Anderson Cooper Reveals How His Mom, at Age 85, Offered to be a Surrogate

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday September 27, 2021

Openly gay CNN anchor Anderson Cooper revealed to Stephen Colbert how his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, once suggested she act as a surrogate for his child, Vanity Fair reports. "I was like, 'That is just weirdly Oedipal on a whole other level,'" Cooper recalled during his Sept. 23 appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

"Cooper explained that she had called him up one day a little over a decade ago saying that she needed to talk to him about something and, when he arrived at her house, informed him that she'd been to the gynecologist the week before," the VF article said.

Cooper told Colbert that it "wasn't that unusual for her to start a sentence like that." But then Vanderbilt added that the doctor had told her she would still be able to carry and deliver a child, before presenting her suggestion: "'Well, what I was thinking is, you get an egg and, you know, fertilize it with your sperm, and I'll carry your child,'" Cooper recalled her saying to him.

After a moment of "stunned" silence, Cooper told Vanderbilt, "'You know, mom, I love you, but even for you that is just batshit crazy.'"

Cooper added that the suggestion was "weirdly Oedipal on a whole other level" and he feared that any child his mother carried for him "would be on the front page of the New York Post for the rest of its life."

Vanderbilt wasn't entirely dissuaded, though.

"Fast forward two years later," Cooper went on to say, to a day when Vanderbilt sent him "a newspaper clipping...the headline is 'Grandmother bears child for son.'"

"Vanderbilt had circled the photo of the son and his partner watching the birth of their child, writing, 'See!'" VF said.

Cooper cited his mother's offer as an explanation for how "during interviews I just stay stone-faced and listen to people say batshit crazy things."

"I grew up with Gloria Vanderbilt," Cooper said.

Cooper did have a son via surrogate. Wyatt Cooper was born in April of 2020.

In addition to unusual anecdotes, Vanderbilt left Cooper something else: A disinclination to leave Wyatt a huge pile of money when he dies.

Cooper, who inherited a relative pittance — less than $1.5 million — from his mother, is worth an estimated $200 million, Page Six reports, but he intends to follow his mother's example.

"I don't believe in passing on huge amounts of money," Cooper said during a Sept. 25 appearance on the Morning Meeting podcast. "I'm not that interested in money, but I don't intend to have some sort of pot of gold for my son," the out anchor added.

"I'll go with what my parents said: 'College will be paid for, and then you gotta get on it.'"

Cooper has more stories about his family to tell in a new book, titled "Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty," Page Six noted.

Watch Cooper's appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" here.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.