“Graydon is departing from the magazine after 25 years — even while we’re happily aware that this won’t be the last we hear of him,” Vanity Fair said in a farewell tribute.
Carter, 68, told the New York Times: “I want to leave while the magazine is on top.. I want to leave while it’s in vibrant shape, both in the digital realm and the print realm. And I wanted to have a third act — and I thought, time is precious.”
As head of one of the Conde Nast group’s most prestigious titles, Carter has been a figure in the glitterati of New York and Hollywood for years.
Under Carter, Vanity Fair was known for hosting lavish parties and publishing well-known writers and photographers, and for its investigative reports.
Vanity Fair was the first to unveil the identity of the Watergate source “Deep Throat,” and also published a controversial nude photo of pregnant actress Demi Moore.
In December, Vanity Fair saw its subscriptions rise 100-fold after a tweet by Trump, who was then president-elect, responding to a negative review of his Trump Grill restaurant.
“Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!” Trump wrote.
But the feud between the two went back to 1988, when Carter described Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in an article in Spy magazine.
In 2012, Trump tweeted, “Can’t wait for Vanity Fair to fold which, under Graydon Carter, will be sooner rather than later.” He later derided the journalist as a “loser.”
Carter returned the insults in his writings.
In 2015, he wrote: “The myriad vulgarities of Donald Trump — examples of which are retailed daily on Web sites and front pages these days — are not news to those of us who have been living downwind of him for any period of time.”
The editor said Trump never got over the “short-fingered vulgarian” insult and that he would receive letters from Trump in response to the description.
In the envelope, Carter said, “There is always a photo of him — generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers.”
Carter, who succeeded Tina Brown at the magazine, is expected to depart in December.