Anderson Cooper Is More Than Just A Reporter

Almost every night, you can tune into CNN and watch Anderson Cooper on his news show Anderson Cooper 360°. While he is best known for his on-air coverage of current events and his New Year’s Eve co-hosting gig, there’s a lot more to him that happens behind the scenes. His early years, past relationships, and becoming a father have shaped him into the man he is today. Here are some newsworthy facts you might not have known about Anderson Cooper and his interesting life.

He’s A World Traveler And Yale Graduate

anderson cooper and friends in africa
The Television Academy
The Television Academy

After a young Anderson Cooper graduated from high school he decided to spend a few months in Africa on what he called a “survival trip.” He had trekked the Rockies and gone backpacking in Mexico, so he thought Africa would be a fun adventure. When he arrived in Kenya he contracted malaria and had to be taken to the hospital immediately.

Luckily, Cooper survived the disease and went on to attend Yale University, majoring in political science. During his time at Yale, he spent a couple of years interning for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

A Self-Proclaimed ‘News Junkie’

myanmar
YouTube/FoundationINTERVIEWS
YouTube/FoundationINTERVIEWS

Even though Cooper had no formal journalism training in college he still decided to pursue it after he graduated. He was quoted as being “a news junkie since he was in utero,” so he first turned to the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). He started by answering phones and doing other menial tasks, but it didn’t get him anywhere.

With the help of a friend, he created a fake press pass and became a fact-checker for Channel One. Now, he was ready to travel the globe.

His First Gigs At CNN Were Big Ones

close-up portrait of cooper
Mark Mainz/Getty Images
Mark Mainz/Getty Images

His first position at CNN was to co-anchor American Morning with Paula Zahn and within a year he became the weekend prime-time anchor. In 2002 he got the opportunity to host CNN’s New Year’s Eve special and has been doing it every year since.

The following year he was given his own show called Anderson Cooper 360°, which has become one of the most trusted news reports on TV. In 2005 he covered numerous top stories such as Hurricane Katrina, the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, and more. This led to the expansion of his show and a multi-year contract with CNN.

He Co-Authored A Book With His Mother

Anderson Cooper And Gloria Vanderbilt In Conversation
John Lamparski/Getty Images
John Lamparski/Getty Images

While Cooper spends the majority of his time focusing on the news, that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing he does. He’s worked on documentaries, had his own talk show, moderated presidential debates, performed on Broadway, written several articles and books, and collaborated with friends on creative endeavors.

One of his favorite projects was co-authoring a novel with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt shortly before her passing. The book, The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss, centered on Cooper’s relationship with his famous mother and her troublesome past.

He’s Been A Silver Fox For A Long Time

silver fox
Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Vince Bucci/Getty Images

When people think of Anderson Cooper it’s hard not to imagine his physical appearance. Although he’s now at an age where it’s expected for his hair to turn grey he didn’t think it would happen as early as it did.

Cooper’s hair started going grey when he was only 20 years old and had turned completely silver by the time he reached 35. He was quite shocked when it happened, but learned to embrace his natural hair color, now known as one of Hollywood’s most famous silver foxes.

Cooper Felt He Needed To Go Public With Some Personal Information

cooper wearing glasses on a red carpet
J. Countess/Getty Images
J. Countess/Getty Images

Cooper built a career for himself without relying on others to help him succeed. With all the accolades he’d been receiving, Cooper felt it was time to come clean about a secret he had kept hidden for years.

In a 2012 email exchange between Cooper and political writer Andrew Sullivan, Cooper revealed his true colors, “…The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”

He Almost Dated Andy Cohen

andy cohen and cooper in times square
Manny Carabel/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Manny Carabel/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Before Cooper became good friends with Bravo personality Andy Cohen, the two were actually set up on a blind date. One of Cooper’s rules for finding a boyfriend is that they cannot mention his mother on the first date and Cohen practically blurted it out when they met.

Many of their friends want them to be together, but the pair feel it would be a bit awkward and uncomfortable as they prefer to remain just friends. During an interview, they actually found out they had dated the same guy at different points in their lives.

Cooper Was Born Into Celebrity And Tragedy

baby anderson cooper with his mom and brother
Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Anderson Cooper was born on June 3, 1967, in Manhattan, New York. His parents were Gloria Vanderbilt and actor/writer Wyatt Emory Cooper. Cooper’s first step into the entertainment world was as a baby model for Harper’s Bazaar magazine and he was a part of various TV and modeling gigs throughout his childhood and teen years.

