Anna Scott Carter is a tiny woman married to a very large man. This is true in terms of physical proportions-Ms. Carter is petite, with thin, unpainted lips, an upturned little nose and small brown eyes-and social ones. While Graydon Carter’s sails of white hair and the gold buttons on his bespoke suits lead his torso into every room, Ms. Carter’s features are entirely unobtrusive; she tends to dress in creams and whites, with heels that are utilitarian, intended to raise her small frame rather than make noise or elicit compliments. And while her husband enjoys recognition for the steady cast of characters he directs through his magazine and Manhattan restaurants, Ms. Carter remains inconspicuous.
“She came on the scene a few years ago and was suddenly there, but she’s sort of a mystery,” said one acquaintance of the Carters.
“Is she British?” wondered a former Vanity Fair staffer.
“It’s like, ‘Who is she? Where did she come from? And what is her role exactly?’” said another.
‘I’ve often looked across the table and seen her sitting next to Sumner Redstone on one side and Warren Beatty on the other. Who can handle that?’ —Vogue style director Alexandra Kotur
Anna Scott, 42, is indeed British. She is the editor’s third wife. The first was a woman he met and divorced in his 20s when he was still in Canada; he separated from Cynthia Williamson, his wife of 18 years, in July of 2000. When Ms. Scott and Mr. Carter began dating in 2003, he was 53, she was 35. Soon after, Ms. Scott became his date to the many meals and parties on his calendar, as well as his friends’ vacation homes.
“One night we asked him to dinner, and he said, ‘Can I bring Anna Scott?’” recalled Louise Grunwald, the wife of the late Time magazine managing editor Henry Grunwald, who gave Mr. Carter his first job in New York. “I had him for dinner several times when he was single, so I figured that if he asked to bring somebody that it was more important than not.”
The couple wed in 2005 at Mr. Carter’s Connecticut estate in Roxbury. Ron Perelman, Barry Diller, David Geffen, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro were guests, along with close friends like movie producer Mitch Glazer and wife Kelly Lynch, Fran Lebowitz and Ms. Grunwald. “Their wedding was real,” Ms. Grunwald said. “I mean, yes, it was big and a lot of Hollywood came, but there was an amazing intimacy to it.”
Ms. Carter quickly became the queen to Mr. Carter’s kingdom, his partner socially and professionally-helping to oversee the Waverly Inn and later managing the Monkey Bar-and counteracting his occasional shortcomings. Friends say that where Mr. Carter can seem distracted, Ms. Carter is listening intently; where he may come off haughty, she is humble; and when he seems inaccessible, she is quick to make a connection.
“She is young and she’s beautiful and she’s English and she’s poised. That’s what she does for his image,” said one Upper East Side hostess. “If one tends to be a bit intimidated by Graydon, she is right there with a smile on her face. They walk into a room side by side, and she never stands in front of him or behind him, which in a way is very telling of their relationship. She never gets into trouble.”