloria Vanderbilt throughout her life, you’d think that she would want to bring her children even closer to her and help them build their own fabulous lives, partly bankrolled by her wealth, right? Not so much. Anderson Cooper was on Howard Stern yesterday, and Coop said that Gloria will not be leaving him any money when she passes:

No inheritance for Anderson! CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who comes from the Vanderbilts, one of the wealthiest families in American history, said Monday, March 31, that he will not be receiving any fortune from his mother Gloria Vanderbilt.

“My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund,” Cooper told Howard Stern on his radio show. “There’s none of that.”

Cooper’s mom is the great-great-granddaughter of railroad and shipping mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt. Still stunning at 90 years old, the Manhattan socialite and former denim designer is reportedly worth a whopping $200 million.

Gloria’s equally-successful son, however, told Stern he was okay with not receiving an inheritance at all. “I don’t believe in inheriting money,” he said. “I think it’s an initiative sucker. I think it’s a curse.”

Cooper explained, “Who has inherited a lot of money that has gone on to do things in their own life? From the time I was growing up, if I felt that there was some pot of gold waiting for me, I don’t know that I would’ve been so motivated.”

Today, the reputable journalist, 46, has become a household name on his own. The CNN personality, nicknamed the “Silver Fox” by fans, reportedly rakes in $11 million a year through his contact with the network.

“I’m doing fine on my own, I don’t need any [money],” he told Stern.

While Cooper had a privileged upbringing in Manhattan, the Yale grad has mentioned he was unfazed by his wealthy background — in part, due to his father, Wyatt Emory Cooper. “I’ve never paid attention to it, honestly,” Cooper said of the Vanderbilt family’s wealth.

“My dad grew up really poor in Mississippi… I paid attention to that because I thought that’s a healthier thing to pay attention to than like some statue of a great-great-great-grandfather who has no connection to my life.”

[From Us Weekly]

“Who has inherited a lot of money that has gone on to do things in their own life?” Well, his mom inherited money and did a lot with her life, don’t you think? I can see why Anderson feels the way he feels and perhaps he sees himself as almost entirely self-made, but let’s be real: being the son of Gloria Vanderbilt totally opened doors for him. He wouldn’t have been able to maintain his career if he couldn’t deliver on his own, for sure, but his family connections and access to a stellar education are worth their weight in gold.

So what will happen with Gloria Vanderbilt’s money? Will she leave it all to Kathy Griffin?!

Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

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79 Responses to “Anderson Cooper won’t inherit any of mom Gloria Vanderbilt’s $200 million fortune”

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  1. DesertReal says:

    She’ll keep getting those super facials that have clearly worked so well for her

  2. LadyMTL says:

    Yeah, I find it a little ironic that he would say something like that. I mean, he might not have “taken” any of her money but the family name definitely swung a lot of doors wide open. Still, he’s probably rich in his own right these days so it might not be a big deal for him at all.

    If I had to guess, I’d say GV might leave it all to various charities / arts organizations?

    • Bridget says:

      He doesn’t at any point deny that the Vanderbilt name has helped him along in osen profession. He is however saying that he knew he had to go out and get a job, that there wasn’t a fabulous fortune waiting for him when he turned 30. There are of course exceptions, but think about how many who inherit fabulous wealth spend their days as ”jewelry designers” and ”party planners”. Why is it bad for Cooper to acknowledge that more often than not, inherited wealth inspires more complacensy than greatness?

  3. CS(g)E says:

    Easy to say when you make 11million a year. Spare me

    • Well, I see his point. And it’s not like he took some kind of cushy job either—he was out reporting wars and genocide as a young person. My dad remembers watching him reporting from God knows where, in high school. He definitely took on a challenge, despite his family name. Wasn’t it that he couldn’t find a job anywhere, so he just went on his own?

      • MonicaQ says:

        True. And when he says, that he wouldn’t have gone on to do anything in his life, I think he means charitable and “meaningful” things. AC has always been passionate about the poor, the downtrodden, the hurt, the war-torn, and the scared (him in Hati after the earthquake always makes me cry, him grabbing that kid and running him to safety amid gunfire).