When Cooper was still a young man he lost his father and brother in two different events.

He Became A Father In 2020

Cooper and baby
andersoncooper/Instagram
andersoncooper/Instagram

On May 30, 2020, Anderson Cooper made an exciting announcement: he had become a father! He shared this photograph along with a message. “This is Wyatt Cooper. He is three days old. He is named after my father, who died when I was ten. I hope I can be as good a dad as he was.” Cooper added that the baby’s middle name, Morgan, has history on his mother’s side of the family.

He also stated that he was sad that his father and brother Carter weren’t physically present to meet Wyatt but said that he was sure they were watching. “I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing, happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt, and that our family continues,” he wrote.

He’s Seen His Fair Share Of Disturbing Things In The World

anderson
rosaranellucci3/Pinterest
rosaranellucci3/Pinterest

As a young reporter and traveler, Cooper met with students in Myanmar who were opposed to the Burmese government and he sent his footage to Channel One. Later, he went to Vietnam for a year to learn the language and film scenes of daily life. He made similar reports in war-torn parts of the world including Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda.

Cooper admitted he started to become desensitized by all the wrongdoings happening around him. After he was caught taking a photo of decomposing bodies he realized that there was a negative side to what he was doing. He decided that he wanted to bring back some good news to the mainstream media.

The Events Of 9/11 Helped Shape His Career

WNN
ABC News/YouTube
ABC News/YouTube

In 1995 Cooper became a correspondent for ABC News, eventually working his way up to being a co-anchor of World News Now. After a few years, he got tired of working almost 24/7 and decided to switch to reality TV and talk shows.

After a much-needed break with light-hearted entertainment, Cooper was ready to return to broadcast journalism. His decision was prompted by the events of 9/11 and he couldn’t think of a better place to report than CNN.

Gloria Vanderbilt Was The Mother Cooper Always Wanted

gloria vanderbilt reading a script on the radio
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Cooper has always talked about how much he admired his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. During her life, she worked as an artist, fashion designer, and writer, and was one of the richest heiresses of the 20th century.

During the 1930s she was part of the “trial of the century” as both of her parents fought for custody in order to control her trust fund. She married Cooper’s father, her fourth and final husband, in 1963. Gloria had four sons, with the youngest being Anderson.

He Had A Childhood Learning Disability

cooper with his brother and mother reading in a bed
Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When he was a young boy, Cooper started to notice that he wasn’t like the other kids. When his brother would read books Cooper could only pretend to do it. This was because he suffered from the common learning disability called dyslexia.

He revealed this to both Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno when he was promoting one of his books, talking about how far he’d come since childhood. He stated, “I had trouble reading and making sense of words, in particular letters.”

Give This Man An Award!

24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - Inside
Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Over the course of his career, Cooper has won several awards for his reporting, including Emmy Awards, GLAAD Media Awards, Peabody Awards, and the National Order of Honour and Merit. This has come from his coverage of events such as the crisis in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, and Princess Diana’s funeral.

Cooper doesn’t do his job for the recognition, but to make sure the world is aware of what’s really happening around them. These awards prove that his reporting is making an impact on how the public digests news.

His Work Schedule Makes Relationships Difficult

benjamin maisani and cooper holding hands
Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images
Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Anderson Cooper and former boyfriend Benjamin Maisani started their relationship in 2009 and were happy together for the majority of it. In early 2018 Cooper confirmed that he and Maisani had gone their separate ways after there was speculation that things were not going well between them, mainly because of his work schedule.

“Benjamin and I separated as boyfriends some time ago,” he said. “We are still family to each other and love each other very much.”

Things Didn’t Work Out With His Next Boyfriend

maisani with his arm around cooper
T B/Pinterest
T B/Pinterest

Most people caught on to Cooper’s breakup with Maisani when he was seen with a new man. He started dating Victor Lopez, a doctor from Dallas, Texas, sometime in 2018. This was confirmed when Lopez posted a photo of the pair on his Instagram account.

About a year later it was announced the two had split. Cooper’s mother had passed away and Lopez was nowhere to be seen, which prompted entertainment outlets to confirm their breakup. As of right now Cooper remains single and is taking a break from relationships.

