From a young age, Vanderbilt led a tumultuous life, one marked by a heated custody battle over her and her inheritance when she was young, and filled with marriages and business ventures as she grew older. “She lived her entire life in the public eye,” Cooper said in a video obituary that aired on CNN Monday.
Vanderbilt was the only daughter of railroad magnate Reginald Vanderbilt and his second wife. As such, she and a half-sister, Cathleen Vanderbilt, each stood to inherit a share in a trust after the executive died when Gloria was just eighteen months old. Her paternal aunt would eventually win custody over the girl and her share in the trust. The trial around who would take control of young Vanderbilt’s life and finances was a tabloid sensation at the time.