Anderson Cooper covers wars, has been under attack in Egypt and reported through hurricanes. But he also knows a good entertainment story when he sees one—spray tanning himself with Snooki, admitting to being a big fan of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and dragging best bud Kathy Griffin along to the unveiling of his wax figure, which he said "looks like a jerk."
So it's no surprise that when it comes to ratings gold for his new talk show, Anderson's going all out—and this time it's with his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt. He's sitting down for a one-hour chat with the famed jean designer to talk about his brother's suicide and her many husbands and hookups, among other things.
What shockers is she telling her son?
The 87-year-old Vanderbilt family heiress, who became famous as a child when she was the subject of a nasty custody battle between her mother and her aunt, has had quite a life.
Starting with the many men she's loved, the four-times married Gloria talks to her outspoken son about her romances and even discusses how open she was with Anderson about it all.
"What's amazing, my mom has written a dozen books—one of them was a romance memoir about some of the gentleman callers I guess that she had over the years," Cooper said. "She asked me to proofread and I was like 'Really? Really?' So I did, and it was funny because I used to watch old movies with my mom when I was a kid, and there's like Frank Sinatra in some movie and I would turn and be like, 'Oh, did you ever know Frank SInatra?' She would look at me and be like, 'Oh yes.' "
Anderson also covers the topic of his older brother, Carter's, suicide in the summer of 1988, which his mother witnessed in the family's New York City penthouse apartment. Vanderbilt said she thinks about him "all the time."
"I still run through it...and he did not jump," she explains. "He was sitting on the wall with one foot on there and one foot hanging over and he kept looking down. And I kept begging him, too, and then when he went, he went like an athlete, and hung over the wall like this. And I said, 'Carter, come back," and for a minute I thought that he was going to come back, but he didn't. He let go."
When she explains that there was a moment she believed she was going to jump after him from the 14th floor balcony, Anderson is visibly moved when she tells him the thought of him is what stopped her.
Cooper also brings out special guests for him mom, including Diane Von Furstenberg, singer Judy Collins and good 'ol Kathy to provide some laughs. Describing his mom's resilience as "incredible," Anderson talks about her never giving up the search for a great love.
"You have survived so many things," he tells his mom. "This custody battle when you were 10 years old, the loss of your father when you were an infant, the loss of Carter, of my dad, your husband and so many others and yet it hasn't made you tough, it hasn't hardened you...You still believe that the next great love is right around the corner."
The entire interview airs today.