Anderson Doesn’t Get An Inheritance

GettyImages-1077983542-97796
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for CORE, formerly J/P HRO
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for CORE, formerly J/P HRO

Gloria Vanderbilt may have had a multi-million dollar inheritance before she could walk, but the heiress isn’t giving her sons the same advantage. “My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund,” Anderson Cooper told Howard Stern in 2014.

He added, “I don’t believe in inheriting money. I think it’s an initiative sucker… We believe in working.” Cooper pointed out that his mother made more money in her own personal business ventures than she ever did from her family name. For his part, the journalist wouldn’t need an inheritance anyway thanks to his own success.

He Grew Up In A New York City Mansion

cooper with his brother in their childhood mansion
Horst P. Horst/Getty Images
Horst P. Horst/Getty Images

A lot of people would do anything to grow up in Cooper’s childhood home. He lived there with his brother Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, mother Gloria Vanderbilt, and father Wyatt Emory Cooper. It was located on 67th Street in New York City and the mansion was a whopping five stories tall.

Vanderbilt’s childhood townhouse in New York City was put on the market for the hefty amount of $50 million. It’s currently divided into three separate units, but can be bought al ltogether. It includes 12 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, three powder rooms, and a 1,500-square-foot rooftop terrace.

He Was Friends With Charlie Chaplin

charlie chaplin in a movie still from The Gold Rush
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Since Cooper’s parents were well known in the New York social scene, they held and attended numerous parties with celebrity guests. He and his brother Carter got to meet some of Hollywood’s most famous faces. One of their good friends was silent filmmaker Charlie Chaplin.

Some of the other people he got to meet included actress Lillian Gish and journalist George Plimpton. Cooper’s father mentioned that their friends treated Cooper and his brother like adults because it belittled them to not be taken seriously.

He Needs Security At All Times

US-ENTERTAINMENT-AMBIANCE-SUNDANCE-film
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Cooper’s rise to fame definitely hasn’t been easy and not everyone is able to respect his privacy. Sometimes when fans see their favorite celebrity in person they go to great lengths to make sure they get their attention. Unfortunately, this has led to some scary circumstances for Cooper.

One day when he was leaving the subway, a fan approached him and started grabbing him so that he’d turn around and talk to her. Another time a fan was upset with Cooper for not responding to her after sending him a teddy bear dressed like him, so she showed up in front of the Time Warner Building where he works.

A First Job To Remember

cooper with his mom and brother
Ron Galella/Getty Images
Ron Galella/Getty Images

Early on in his life, Cooper was told not to rely on an inheritance and to work for his money instead. Other than a little bit of acting and modeling he knew he could make some cash in the foodservice industry.

He was one of those kids who had a lemonade stand and as he got a bit older he became a waiter at a hip New York restaurant called Mortimer’s. This was where prominent intellectuals, fashion designers, politicians, lawyers, and socialites gathered, so it’s almost guaranteed he earned great tips.

He And His Ex Currently Live Together

2015 amfAR Inspiration Gala New York - Inside
Kevin Tachman/WireImage
Kevin Tachman/WireImage

In February of 2021, Anderson appeared on Ellen where he shared that he and his ex-boyfriend Benjamin Maisani are living together so they can co-parent Wyatt. “We actually still live in the same house because we get along really well and … yeah, it’s weird, but it works out,” he said.

He added, “It’s interesting because he wasn’t really sure he wanted to have a kid — which is one of the reasons we probably broke up — but then, he came around to the idea. Now he is such a great parent.”

His Net Worth Is Staggering

cooper posing on a red carpet
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Being one of the top TV news anchors in the world does come with its perks. Cooper’s current net worth is estimated to be $100 million, with an average of $12 million per year. Even though his mother said he wouldn’t get an inheritance, about one and a half percent of his net worth comes from his inheritance.

The estate that Vanderbilt left behind after her passing was estimated to be around $200 million and it’s rumored that Cooper will get a large chunk of the money once her affairs are settled.

The Family That Came Long Before Cooper

Vanderbilt Family
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before Anderson Cooper was born there were several people in his family who had already made a name for themselves. His lineage dates back to the Civil War, being related to Major General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, who marched with General William T. Sherman through Georgia.

His great-great-great-grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt amassed a vast fortune after becoming a successful business magnate. Cornelius passed his wealth down to the future generations including Cooper’s grandparents, equestrian Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and socialite Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt (pictured). This was then passed down to his mother Gloria Vanderbilt.

