Anderson Cooper and his family have come full circle in 2016. The CNN journalist, who produced a documentary about his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, earlier this year, has reportedly reunited with his half-brother, Christopher Stokowski, after a 38-year estrangement. Both Anderson and his mother have seen Christopher on a regular basis since he first got back in touch with them after the HBO documentary about Vanderbilt’s life was released, according to Bravo.
Cooper confirmed that he has reconciled with his older brother, telling Page Six, “Yes, we did reconnect and reconcile after the film.” While Anderson declined to give further details regarding the surprising reconciliation, his uncle, Harry Cooper, revealed that Vanderbilt has seen Christopher three times over the past few months.
Anderson Cooper’s mom was married to conductor Leopold Stokowski before she married Anderson’s father, Wyatt Cooper, and she had two sons with him, Chris and Stan.
Odd Couple: Conductor Leopold Stokowski and Gloria Vanderbilt (1945-1955) pic.twitter.com/21wdCUFwSZ
— Jessica (J. P.) (@HollywoodComet) September 13, 2015
Gloria Vanderbilt remains close with her son, Stan Stokowski, and his children, and Stan even spoke with his half brother Anderson in the documentary, Nothing Left Unsaid. Vanderbilt’s fourth son, Carter, committed suicide by jumping off of a high-rise balcony in 1988 as his mother watched in horror.
— Wendy Braitman (@wendybraitman) April 5, 2016
As a child, Anderson Cooper was very close to his older brother, despite their 15-year age difference, but Christopher abandoned the family in 1978 after his mother’s therapist, Dr. Christ L. Zois, became overly involved in his personal life.
According to Page Six, Chris Stokowski stopped speaking to his mother, Anderson, and the rest of the family, when he was just 26-years-old after Gloria’s shrink interfered with his relationship with his then-fiancée April Sandmeyer. The bizarre incident spawned a lawsuit in which Vanderbilt eventually won a $1.5 million judgment against Zois and a lawyer that she accused of “preying on her wealth and emotional fragility,” but the win did nothing to repair her fractured relationship with her estranged son.
Sadly, Chris’s estrangement from the family came shortly after the sudden death of Anderson’s father, Wyatt, so it was a double loss for Cooper, who was only 10-years-old at the time.
Earlier this year, Anderson’s documentary, Nothing Left Unsaid, failed to touch on the family’s decades-long estrangement from Stokowski. In fact, Cooper’s half brother is barely mentioned in the film. Still, Sandmeyer told Page Six that Anderson and Gloria probably didn’t mention the estrangement out of respect for Chris because he doesn’t want to be in the public eye.
“I can’t reveal [what happened],” Sandmeyer told Page Six. “It’s very sad and it’s very horrible and it has a lot to do with [the doctor]… [Chris] started to become estranged after the incident. I won’t divulge anything more. It’s a sensitive topic. [Zois’] relationship with [Vanderbilt]… wasn’t a normal doctor-patient relationship. She was too much under his influence.”
While she said it was too “painful” to watch the documentary, Sandmeyer was instrumental in reconnecting Anderson Cooper and his brother after the film aired. Chris reportedly contacted his estranged family through his former fiancé.
“I’m very happy for them and glad to have played a part in them being back in touch,” she told Page Six.
According to the Daily Mail, Anderson’s half brother lives off the estate of his late father, who died in 1977. Cooper, who has made his own fortune as a journalist and bestselling author, has been vocal about the fact that he doesn’t believe in inheriting money. Cooper once said that passing down family wealth to the next generation is “an initiative sucker” and “a curse.”
Take a look at the video below for more on Anderson Cooper and the documentary Nothing Left Unsaid.
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]