As the sole surviving member of his immediate family, Anderson Cooper is working hard to preserve his kin’s iconic legacy for his sons Wyatt, 3, and Sebastian, 19 months — should they one day choose to delve into their history, the news anchor says.
During an interview with People, Cooper opened up about the process of going through his parents’ things and items from his childhood to create an ancestral story for his kids. His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt — yes, of those Vanderbilts — passed away in 2019 at 95 years old. Cooper lost his father, Wyatt Cooper, when he was just 11, and 10 years later in 1988, his older brother Carter died by suicide at just 23 years old.
The CNN anchor has been candid about the complicated relationship he has and his mother had with the Vanderbilt family, but despite that strain, Gloria enjoyed a colorful, star-studded life — and Cooper has been learning more about her adventures while organizing her things.
Of the process, the dad of two said, “For me, it’s so fraught with memory and emotions and stuff. You find a box of Christmas cards from, I don’t know, 1984, and you think, ‘Oh, I can just toss these.’ And you start to read them.”
Highlighting a few of the incredible mementos he’s stumbled across, Cooper shared, “There’s letters from Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra telegrams and Charlie Chaplin’s Christmas cards. I didn’t know Charlie Chaplin sent Christmas cards. Nobody did.”
He’s creating a familial archive of the treasures that, should his sons be interested in, they can comb through when they’re older. “Whenever in life they are interested in learning and looking at it, it’ll be there,” Cooper said. He continued, “I liked the idea of creating this record if they’re interested. And if they’re not interested, that’s fine too. I don’t want them to feel weighted down by the past.”
The news anchor has already passed on a few things to his little boys, including a toy he and his own brother used to love. “I recently found wooden blocks that my brother and I played with,” Cooper shared. He recalled, “That was a big toy for us. They’ve got all these markings on them — we drew robots on them and stuff. And so now to see Wyatt playing with those and building things, it’s crazy.”
Additionally, Sebastian has taken a liking to a box that Cooper made in grade school. He told the outlet, “I remember making this box. And now Sebastian has it and puts books in it and stuff.”
The process of passing his history down to his sons has been cathartic for Cooper. “It’s lovely to see this cycle of life and of love and how all these things sort of repeat,” he explained. “They are playing the same games I played as a kid and inventing new games. And I just have this incredible sense of wonder about that and witnessing that up close,” Cooper concluded.
The CNN anchor is clearly enamored by seeing his ancestry through the lens of fatherhood, and we love how therapeutic it seems to have been for him while he maintains a “no pressure” outlook concerning his sons’ future interest in their family tree. Healthy parenting always gets snaps from us, and we’re enthusiastically snapping for Cooper.
Before you go, click here to see celebrities who have spoken out about being estranged from family.
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