Long-Time Friend Kathy Griffin Is Out Of The Picture

kathy griffin and cooper in times square
Noam Galai/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Noam Galai/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Fans first noticed Cooper and Kathy Griffin’s friendship after watching them host the CNN New Year’s Eve Live Celebration for at least 10 years in a row. The two almost always had each other’s backs until the day where Griffin decided to post something seemingly off-limits to Cooper online.

Griffin’s post caused major outrage across the United States and even led to a federal investigation. Cooper later tweeted how disgusted he was with what she did and didn’t contact her for at least two months afterward. Without the support of her so-called friend, Griffin decided to end the friendship.

He Saved Someone’s Life

cooper wearing a medal
Thony Belizaire/Getty Images
Thony Belizaire/Getty Images

In 2010 Cooper traveled to Haiti to cover the aftermath of the huge earthquake. While he was reporting, citizens were running around and looting causing major chaos in the streets. When he looked up he saw one of the looters throw a concrete block from the roof of a tall building and hit a young boy in the head.

Cooper was about 100 feet away, but rushed over to the boy and took him over a barricade that was blocking the other looters. He passed him over to a stranger in hopes they could give him immediate medical attention.

His Music Taste Is On Point

Patrick McMullan Archives
Jonathan Grassi/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Jonathan Grassi/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Cooper admitted that one of his favorite music groups of all time is glam-rock band Scissor Sisters. Lead singer Jake Shears briefly dated Cooper in the early 2000s as Shears was set to graduate from college. They lost touch for a bit, but recently connected after Shears’ band became more popular.

After college, Shears was focused on his music and becoming a famous singer, but Cooper wanted him to get a more “realistic” job. Years later Cooper shared that he’s glad Shears didn’t listen to him.

He Had A Silly Childhood Belief

cornelius vanderbilt statue
Collegiate Images via Getty Images
Collegiate Images via Getty Images

When Cooper was a young kid, his mother took him to visit a statue of his great-great-great grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt at Grand Central Station. Vanderbilt acquired most of his wealth in the railroad and shipping industries, so a statue was erected in his honor.

After looking at the statue, Cooper believed that when any of his relatives passed away they would turn to stone and become statues. He revealed this silly thought in one of his autobiographies called Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival.

His Father Grew Up Poor

wyatt emory cooper and gloria vanderbilt holding hands
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

While most know about his heiress mother Gloria Vanderbilt, they sometimes forget about his actor/writer father Wyatt Emory Cooper. His father grew up in a lower-class family in Mississippi and moved to New Orleans when he was a young boy. He attended both UCLA and UC Berkeley, majoring in theater arts and screenwriting.

He later moved to New York City to work as a magazine editor and met his future wife Gloria Vanderbilt. The two married on Christmas Eve 1963. When Anderson Cooper was 10 years old his father underwent open-heart surgery following a heart attack and sadly, didn’t survive.

He Hasn’t Spoken To His Brother In Decades

stan stokowski at a red carpet event
Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Cooper, unfortunately, lost one of his brothers when he was in his early 20s, but he still has two other half-brothers from his mother’s previous marriages. Leopold Stanislaus “Stan” Stokowski and Christopher Stokowski are far apart in age from Cooper and he didn’t see them much when he was growing up.

Cooper manages to stay close to Stan, but hasn’t seen or heard from Chris since 1978. After an incident with his therapist, he wanted to step away from the family to get some privacy.

He’s A Picky Eater

anthony bourdain and cooper posing for a photo
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Even though Cooper has traveled all over the world and has been exposed to many new cultures it hasn’t affected his diet. He’s actually a very picky eater, preferring to eat only plain-tasting foods. When he was interviewed by the late Anthony Bourdain he said, “Eating is a waste of time.”

Instead, Cooper turns to foods such as oatmeal, salad, salmon, and sushi. He also prefers waffles, but can’t stand pancakes. It took him to his middle-age to finally try what he considered strange foods, including spinach and coffee.

His Acting Credits Will Make You Green With Envy

cooper in a still from batman v superman
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

The camera was ready for Cooper while he was still in diapers. He made his first television appearance as a guest on The Tonight Show when he was three years old. At age nine, he was on a show called To Tell the Truth as an imposter.

Most of his acting credits as an adult have him playing a fictional version of himself in shows such as The Simpsons and movies including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The 33, and Chappie. He also played the narrator in the 2011 Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

A Typical Day In The Life For Anderson Cooper

big bird and cooper posing for a photo
Clint Spaulding/Getty Images
Clint Spaulding/Getty Images

In a 2018 article for the Hollywood Reporter Cooper admitted that he doesn’t “really have a life off-air.” He spends almost every day, including weekends, working as a news correspondent for CNN, CBS, and more. “I’d rather be working than doing anything else. It’s like riding the breaking wave of history,” he said.

