Anderson Cooper aired an emotional tribute to late mom Gloria Vanderbilt on Monday that included her interesting story, the journalist said that while his mother would have liked more time with her family, her life was extraordinary.
"Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms," Anderson, 52, said in a statement. "She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they'd tell you, she was the youngest person they knew, the coolest, and most modern. She died this morning, the way she wanted to—at home, surrounded by family and friends."
The journalist went on to pay homage to his mom on CNN. "Gloria Vanderbilt, my mom, lived her entire life in the public eye," he began. "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. She had no idea the trouble that money would create."
"As a teenager she tried to avoid the spotlight but reporters and cameramen would follow her everywhere," Anderson stated. "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."
"If you were around in the early 1980s, it was pretty hard to miss the jeans she helped create, but that was her public face, the one she learned to hide behind as a child," he continued. "Her private self, her real self was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public. I always thought of her as a visitor from another world. A traveler stranded here who had come from a distant star that burned out long ago. I always felt it was my job to try to protect her. She was the strongest person I've ever met but she wasn't ever tough, she never developed a thick skin to protect herself from hurt. She wanted to feel it all. She wanted to feel life's pleasures, its pains as well. She trusted too freely, too completely and suffered tremendous losses, but she always pressed on, always worked hard, always believed the best was yet to come."
Sending our thoughts to Anderson Cooper and Gloria's family during this difficult time.