Why Gloria Vanderbilt Did Not Leave an Inheritance for Son Anderson Cooper

Antoinette Bueno‍

Anderson Cooper has always been content making his own money.

The 52-year-old journalist's mother, artist and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, died on Monday after a battle with stomach cancer. But although Vanderbilt was wealthy due to her successful business ventures as well as her late father being financier Reginald Vanderbilt, the heir to a railroad fortune, Cooper made it clear in a 2014 interview that his mother was not leaving him a trust fund.

"My mom's made clear to me that there's no trust fund. There's none of that," Cooper told a shocked Howard Stern during his appearance on the host's Sirius XM show. " ... I'm doing fine on my own. I don't need any."

He went on to explain why he didn't mind his mother not leaving him her considerable fortune.

"I don't believe in inheriting money," he said. "I think it’s an initiative sucker, I think it’s a curse. Who's inherited a lot of money that has gone on to do things in their life? From the time I was growing up, if I felt like there was some pot of gold waiting for me, I don't know if I would have been so motivated."

Cooper also pointed out that his mom made more money by herself than she inherited.

"We believe in working," he noted. "She's the coolest person I know. She really is."

Vanderbilt was estimated to be worth $1.5 million at the time of her death.

The late heiress made it clear throughout her life that she valued making her own money. In a 1985 interview with The New York Times, she said, "I'm not knocking inherited money, but the money I’ve made has a reality to me that inherited money doesn’t have."

In a 2016 interview with CBS This Morning, Cooper said that both he and his mother didn't have much of a connection to the wealthy Vanderbilts.

"That name Vanderbilt has such baggage with it, such history, and I'm very glad I don't have that name, and my mom never felt much connection to the Vanderbilt family and I certainly didn't," Cooper said, noting that he always identified more with his late father, writer Wyatt Emory Cooper's, more down-to-earth roots in Mississippi. "One of the happiest days for my mom, she called me and said, 'Somebody just referred to me as Anderson Cooper's mom.' Very happy that she's reached that stage of life."

In Cooper's moving on-air eulogy for his mother, he talked about her complicated past.

"Gloria Vanderbilt lived her entire life in the public eye," he said while narrating a touching video. "Born in 1924, her father, Reginald Vanderbilt, was heir to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune, but gambled away most of his inheritance, and died when my mom was just a baby. Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, her mother, wasn't ready to be a mom or a widow."

"My mom grew up in France, not knowing anything about the Vanderbilt family or the money that she would inherit when she turned 21," he continued. "She had no idea the trouble that money would create."

Her family name continued to affect her as she grew up, after a judge granted custody to her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, when she was 10 years old -- whom she barely knew at the time -- and fired her beloved nanny, whom she was close to. The intense custody battle between her aunt and her mom was dubbed "The Trial of the Century."

"As a teenager, she tried to avoid the spotlight, but reporters and cameramen would follow her everywhere," Cooper shared. "She was determined to make something of her life, determined to make a name for herself and find the love and family that she so desperately craved."

For more on Vanderbilt's extraordinary life as well as her and Cooper's unconventional mother-son relationship, watch the video below:

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