His typical routine at the office includes going over stories for the broadcast, picking out a Ralph Lauren suit, drinking the meal alternative drink Soylent, and catching up with his friends. When he finally returns to his West Village firehouse, he spends time with his dog and watches TV until at least one or two in the morning.

Gloria Looked Like A Vanderbilt And Was Rich Like One, Too

GettyImages-515589012-32905
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Gloria Vanderbilt was born to railroad heir Reginald Vanderbilt and his second wife, Gloria Morgan, on February 20, 1924, in New York City. Vanderbilt’s father was so excited upon her birth that he exclaimed, “It is fantastic how Vanderbilt she looks! See the corners of her eyes, how they turn up?”

Unfortunately, Reginald Vanderbilt died from cirrhosis when Vanderbilt was just 18 months old. She and her half-sister Cathleen (from Reginald’s first marriage) thus inherited half a share each of a $5 million trust fund, worth over $71 million by today’s standards.

Her Mother Was Sued For Custody

GettyImages-105220779-90059
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Vanderbilt’s mother managed to convince the court to release $4,000 a month in order to care for her daughter. Instead, the elder Gloria squandered the trust money on trips to and from Paris, taking her daughter with her. This led to a heated custody battle between Vanderbilt’s mom and her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who believed the elder Gloria partied more than she cared for her daughter.

At times during the scandalous trial in 1934, the judge made everyone leave the room to hear what 10-year-old Vanderbilt had to say without anyone influencing her. In the end, Vanderbilt became the ward of her Aunt Gertrude.

They Called Her “Poor Little Rich Girl”

GettyImages-515948092-84931
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

The custody battle between Vanderbilt’s mother and aunt was in the headlines so much that the public dubbed the 10-year-old at the center of it all “poor little rich girl.” The case was such a national sensation that in 1982, a movie based on the story was made.

NBC produced a mini-series called Little Gloria… Happy at Last based on the 1980 book of the same name by Barbara Goldsmith. Jennifer Dundas played Vanderbilt, while Angela Lansbury played Vanderbilt’s aunt. The movie was nominated for six Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe Award.

She Had To Cut Her Mother Off

GettyImages-105221142-54801
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

As a result of being put under her aunt’s custody, Vanderbilt inevitably grew somewhat estranged from her own mother, who was granted weekend visitation rights. “I had no relationship with her at all and I just worshiped her from afar,” Vanderbilt said of her mother in 2016.

Despite missing her mother, Vanderbilt still cut her mother off financially when she turned 21 and gained control of her trust fund. By then, Vanderbilt had gone to Los Angeles where her mother was living but rarely saw her. Later in life, Vanderbilt supported her mother until Gloria Morgan’s death in 1965.

She Had A Thing For Older Men As A Teenager

GettyImages-528403361-48417
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Gloria Vanderbilt went to Hollywood as a teen in 1941. There, at age 17, she married acting agent and alleged mobster Pat DiCicco, who was 15 years her senior. DiCicco was reportedly physically and mentally abusive towards Vanderbilt. They had no children and divorced in 1945.

The same year, she married conductor Leopold Stokowski—41 years her senior—with whom she had two sons: Stan and Christopher. Vanderbilt and Stokowski divorced in 1955. Vanderbilt’s third husband was director Sidney Lumet in 1956. The third marriage lasted seven years and produced no children.

She Was Both The Artist And The Subject

GettyImages-517729828-66202
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Gloria Vanderbilt studied art at the Art Students League of New York, which sparked a life-long love of art early on. In 1948, She would put on one-woman shows of her oil paintings, watercolors, and pastels (which would come full circle later in her life when she turned to fashion).

Of course, her work introduced her to other artists, especially photographers, who loved to use Vanderbilt as a model. As a result, Vanderbilt had an early career in modeling and was featured in a spread in Harper’s Bazaar when she was just 17.

Vanderbilt Became An Actress

GettyImages-515549848-93814
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

During the ’50s, Vanderbilt tried her hand at acting, having attended New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse where she studied under Sanford Meisner (Tender is the Night, Paradise Lost). She made her stage debut in a 1954 production of The Swan at the Pocono Playhouse in Pennsylvania, in which she was the lead.