        He could’ve took her last name; it would be immediate brand recognition but he chose not to. And he recognizes that he makes far more than enough money on his own.

      • pf says:

        He was on a kids news program called “Channel One”. I used to watch it in high school too, like, 20 years ago. He was always the serious news reporter covering the most dangerous countries, so I’ll give him credit for that. But he definitely got a step up in the world due to his family and connections.

      • blue marie says:

        @pf.. that’s where I know him from, never would have remembered that had you not said it, I thought Lisa Ling was the only one to make it out of there.

      • Wednesday says:

        He actually couldn’t land an actual reporting job in his early days so he made a fake press pass and went on his own to Myanmar. But I’m sure it was the lofty Vanderbilt name that secured him a spot as a fact checker at Channel One, right? I’m not denying he grew up with substantial privilege (and I doubt he would either), but if you actually read about the origins of his career he really did start at the bottom and work his way up.

  4. Sarah says:

    Gloria Vanderbilt was the subject of a very nasty custody dispute when she was a baby, which was probably made nastier because she had inherited so much money from her dad. So she has good reason to be wary of the impact big inheritances can have.

    • Paige says:

      She wrote 3 books about her life…she had such a difficult lonely childhood and all kinds of other problems later because of her inheritence…she probably feels that she barely survived the curse of that kind of money. He never said he didn’t benefit from his pedigree…

    • Size Does Matter says:

      I just read a very interesting book about the Vanderbilts. It is a cautionary tale about what inheriting money can do to a person. I believe Gloria didn’t have much of an inheritance because her father was kind of a playboy. I believe the vast vast majority of her money she made on her own, just like Anderson Cooper. So I’m not surprised by this.

    • d b says:

      Aram Saroyan wrote a lovely book about the lifelong friendships of Gloria V, Oona Chaplin and Carol Matthau. It’s probably out of print, but a good read if you can find it.

  5. Esmom says:

    Yeah, my first thought was that he dissed his mom. But in his defense, from what I have read he broke into journalism the hard way, working his way up from the bottom in extremely dangerous locations. He didn’t use his mom’s connections. He was a familiar journalist for years before I knew who his mom was. But I’m also skeptical that he’s never gotten a penny from her. I gotta believe she gave him some financial help along his way.

    • qwerty says:

      He never said she didn’t give him a penny. I’m sure her financial positin has helped him a lot but from what I understand he’s just talking about inheritance.
      Re: dangerous locations – agree. No amount of mommy’s money would protect his ass in Africa and wherever else he has been as a 20-year-old when getting started with journalism.

    • Granger says:

      Well, he went to a private school in Manhattan and to Yale for university — so I’d say he’s definitely benefited from his mother’s money at points in his life. I’m not knocking him — he was a hard-working journalist before he became a celebrated one — but his connections obviously opened doors for him that would not necessarily have been opened to someone who came, for example, from a small town in the mid-west and went to a non-Ivy-league school.

      So even if he didn’t have the cushion of an inheritance waiting for him, he always had the security of knowing that his family’s name and all of their wealthy family friends would be able to push him forward in whatever field he chose to enter.

    • Jayna says:

      He would never diss his mom. He adores his mother. They have a great relationship.

  6. Mallory says:

    #onlyrichpeoplesay: “I never paid attention to all that”. Oh, SIT DOWN, Anderson.

  7. qwerty says:

    I don’t have TV anymore but used to watch him fairly regularly a few years back. He always aims to give voice to the underpriviledged (in any way) and I am 100% he gives a shitload of money to charity. The part about him “seeing himself as almost entirely self-made” is completely not what he said and adding unnecessary snark to something that is quite positive imo.

    • TG says:

      I completely agree @Querty – Anderson did not say he was self-made and he didn’t put down poor people by stating that it is your fault if you are not successful, such as has been suggested by certain political persons. I will say though that having money certainly helps ease the stress. I remember once when I was younger I had a job I didn’t like and one of my upper middle class friends would counsel me that I didn’t have to out up with crap at work, etc and I would think that it is easy for her to say that becasue she had a nice bedroom waiting for her in case she needs it. I had nothing so often poor people have to put up with cramp at work and take crappy jobs. But from his history it sounds like he really did go out and get the journalism career on his own.

