When heiress Gloria Vanderbilt died leaving almost everything in her will to her youngest son, Anderson Cooper, there were suggestions that he could inherit up to $200 million.
Vanderbilt’s will states that her eldest son Leopold “Stan” Stokowski will get her Midtown co-op at 30 Beekman Place, but “all the rest” of her estate goes to the CNN host. It wasn’t initially clear how much Cooper would receive, but it was assumed to be sizeable given online reports about her net worth.
However, probate documents filed after the socialite’s death in June reveal that Cooper will actually receive less than $1.5 million — the total value of her estate at the time of her death.
Cooper certainly wasn’t expecting a windfall. In 2014, he told Howard Stern, “My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund. There’s none of that.” He added, “I don’t believe in inheriting money . . . I think it’s a curse . . . 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.” He has not commented further.
So where did the money go? The descendant of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, Gloria was born into one of America’s wealthiest families, with a $2.5 million trust fund (equivalent to $35 million today). She worked as a model, actress, a writer and launched a denim fashion empire in the ’70s that was reportedly worth $100 million. But the business faded, and she reportedly continued to spend lavishly on philanthropic and personal pursuits. She sued her lawyer and psychiatrist in ’93 for stealing millions of dollars and selling off her business interests without her permission. And she sold two of her homes in the 1990s to pay back taxes owed to the IRS.
Prominent NYC lawyer Herbert E. Nass told Page Six, “It is noteworthy that Gloria didn’t leave hardly anything to Anderson, when it was assumed he would get most of her estate. Her eldest son inherited her biggest asset, her apartment, and there does not appear to be much else left, according to the probate document.”
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