Gloria Vanderbilt the mom, on losing a kid, Anderson Cooper coming out


Amy Haneline

Updated 6:28 AM EST Dec 17, 2019

Gloria Vanderbilt died at age 95 with a vault of titles: heiress, painter, writer, designer, artist, actress, fashion model and philanthropist. 

But most moms would agree that “mom” is the title that trumps them all.

Vanderbilt was mother to four sons: Anderson Cooper, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, Christopher Stokowski and Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski.

Her most famed son is CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, who documented correspondence between him and his mother in “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Loss and Love.”

The two promoted the book together and those interviews gave us a glimpse into Vanderbilt as a “mom.” She opened up about losing a child and learning her son Anderson is gay.

‘There’s never closure’

Vanderbilt’s son Carter died by suicide when he was 23. 

No mother ever wants to outlive her children, but Vanderbilt actually witnessed her son’s plunge from the 14th floor of her New York apartment in 1988, The New York Times reported. Carter had been undergoing treatment for depression.

Vanderbilt recounted the loss in an interview with USA TODAY. 

“I love to talk about Carter, because for me, it brings him alive again,” she said. “People talk about ‘bringing closure,’ but in my opinion, there’s

never closure.”

‘Love is all’

The mother also discussed her son Anderson Cooper’s sexuality.

Anderson, who came out to his mother while he was in college, noted that he grew up surrounded by her gay friends.

But Vanderbilt acknowledged that she was “terrified” when her bisexual mother was accused of being a lesbian. “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 told USA TODAY.

Vanderbilt also added that she often wished she was a lesbian because she understands and trusts women, and men are mysterious, to which her son argued, “Men are so not mysterious.”

She added:

“I’m always in love. If it’s not a person, it’s a flower or a sunset. Love is all.”

Contributing: Elysa Gardner and Maria Puente


  • Gloria Vanderbilt, fashion icon and socialite, dies at age 95
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