Poor Little Rich Girl: The Custody Battle For Gloria Vanderbilt And Her Trust Fund


Long before her name was on the back of your jeans or her son, Anderson Cooper, giving you the news, Gloria Vanderbilt was a kid caught in the middle of one of the most sensational custody battles of the 20th century. Little Gloria, the heir to the Vanderbilt fortune, was just ten years old in 1934, when her influential aunt and fun-loving mother went to court to fight for custody of the child ... and control over her large trust fund.

Reginald Vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt earned a huge fortune as a shipping and railroad magnate during the Gilded Age, and the Vanderbilt family built several huge, impressive mansions along New York City's Fifth Avenue. After his death in 1877, Vanderbilt's fortune was valued at $100 million, which at the time was the largest of the U.S. dollars. The amount of funds in the Treasury was exceeded. Vanderbilt's grandson, Reginald, received a $15.5 million trust fund on his 21st birthday and celebrated the same night by gambling $70,000.

In addition to his gambling addiction, Reginald was a heavy drinker. When he was 42, his doctors warned him to quit drinking, but instead, he married a beautiful 17-year-old socialite named Gloria Morgan. Their daughter, Gloria Vanderbilt, was just 18 months old when her father died of liver cirrhosis in 1925. Her teenage widow was stunned to learn that her husband had squandered her entire inheritance, leaving her impoverished, but the youngest Vanderbilt had a trust fund, and the family lived with her until the girl turned 21. could be of interest.

Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt

Morgan Vanderbilt spent the next several years traveling lavishly and partying with the royals while her daughter was looked after by a live-in nanny. Questions arose about her mother's fitness when Vanderbilt developed tonsillitis at the age of eight and her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, offered the girl her lavish New York City mansion during her recovery. Morgan Vanderbilt went back to her party girl life in Europe and didn't see her daughter for months. Concerned Whitney cut off her sister-in-law's access to Vanderbilt's trust fund, arguing that it was not fair to spend the girl's money when she was not taking care of him or paying his expenses, Morgan to Vanderbilt. Back in the new driven to storm. York to retrieve his daughter. Whitney was reluctant, however, to hand him back to a woman she was convinced was an unfit mother.

Vanderbilt vs Whitney

Vanderbilt v Whitney began on October 1, 1934, with Whitney's lawyers portraying little Gloria as a sick young girl hungry for attention and testifying from colleagues that her mother had consumed too much alcohol. drank, stayed out late, slept around, and had very little interaction with her. daughter. Many saw Morgan Vanderbilt kissing and hugging her friend Nadejda Mountbatten, strongly indicating that the besties were in fact in a lesbian relationship. Vanderbilt herself told the judge she feared her mother, although years later, she claimed she was coached by her aunt's lawyers.

With the evidence piling up against her, the only argument Morgan Vanderbilt had was that she was little Gloria's natural mother. After seven weeks of testimony, the judge handed over custody of Vanderbilt to Whitney, but allowed rendezvous with her mother. If the arrangement was unsatisfactory for little Gloria, she certainly had grown up quite a bit. She eventually became an artist, writer, model and fashion designer who is credited with sparking the designer jeans fashion craze.

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