Most people don't know about the family tragedy that rocked Anderson Cooper's life and forever changed the relationship he had with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.
On July 22, 1988, Carter Cooper, Anderson's older brother, committed suicide at the age of 23 by jumping from the family's 14th-floor apartment.
He wasn't alone though, in his final moments, Vanderbilt was with him on the balcony, trying to talk him out of what he was about to do.
'He reached out to me at the end,' Vanderbilt told People, " Then he went over, hanging there on the wall, like on a bar in a gymnasium. I said 'Carter, come back,' and for a minute I thought he'd swing back up. But he let go."
In an interview with her son, Anderson, last year, Vanderbilt admits that she considered throwing herself off of the building after Carter.
"There was a moment when I thought I was going to jump over after him," she told Anderson. "I thought of you and it stopped me."
After Carter's death, Anderson threw himself into his work as a journalist. Unlike his mother, Anderson was unable to talk about how his brother's suicide affected him. Instead, he sought out others who were suffering "tremendous losses."
"I started going overseas and going to places where life and death was very real and where people were suffering tremendous loses," he admitted, "'Hearing their stories and hearing people talk about it sort of helped me to get to a place where I could talk about it, I think."
Where Anderson couldn't open up about his brother, Vanderbilt needed to keep talking about the son she lost.
"It doesn't just change you, it demolishes you. The rest of your life is spent on another level. Is the pain less? No, just different," she says.
Cooper still honors his brother yearly, and recently posted a touching picture of him on his Instagram.
He remains in my heart, golden and true, he wrote.
"There's no such thing as closure," he told People magazine. “I think it’s still hard to believe it’s been so long because I think it’s still so present in our lives, that sense of loss.”
Even though he kept his tragedy quiet, Cooper still lives with his loss every day. It's a feeling too many of us can relate to.
[h/t Daily Mail]