She then went on to Broadway playing Elsie in William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life alongside John Carradine, John Randolph, and Doris Roberts in 1955. The production closed after 15 performances and Vanderbilt subsequently took her acting talents elsewhere.

She Dated Howard Hughes

GettyImages-515115150-47590
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

One of the men that Vanderbilt was involved with as a teen was business tycoon Howard Hughes. She was only 17 when she met then-36-year-old Hughes, who dropped by her mother’s house in Beverly Hills to offer Vanderbilt a screen test for a movie in 1941.

Instead of doing the screen test, Vanderbilt started dating Hughes. “I can’t reconcile the man I dated with the man he apparently became. When I knew him, he was thirty-six, wildly romantic, and gentle, yet he had the power to rule the world,” Vanderbilt later recalled. Though she was in love with him, Hughes never proposed.

She Was Involved With Frank Sinatra

GettyImages-515256400-25708
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Outside of her marriages, Gloria Vanderbilt was known to be involved with a string of famous men, including Frank Sinatra. They met through a mutual friend, songwriter Jule Styne, who told Vanderbilt that Sinatra wanted to meet her. At the time, Vanderbilt was still studying with Meisner but Sinatra offered her contracts for a few movies, including 1960’s Ocean’s 11.

But as Sinatra was jet-setting all over the world, Vanderbilt became involved with Lumet and was still devoted to Meisner. Eventually, she stopped working with Sinatra but they remained good friends. “I’ll always remain friends with men I’ve been in love with,” she once said.

She Inspired Breakfast At Tiffany’s

GettyImages-514875480-71095
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Throughout her life, Gloria Vanderbilt was considered a socialite, considering her careers in art, acting, and fashion. Her status within the New York social scene is said to have inspired Truman Capote to base Holly Golightly, the main character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, on her.

Indeed, Vanderbilt and Capote were friends in real life. “He was terrific, but you never trusted him. I would never have revealed anything to him that I didn’t want repeated because he was a terrible gossip about everyone,” she revealed to Interview magazine in 2014.

She Is Estranged From Her Oldest Son

GettyImages-50993392-83444
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Not much is known about Vanderbilt’s second-born son Christopher, who reportedly cut himself off from the family in 1978. Before Vanderbilt sued her therapist in 1993, she was reportedly heavily under his influence, which caused a riff between her and Christopher.

The incident is said to have affected Chris’s relationship with his former fiancée, which led him to stop talking to his mother and live as a recluse. In the HBO documentary of Vanderbilt’s life, Nothing Left Unsaid, Chris is unmentioned. “I think she respects his privacy and [not mentioning him] is out of love for him,” the former fiancée told Page Six.

Vanderbilt’s Final Marriage To Wyatt Cooper

GettyImages-485297643-97782
Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Vanderbilt’s fourth and final marriage was to writer Wyatt Emory Cooper in 1963. In addition to being a published author, Cooper also found success as a scriptwriter in Hollywood and sometimes has small bit parts on television. On his part, it was Cooper’s first marriage in which he became the stepfather of Vanderbilt’s three sons from her marriage to Stokowski, who were 11 and 13 at the time.

Vanderbilt and Cooper had two sons, Carter and Anderson, born in 1965 and 1967, respectively. They remained married for 15 years until 1978, when Cooper passed away while undergoing open-heart surgery.

She Supported Her Son’s Coming Out Thanks To Her Mom

GettyImages-74714203-87554
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage

One can surmise that Vanderbilt was a supportive mother, especially when it came to her son’s sexuality. Anderson Cooper came out to his mom in college and grew up surrounded by her gay friends. Vanderbilt, of course, loved her son regardless, considering her own upbringing.

She once admitted that she was “terrified” when her mother was accused of being a lesbian during her childhood. “My mother was bisexual… That terrified me, because at the time it was considered a crime, a sin, and I thought I might have inherited it – though I had no idea what it was,” she wrote.

The Loss That She Can Never Unsee

GettyImages-518650637-11855
PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images
PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images

Tragedy didn’t end with the elder Cooper’s passing. Ten years later in 1988, Carter Cooper plunged to his death from the 14th-floor penthouse terrace of his mother’s East Side apartment in what police called an apparent suicide. He was only 23-years-old.