  8. Lucy2 says:

    I’d imagine he knew a lot of trust fund kids growing up, and saw some laziness from that, but inheritance doesn’t always equal slacker.

  9. InLike says:

    It’s been said a million times. But I can’t help myself. Gawd he is beautiful to look at. Just the thing I needed to see first thing this morning. **smiles

  10. Lee says:

    Life is different for rich people’s kids, no doubt. For them no background murmur of panic when the shit hits the fan, the job falls through, the bills keep coming in, the prescription meds get more expensive, the kids need braces and an education, the “whatever” regular people, without family money, support and connections, have to worry about. Every. Single. Day. It’s really hard out here. I envy the mental freedom of wealthy people, as much as I envy them their money. So, Anderson, you may have “worked” your way up, but let’s not kid ourselves that it was in any way the same for you. And I like Anderson Cooper.

    • Nigel says:

      +1. The mental freedom angle is especially interesting to me. Makes you wonder what things would/could happen if normal people weren’t worrying etc. about bills. Curing cancer? Maybe ways to stop poisoning the environment?

      • Algernon says:

        I read an economic study recently that said if we got over our obsession with work and the idea that every single thing in life must be earned (and that things like food, shelter, education and healthcare, you know, the basics, aren’t privileges but common rights), we would launch an era of incredible advancement and learning. Basically if we got square with the idea that not everyone has to work and normalized the idea of living on social subsidies we would usher in a time of artistic, scientific and philosophical advancement. It’s not about subsidizing idle rich through crazy tax breaks and “investment lifestyles”, but in creating an economic structure in which any one, in any economic strata, can opt out of the 9-5 grind. Your life probably wouldn’t be as cushy as someone who did work, your housing would be more basic and you probably wouldn’t own a car, for instance, but you could take the time to write that epic poem you’ve always dreamed of writing, or you could become a full-time backyard inventor and maybe someone would land on hyper drive, thus enabling deep space exploration.

        The problem is that sounds like communism to people, when really it’s just admitting we’re rapidly approaching a post-scarcity world in which we, at least in the first world, can provide the basics for everyone without requiring that everyone work. With advancements in technology we’re going to see a continually shrinking workforce, and if we square that now we can skip the “these freeloading hippies” part and get right to the “hey, Fred got laid off from work but he just invented a long-range, low-cost electric car battery in his garage with all his spare time” part.

      • Mel says:

        Algernon, I do hope you go on telling what you told here to as many people as you can.
        It is a very important message, and you convey it well.

      • Algernon says:

        It made a lot of sense to me, but then, I’ve seen friends lose jobs in the last few years and find ways to subsist without a traditional “job”. And no, it’s not welfare. They do stuff, they just don’t have 9-5 jobs and they’ve learned to get by on a lot less.

        But bring it up to anyone over the age of 50 and they immediately go, “That’s communism!” and won’t listen. But the point is very real. We are not going to need every able adult to work, probably in our lifetimes. What could we accomplish if we stopped holding people hostage to the idea that a career is the end all, be all of adult life?

    • Bucky says:

      That “mental freedom” and the lack of it actually has measurable health effects, too. The daily stress of poverty literally limits brain power and can physically wear down the body over time.

    • kibbles says:

      Absolutely. In this economy, I know people who can afford to quit their jobs because they come from wealth. Even if they are “poor” or unemployed, they can move back into mom and dad’s million dollar home and not have to worry about ever being homeless or applying for welfare while they are in between jobs. This is a luxury that most young people who do not come from money cannot afford. Someone who does not have the family connections to help them secure a good job or a safety net to fall back on when they hit a rough patch will be in a much tougher position to take care of themselves. The mental freedom of not having to worry about ever being poor is an amazing feeling and probably adds a few extra years to someone’s life compared to someone who is constantly stressed about paying the bills or keeping their job in order to survive.

