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Anderson Cooper’s son, Wyatt, is out of luck: Dad doesn’t believe in big inheritances

A man in a navy suit with short silver hair
Anderson Cooper says he’ll pay for his son’s college, but after that he expects Wyatt to make his own money.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

CNN’s Anderson Cooper does not worry much about money — and he’s definitely not worried about leaving a “pot of gold” to his son.

That’s right: Just as mom Gloria Vanderbilt did with him, Cooper is not planning to leave an inheritance to Wyatt Morgan Cooper, the 17-month-old son he shares with former partner Benjamin Maisani.

“I don’t believe in passing on huge amounts of money. I don’t know what I’ll have. I’m not that interested in money,” Cooper said on Saturday’s “Morning Meeting” podcast, speaking with the financial insouciance of someone whose CNN contract reportedly delivers in the low eight figures annually.

“I don’t intend to have some sort of pot of gold for my son. ... I’ll go with what my parents said, which is, college will be paid for and then you gotta get on it.”

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Anderson Cooper is getting a gift he didn’t expect: the bulk of the estate of his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.

The journalist has good reason to be skeptical of the big bucks. In a new book with Katherine Howe, “Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty,” he writes about his ancestors’ massive and squandered wealth, which came about via his great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had amassed a transportation fortune of $100 million by the time he died in 1877.

That was more than the U.S. Treasury had at the time. “One out of every 20 dollars in circulation at that time ... would have belonged to the Vanderbilts,” Cooper said.

The next generation doubled it, and the generation after that, well, they became “the definition of conspicuous consumption,” Cooper said, building New York City palaces and buying boats and the like. By the time “the last Vanderbilt” rolled around — his mother, Gloria — the money was essentially gone, no matter what people wrote about her on the internet.

Anderson Cooper shared why he is co-parenting his new son, Wyatt Morgan Cooper, with an ex-partner in a new interview with Howard Stern.

Those recent generations of Vanderbilts, he said, became “infected with money” and for the most part didn’t use it in “great acts of generosity” or to help others. Or to found, you know, Vanderbilt University.

When his mother died in 2019, having made her own money as a jeans designer, Cooper inherited everything she had except for her Manhattan co-op, which went to an older half-sibling. Vanderbilt’s estate when she died was in the neighborhood of $1.5 million, according to probate documents reviewed by Fox News.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper says his mother, the late fashion entrepreneur Gloria Vanderbilt, was “thrilled” to learn he intended to become a father.

Cooper was 10 when father Wyatt Cooper died, and he said on the podcast that from that moment on, he set out on “a course of studying survival.”

“I knew my mom didn’t have a plan,” he said. “I felt like the ship was sinking, and I wanted to know that I would survive.”


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