Vanderbilt was reportedly there when her son took the plunge. “All the time, I still run through it. There was a moment when… he did not jump. He was sitting on the wall thirteen floors up, on the balcony. With one foot on there and one foot hanging down, he kept looking down,” Vanderbilt recalled her youngest son Anderson in a 2011 interview.

Vanderbilt Pioneered The Designer Jean

GettyImages-1092845552-23941
Chan Yuen-man/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
Chan Yuen-man/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

One thing that Gloria Vanderbilt will always be remembered for is her line of denim jeans, a business venture she says she fell into by accident. “How I got into fashion is Glentex produced scarfs done from paintings of mine,” she recalled to Los Angeles Times in 1978.

She then began designing blouses for Indian designer Murjani, who had tons of denim fabric in storage. Vanderbilt came up with the idea to create a great fitting jean with her name and a swan logo (an homage to her stage role) emblazoned on the back. Thus, the designer jean was born.

She Made A Fortune In Her Own Right

GettyImages-592333895-89234
Horst P. Horst/Conde Nast via Getty Images
Horst P. Horst/Conde Nast via Getty Images

The success of Vanderbilt’s jeans line was hallmarked by the fact that she became a spokesperson for her own clothes. It led to a brand extension that included shoes, clothes, accessories, sheets, leather goods, and a perfume collaboration with L’Oreal called Vanderbilt for women.

Vanderbilt’s fashion line was at its height throughout the ’80s and generated more than $100 million in annual revenue. Additionally, she earned $10 million annually in royalties from selling the rights to her name to the Murjani Group, which added to her wealth.

Vanderbilt Became A Victim Of Fraud

GettyImages-667937820-11816
Eric Robert/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images
Eric Robert/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

While Vanderbilt’s fashion line continued to rake in millions, there were some people in the background who were, unfortunately, taking advantage of her. Because she gave her lawyer and her psychiatrist power of attorney, they stole millions from her by selling her business interests without her consent.

Vanderbilt sued them in 1993 and ended up winning the court’s favor. In 1995, she was awarded $1.79 million but didn’t see a dime of it because her lawyer passed away. At the very least, she was awarded $300,000 from the New York Bar Association from the Victim of Fraud fund.

She Owed Millions In Back Taxes

GettyImages-106839237-68529
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Despite receiving payment from the Victim of Fraud fund, Vanderbilt then discovered that she owed $2.5 million in back taxes after her crooked lawyer failed to pay the IRS. This all went down during the mid-’90s, by which time her fashion line wasn’t as popular as it was in the ’80s. Sales were on a steady decline yet Vanderbilt’s spending habits remained the same. After all, she had been wealthy all her life.

As a result, she was forced to sell her seven-bedroom Southampton mansion and five-story New York City townhouse for $2.7 million to settle her debts.

She’s A NYT Bestselling Author

GettyImages-519671596-57308
John Lamparski/Getty Images
John Lamparski/Getty Images

Writing has always been something that sparked a fire in Vanderbilt. So it’s no surprise that in recent years she’s written several books that have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. She wrote about her trysts with influential celebrities in 2004’s It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir, which remains one of her most popular works to date.

In 2016, Vanderbilt also co-authored a book with her son Anderson Cooper titled The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss.

She Drew On Her Life To Create “Dream Boxes”

GettyImages-151896778-55867
Ilya S. Savenok/WireImage
Ilya S. Savenok/WireImage

As a self-proclaimed “intuitive artist” Vanderbilt created works using “found” images and artifacts and in 2001, she put it all together to open her first official art exhibition called “Dream Boxes.” Featuring striking creations in plexiglass boxes, the exhibit was a critical success.

“The first inspiration for the Dream Boxes probably started when, as a child, I became fascinated by those glass balls which, when shaken, cause snow to swirl, drawing me into a world that had order, one that wouldn’t change or disappoint, shutting out and obliterating the world around me, the world I was in,” she said according to Ontario Review.

She Lived To Be 95

GettyImages-508924384-99817
Gianni Penati/Condé Nast via Getty Images
Gianni Penati/Condé Nast via Getty Images

Gloria Vanderbilt lived an incredible life full of happiness. She became a major influence in the fashion industry and will not be forgotten. Near the end of her life, Vanderbilt was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Less than one month after her diagnosis, Gloria Vanderbilt passed away. After passing, Anderson Cooper said, “The last few weeks, every time I kissed her goodbye, I would say, ‘I love you, Mom. She would look at me and say, ‘I love you, too. You know that.’ And she was right. I did know that.”