"When they were on my show, he held her hand for almost the whole show," Andy Cohen tells PEOPLE of Anderson Cooper and his late mom, Gloria Vanderbilt

By Justin Curto and Jen Juneau
June 21, 2019 08:57 AM
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Andy Cohen has fond, beautiful memories of his pal Anderson Cooper‘s late mother, Gloria Vanderbilt — especially of their close relationship.

“I think how sweet — every time I saw her with Anderson, he always held her hand, which really touched me,” the Watch What Happens Live host, 51, told PEOPLE on Thursday at his Bravo talk show’s 10th anniversary red carpet and talk event at the Paley Center in New York City.

“When they were on my show, he held her hand for almost the whole show,” Cohen added. “And I remember being very moved by that. And I got a chance to see her last week with him, and there he was holding her hand, and it just fills my heart up to think about.”

The heiress, socialite and fashion icon died at age 95 on Monday in her Manhattan home with friends and family at her side. Cooper, 52, announced his mother’s death with a touching obituary on CNN, explaining that the family had learned earlier this month that “she had very advanced cancer in her stomach and that it had spread.”

“When the doctor told her she had cancer, she was silent for a while, and then she said, ‘Well, it’s like that old song: Show me the way to get out of this world, because that’s where everything is,’ ” he said.

Andy Cohen (L), Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper
Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty
Anderson Cooper (L) and Gloria Vanderbilt
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage

One day after her death, Cooper shared a touching tribute to Vanderbilt on Instagram. The CNN journalist shared a series of photos of his mother throughout her life, including a photo of them together and a photo holding each other’s hands in her final days.

“In the end, after all else is stripped away, there is only love. My mom believed in love more than anyone,” Cooper wrote. “It was her guide, her solace, it’s what drove her, and in her final moments, it is what surrounded her.”

” ‘I love you, you know that,’ she would say to me, and I did, I knew it from the moment I was born, and I will know it till the moment I die,” he added. “It was her greatest gift to me.”

Andy Cohen (L), Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU/Getty

On Monday’s episode of WWHL, Cohen paid tribute to Vanderbilt, beginning, “Born to one of the most famous families in the country and thrust into the spotlight at a young age, Gloria Vanderbilt made a name for herself not just as a Vanderbilt but as a painter, a writer, an actress and of course, a fashion designer.”

“She lived a life filled with incredible peaks and impossible obstacles. Through it all she remained eternally optimistic with a wicked sense of humor,” the host continued, before rolling clips of Vanderbilt’s appearance on the show in 2016 with Cooper, calling her “as captivating and radiant as ever.”

“We are sending Anderson all of our love as we honor a great, great woman,” Cohen said Monday. “May Gloria Vanderbilt rest in peace.”