    • Cazzee says:

      “the background murmur of panic”

      Great phrase, and sadly accurate. People from the middle and working class have very, very different head space than the privileged upper-middle and upper classes.

      One time in my early twenties, a friend of mine who was from a comfortably well-to-do family and both of whose parents had gone to Brown University (shockingly, this friend went to Brown, too) innocently asked me the following question:

      “Doesn’t everyone have a trust fund?”

      She meant it.

    • idk says:

      It’s a much easier life when you grow up rich. He went to the best schools and lived in the best homes. But that doesn’t mean he had it super easy. His dad died young and his brother committed suicide. I know, even people without money have to deal with these things. My point is, having money doesn’t stop bad things from happening to you.

      Either way, I think his mom should leave him her money. He would do great things with that money as he doesn’t seem materialistic. .Maybe she thinks he doesn’t need the money, as he has made plenty on his own. He doesn’t have any kids (not sure if he wants any).

  11. NeNe says:

    Am I the only one who didn’t know she was his mother?

    • Jayna says:

      And his brother jumped out of a window committing suicide. It was really sad.

      For Carter’s younger brother, Anderson Cooper, who was 21 at the time (he is now 46), Carter’s fatal jump from the terrace of their mother’s 14th-floor Manhattan penthouse is something he still thinks about every day, he told Howard Stern on his Sirius radio show Monday.

      “He was so much smarter than me, he had gone to Princeton, he was working at American Heritage as a book editor, and it was so inconceivable to me,” Cooper said.

      Asked by Stern if the incident still shapes his life, Cooper replied, “Absolutely. It forms everything. It may not be the first thing [I think of in the morning], but there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about it.”

      Cooper also admitted that after the tragedy, he often worried if the same dark tendencies might also be buried deep inside himself. I don’t worry about that anymore.”

      • ParisPucker says:

        Thank you for sharing this. Some years ago, Vanity Fair did an elaborate piece on the Coopers and I remember tearing up. I believe it was Anderson who realized what had happened and had been the one to break the news to his mother. To not allow this type of devastating tragedy not shatter your family fabric says a lot about this family. I always held a quiet respect for Anderson in describing how he and his family coped and chose to handle this event. It was deeply personal, and am sure was helpful to anyone reading about their process who maybe had gone through something similar. Money or no money, (and privilege or not having had privilege), this type of class, strength of character and poise cannot be bought.

      • mayamae says:

        Anderson’s brother committed suicide in front of their mother. Gloria Vanderbilt said he was acting disoriented and she followed him into Anderson’s room, from which he jumped.

  12. L says:

    Well there’s a difference between your parents helping you out with the basics and name recognition, and telling you that they have a trust fund for you for 200 million dollars. I don’t think he’s said he hasn’t benefited, but is saying that that much money is a curse.

    And his mother ‘inherited’ that money when she was 18 months old. And then mom spent a bunch, and then her aunt and her mom had a huge custody battle for her that dragged on for YEARS. I could see why she wouldn’t want to leave that legacy behind either.

  13. Nicolette says:

    She looks amazing! I actually think she looks better now than back in the day.

  14. db says:

    Good for him! I wish more people born into that circumstance had his attitude.

  15. Mar says:

    I didn’t know that was his mom. Shot is beautiful

  16. Andrea says:

    He didn’t say anything about his mother’s wealth not helping him he just said he wasn’t inheriting anything. I agree my Father in Law makes mention of his life insurance policy and our family being well taken care of. It’s so tacky!

  17. Vanessa says:

    I’ll take it! Gloria, if you’re reading this, call me!

  18. MinnFinn says:

    Andrew Carnegie said it best — “I should as soon leave to my son a curse as the almighty dollar,”

  19. BeckyR says:

    Love Anderson Cooper. Seems to have his head on straight. Also love his Mother who has had the most interesting life! Her books are amazing. Have all of them.

  20. Hautie says:

    Anderson gets a pass from me. He has proven more that once, that he gives a sh*t about someone, other than himself.

