Christopher Stokowski is a music composer who has come to be better known for the famous family in which he was born. He is the step-brother of the accomplished journalist Anderson Cooper who works for CNN, as well as one of the sons of the late socialite and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt.
For a long time, Christopher lived his life in complete isolation from his family members after his mother tried interfering in his love life. Here is a look at how things have since fared with him as well as his relationship with his younger brother, Anderson.
Christopher Stokowski’s Background
Anderson Cooper’s runaway brother was born on the 31st of January in 1952 to the legendary Leopold Stokowski and his then-wife, Gloria Vanderbilt. His father is regarded as one of the finest orchestra conductors to come out of the 20th century while his mother was an heiress to the vast Vanderbilt fortune. Her parents are Reginald and Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. Her exceptional lineage adorned her with fame from the moment she was born. She was thrust into the spotlight long before she even learned how to walk. She went on to become a renowned socialite, painter, businesswoman, designer, and writer.
Christopher Stokowski’s mother tied the knot with his father just a few weeks after she divorced her first husband, Hollywood agent Pasquale Di Cicco. At 20, she was 43 years younger than Christopher’s father.
He has an older brother named Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski who was born two years before him. Christopher’s parents ended their conjugal union after 12 years of being married. His mother was granted custody of him and his brother.
Very little is known about Christopher’s early life other than the fact that he was a shy child who had a hard time dealing with his mother’s fame. Even after he went off to Bard College, he remained reclusive and tried very much to stay away from the Stokowski-Vanderbilt fame. He followed his father’s footsteps by taking an interest in music and soon became determined to establish a career as a musician.
More Facts About Stokowski
1. He disappeared for 38 years
In 1974, Christopher fell in love with a young woman called April Sandmeyer and began dating her. He became engaged to her in 1977, shortly after his father Leopold, and stepfather Wyatt Cooper passed away.
Around this time he began seeing his mother’s therapist, whom he later discovered was colluding with his mother to try to bring an end to his relationship with Sandmeyer. This led to his fiancée calling off the engagement. In anger, Christopher moved out of his mother’s house and stopped speaking to her thinking it’d help him win April back. When his efforts proved abortive, he moved away from New York and told his family he was never returning. No one heard from him again for the next 38 years.
2. Christopher Stokowski has more than a handful of siblings
The Stokowski-Vanderbilt family tree is a very large and blended one. On his father’s side, Christopher has one sibling named Leopold, and three step-sisters named Sonia Maria Noel, Gloria Luba Stokowski, and Andrea Sadja Stokowski. His mother’s marriage to the editor and writer Wyatt Cooper produced two more step-siblings: Carter Vanderbilt Cooper and Anderson Hays Cooper.
3. His half-sibling Carter committed suicide
While Christopher was away from his family, his half-brother Carter killed himself by jumping off the 14th-floor terrace of his mother’s penthouse in Manhattan.
He was only 23 at the time. No one understands why he chose to end his life because as far as everyone could tell, he was doing fine. He was a smart chap who had attended Princeton and had a lucrative job as a book editor at American Heritage.
4. Christopher Stokowski reunited with his family in 2016
After being estranged from his family for several decades, Christopher got in touch with them again in 2016 after he watched the HBO documentary featuring his mother and brother titled Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper. He continues to maintain contact with them to date. Christopher contacted his family through April Sandmeyer.
5. His mother had widely publicized relationships with several famous personalities
Gloria Vanderbilt was renowned for many things including her romantic and sexual affairs with a number of celebrities including Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Howard Hughes, and Errol Flynn.
She was married first to Pat DiCicco for four years and then Leopold Stokowski for 10 years, followed by Sidney Lumet for seven years, and finally Wyatt Emory Cooper for 15 years.
6. He has a massive net worth
Coming from a wealthy family sure has its perks, one of which is multi-million dollar inheritances. Christopher Stokowski inherited a huge chunk of his father’s fortune.
Following the passing of his mother, Chris was expected to inherit a large chunk of what she left behind as Anderson stated he was not interested in what she left behind. He seems to be very much contented with his annual salary of $11 million from CNN. However, Gloria ended up leaving almost everything she had for Anderson, while Christoper was cut out of the will entirely.
Nonetheless, there are also reports that the woman didn’t leave Cooper anything.
How Close are Christopher and Anderson?
Christopher Stokowski is 15 years older than Anderson Cooper, but the two maintained a very good relationship before Stokowski’s bizarre exit on his family after his mother made an attempt at influencing his personal life. Chris took care of his little brother and showed him so much love while Anderson was said to have adored his older brother who spoiled him.
Their relationship suffered a big ugly hit when Chris walked out on the family including the CNN anchor. Anderson’s father died when he was only 10 and so being abandoned by a big brother he adored was described by April Sandmeyer as heartbreaking for him.
For the over three decades that Chris would remain cut out from the family, he did not contact any member of the family. This has not allowed them to build a good relationship. However, when Chris finally returned, the two reconciled. Nonetheless, their relationship could still have been much better.
Anderson is probably not still over his brother’s abandonment as he had since made up his mind that he wanted nothing from his mother’s fortune of over $200 million. Cooper believed that inheritance is some sort of a curse and he wants nothing to do with it. The idea is said to be borne from his bitter experience with his brother who lives off his father’s estate and has cut all ties from the family.
Chris also had an opportunity to make up his relationship with Gloria Vanderbilt before her death in 2019. She often described him and Anderson as her Golden boys.