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As the son of railroad heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, you’d think Anderson Cooper’s net worth would be bloated with millions upon millions in inheritance. But the beloved news anchor didn’t inherit her estimated $200 million estate.
“My mother’s made clear to me there’s no trust fund,” he told Howard Stern in 2014, prior to his mom’s death in 2019, and he explained why he was grateful there wasn’t. “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.”
Rather, the beloved broadcaster has forged his own path to a massive fortune all his own (of course, there are benefits and privileges that come with being a “nepo baby” outside of financial ones), building a significant net worth thanks to his successful career with CNN as a correspondent, talk show host and political commentator. He’s won 18 Emmy Awards, and two Peabody Awards and was given a National Order of Honour and Merit by the Haitian government for his coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Read on to find out about Anderson Cooper’s net worth.
Anderson Cooper’s net worth is said to be around $50 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He was born in Manhattan, New York, the younger son of author Wyatt Emory Cooper and socialite/artist Gloria Vanderbilt, who was a direct descendent of shipping and railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt and the last to carry his name.
Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images
When Cornelius, Cooper’s great-great-grandfather, died in 1877, he had a net worth of $100 million—$2.7 trillion adjusting for inflation. It was “an insane amount of money today, but in 1877 it boggled the imagination,” Cooper explained on an episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “One out of every 20 dollars in circulation belonged to Commodore Vanderbilt… He had more money than the US Treasury.”
In his book, Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty
, Cooper examined the history of his family on his mother’s side, chronicling how their massive fortune had dwindled to almost nothing by the time it fell to Cooper’s mother Gloria. Passing away at age 45 due to alcoholism, her father Reginald died in debt and his account held a little over $423,000. Though thanks to a trust fund locked away by her grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Gloria inherited $2.5 million (or about $36 million by today’s standards).
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Cooper said there was “no trust fund” in his mother’s will but upon her death, age 95, Page Six revealed Vanderbilt’s will, which was filed in Manhattan surrogate court, actually did leave Cooper with almost all of her estate in the form of property. While the sum wasn’t known at the time, it was later discovered to be less than $1.5 million. Cooper will follow in his mother’s footsteps by not leaving much to his sons Wyatt and Sebastian, except paying for their college education. “I don’t believe in passing on huge amounts of money,” the CNN anchor, 54, told Air Mail’s Ashley Baker and Michael Hainey on their Morning Meeting podcast before the birth of his second child. “I’m not that interested in money, but I don’t intend to have some sort of pot of gold for my son. I’ll go with what my parents said … ‘College will be paid for, and then you gotta get on it.’”
Cooper shares sons Wyatt, born in April 2020 and Sebastian, born February 2022, with ex-partner Benjamin Maisani, who were both born via surrogate. While the couple is no longer together (they split in 2018), they remain the best of friends and co-parent their two boys successfully. “It’s awesome. It’s probably an unusual setup, but I knew he would be a great dad, and he is. We’re exes, but we’re family to each other, and we love each other as family and as co-parents,” Cooper told People. “There’s the usual bickering that any two people have when there’s a kid involved, like what time should he go to swimming class, or should he wear the overalls, or whatever,” he admits, adding, “But all silly, minor things. We get along great.”
Photo by Jenny Anderson/WireImage
Cooper has a beach house in the coastal Brazilian town of Trancoso and famously renovated an old, 19th-century firehouse in New York’s Greenwich Village, which he paid $4.3 million for in January 2010. The property boasts four floors and over 8,240 square feet. In 2015, the property served as the set for an H&M advertisement starring David Beckham and Kevin Hart.
In 2021, Cooper listed the apartment left to him by his late mother for sale at 30 Beekman Place on the east side of Midtown Manhattan—a classic five on the second floor—for $1.12 million with monthly maintenance setting the owner back $4,311. It was priced modestly, noted the New York Times at the time, saying: “The apartment is on a low floor, has a high maintenance and is in a neighborhood that is slightly off the beaten track. Also, unrenovated since 1997, when Ms. Vanderbilt moved in, it needs a total rehab.” It sold in a mere few months after hitting the market.
“When I was growing up, we moved every four years,” Cooper told the Times, reflecting on his time spent in the apartment. “My mom was always remodeling and redecorating, never quite satisfied with the story the room was telling at the time. Moving would be part of that. She would get restless with a place. For her to stay in this apartment for 23 years, which for my mom is an eternity, it had to change. I think she got tired of all the moving, and she decided to burrow into this place and just work on it.”
As the host of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Cooper earns a chiefly annual salary of $12 million. Cooper embarked on his journalism career after graduating from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts degree, studying political science and international relations.
He became a correspondent for ABC news in 1995 and was promoted to co-anchor of World News Now in September 1999. He joined CNN in 2001 anchoring alongside Paula Zahn on American Morning and a year later became the weekend prime-time anchor for the network. Cooper was given his own show, Anderson Cooper 360, on September 8, 2003. In 2007, he signed a multi-year deal with CNN that would also allow him to continue to occasionally contribute as a correspondent for 60 Minutes on CBS. He doubled his annual salary from $2 to $4 million.
As mentioned, Cooper has won numerous awards for his coverage of significant world events. In 1997, his reporting on Princess Diana’s funeral won him an Emmy; in 2005 he received a Peabody for covering Hurricane Katrina; and won two Emmys in 2011 for his coverage of the Haiti earthquake.
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During the 2016 presidential election, Cooper’s profile was bolstered significantly. He was in the running to become Kelly Ripa’s co-host on ABC’s Live permanently—he was Ripa’s top choice to replace Michael Strahan. But Cooper said staying at CNN was a top priority, per the Hollywood Reporter. He signed a new long-term deal to remain at the news network, although would continue to fill in on the program as well as contribute several pieces for CBS’s 60 Minutes each season.
Cooper has hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live since 2002 and has appeared alongside Andy Cohen since 2017. They’ve become somewhat of an institution for their on-screen antics. “Anderson and I will be the people partying on CNN [though] we will be partying responsibly,” Cohen told Rolling Stone. “My job is to take Anderson out of his comfort zone [and] my job is to be a party ringleader for everyone watching us on New Year’s Eve. And that is what I will continue to do. And as a matter of fact, if the correspondents are not drinking this year, I will be partying even harder on their behalf.”
He continued: “One of the very cool things about doing New Year’s Eve with Anderson is that I don’t have to plan anything, New Year’s Eve is a holiday that stresses people out; it rarely delivers. For me now, this is going to be my sixth year, and it has delivered every year. I absolutely love it.”
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