    He has been very vocal, about the 1% that are total waste of skin.

    I recall him having a very vocal opinion of all the celebutard’s, that started with Paris Hilton. People with great influence to do something decent. Yet, decide to use it to be worthless, vain and jackasses.

    But oddly, I recall that there was lots of gossip that Anderson financially supported his Mother for years. And that they lived together for years in his apartment. After she ended up bankrupt and selling off all her properties in the early 1990′s to pay off a ridiculously huge debt. I believe caused by a shady accountant.

    So I am more surprise that she has 200 million to her name. Seriously.

  21. pnichols says:

    She looks awesome! wow.

  22. littlestar says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. While in one hand it is a nice thought to leave your children something (and granted, most people aren’t leaving their kids millions), on the other… There really is something to be said about earning what you have rather than just being given it. One of my close friends inherited her father’s money and houses when he passed away a few years ago, and she was his only child. It turned her into a real *sshole (& I know I’m terrible for saying that, but it is the truth). I do wonder that if she had to have worked for what she has now, she might not have turned into who she is now.

  23. Jayna says:

    His interview with Howard Stern was fantastic. Howard is a great interviewer, and Anderson was one of his best because Anderson is so interesting. It was a wide-ranging interview. I’m sure it will pop up on youtube in a few weeks.

  24. Jh says:

    “She refers to Kathy Griffen as her fantasy daughter.” (Wikipedia)
    Hmm, maybe that’s why Anderson and Kathy’s super tight, giggly on-air relationship feels a little bit brother and sisterly.

  25. Algernon says:

    She’s not leaving him anything…when she dies. What about throughout his whole life? Aside from the very interesting and relevant conversation you guys are having about what the “poverty mindset” (a real thing you can look up, if you want to be terribly depressed) does to people and how the wealthy tend to overlook this aspect of their privilege, it’s actually not uncommon for the uber-wealthy to not leave their descendents an inheritance.

    Two words: Death taxes.

    The easiest way to get around the estate tax, which only applies to people with a net worth of $10,000,000+, the idea that the middle classes would ever be expected to pay it is ludicrous, is to offload all your assets before you die. I’m not saying there aren’t truly altruistic wealthy people out there, but the vast majority of the “I’m leaving my fortune to charity” stuff is done to avoid paying the death taxes on an estate. People will also transfer properties and assets like art and stocks long before they die. Among the very rich, it’s common for inheritances to be passed on at one’s 18th and/or 21st birthday, and then that’s it. So they say, “I’m not getting anything when my parent dies,” but in reality they’ve already inherited. And, “I’m leaving everything to charity,” but all that will be left by that point is the bare bones of the estate, the cash they couldn’t transfer without getting hit with taxes in the first place. In some cases, that can be billions, but even more billions have already been siphoned off.

    I’m not saying that’s what’s gone on with Anderson Cooper’s family, but having seen these transactions play out before, I get suspicious whenever a born-rich person says they’re not inheriting anything.

  26. idk says:

    Does he think he’d have still gone to Yale if he grew up poor? Highly unlikely. He may have still went to college, but a less expensive one. There are people who grew up in wealthy families that still made a name for themselves and have their own careers. He can’t judge all by the actions of some. His mother is a perfect example of that. She inherited wealth didn’t she? I know some people who grew up rich and they became doctors, others ended up working at factories. I also know of people who grew up poor and they did nothing passed high school while some became lawyers.

  27. Kim1 says:

    I suggest people listen to interview, these quotes from US(eless) Weekly are taken out of context

  28. John says:

    And if you believe that, I have a bridge to Brooklyn I think you might be interested in purchasing.

  29. Stephanie says:

    I love me some Ace so this may be biased. Even though his family money bought him a great education, that education played a very insubstantial role in his career. He had to create a fake press pass (maybe via family connects?) And sneak into Myanmar (maybe, probably, bank rolled by his family money) because he wasn’t given unfair opportunities. This work is what made him successful. I think his mom’s parenting did more than her money.