Background and family
Emperor Manuel I Komnenos, uncle of Andronikos Kontostephanos
Born ca. 1132/33, Andronikos Kontostephanos was the third and youngest son of Stephen Kontostephanos, who held the title panhypersebastos and the rank of megas doux, and the 'purple-born' princess Anna Komnene, daughter of Emperor John II Komnenos (reigned 1118–43) and his empress Irene of Hungary; he was thus the nephew of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (r. 1143–80). Andronikos had two older brothers, John and
Alexios, and a sister, Irene. The Kontostephanoi were an aristocratic Byzantine family that rose to occupy a prominent place at the heart of Byzantine politics and power through their intermarrying with the imperial house of the Komnenoi. Andronikos himself is believed to have married, ca. 1150, an unnamed member of the Doukas family, another clan with imperial connections. The couple had at least five sons, and possibly daughters, although none is mentioned in the sources.