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Why Gloria Vanderbilt was ‘shattered’ when son Anderson Cooper came out as gay to her

Why Gloria Vanderbilt was ‘shattered’ when son Anderson Cooper came out as gay to her

Gloria Vanderbilt had ‘occasionally suspected’ that her son Anderson Cooper was gay.

But when the future CNN anchor finally told his famous mom about himself, the heiress and fashion icon immediately felt regret.

‘I was shattered because I remembered something I had said off-handedly years before: “I would feel I had failed as a parent if one of my children were gay.” It was an ignorant remark.’

Vanderbilt makes the revelation in a joint interview mother and son did for the current issue of People magazine.

‘It took great courage for you to confide in me,’ Vanderbilt tells Cooper during the interview. ‘I hope you know that I am more than “okay” with it; I rejoice that you are gay! It’s part of what makes you the person you are.’

Says Cooper: ‘I knew that once you got over your initial surprise that you would be supportive.’

But Cooper had been a little ‘scared’ to tell his mom when he was 21 because ‘I sensed it disturbed you’ that his maternal grandmother, Gloria Morgan, had been ‘accused’ of being a lesbian in a famous custody battle over her with the Vanderbilt family after the death of her husband.

Vanderbilt says her mother was a lesbian who also had affairs with men.

‘I obsessively worried that I would grow up to be like my mother. When boys came into the picture it was an incredible relief. It took me until my thirties to understand that there is nothing strange or peculiar about being gay or lesbian.’

In the same interview Vanderbilt shares with her son that she had a brief lesbian relationship when she was 13 with a girl in school.

It was news to him.

‘What? Hello?’ Cooper says. ‘You didn’t mention this in the book, Mom.’

Cooper collaborated with his mother on the new memoir The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love and Loss as well as on the new HBO documentary Nothing Left Unsaid which airs on 9 April.