Why Gloria Vanderbilt’s Youngest Son Won’t Be Inheriting Her Fortune

Gloria Vanderbilt, fashion icon and heiress of one of America's best-known wealthy families, passed away on June 17, 2019. What will happen to her substantial fortune remains to be seen—but we do know that her youngest son won't be receiving any of it.

The passing of fashion pioneer and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt has led to touching tributes and kind words, both from those who knew her personally and those who simply adored her clothing alike. But it’s also led to speculation about her fortune. In addition to the $5 million trust fund she inherited as a young woman, Vanderbilt also headed her own profitable clothing label, so she’d probably agree with these money tips from self-made millionaires. And the questions about her fortune are especially prevalent because one of her children is a pretty high-profile figure himself.

Vanderbilt’s youngest son from her fourth marriage is successful CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper. But Cooper won’t be following in his mother’s footsteps and receiving a large sum of money now that his mother has passed. In fact, he won’t receive any money from her at all.

This isn’t a bombshell revelation that’s come to light after her death, though. Cooper claims he’s always known that he wouldn’t be inheriting money from his mother, so it’s not one of these shocking family secrets people learned after someone died. In a 2014 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Cooper said, “My mom’s made it clear to me that there’s no trust fund, there’s none of that.” He claimed that his mother valued the money she made on her own far beyond her own inheritance. He said that his mother had never discussed with him where the money actually would go, but that he knew he himself wouldn’t be getting it “from the time [he] was a kid.”

And Cooper says that he much prefers it that way. “I don’t believe in inheriting money,” he told Stern in the same interview. “I think it’s an initiative sucker, I think it’s a curse.” The knowledge that he had a “pot of gold” waiting for him from his mother would have stunted his motivation as a young man, he believes. And, of course, Cooper is pretty financially well off himself, so it’s not as if receiving money from his mother would make or break his financial well-being. Either way, though, he’s made it clear that he’s perfectly content without his late mother’s money.

If his words while she was alive, and the moving eulogy he gave after her passing, are any indication, there was no ill will between Cooper and his mother. “My mom…is the coolest person I know. She really is,” he said on The Howard Stern Show. It seems like Cooper and Vanderbilt’s positive mother-son relationship was more valuable to either of them than money—and we certainly can’t argue with that. Here are some more touching motherhood quotes that will make you want to call your mom.

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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.