Anderson, who scored an average of more than 104 at the Alexandra Palace, had lost five sets on the trot but won the ninth to pull back to 6-3.
Van Gerwen, who averaged more then 108, was throwing for the match in that set when an intruder on stage briefly seemed to break his concentration. But the Dutchman would end his three-year wait for another world title by hitting the bull on an 85 checkout to seal a superb victory.
He said: “I absolutely had to bring my ‘A’ game. It was an incredible final. He put me under pressure and I missed a few doubles. But after a break I managed to put that run together.
“I have waited so long, three years for another world title. It is the most important one of the year and everyone wants to win. It’s easy to say I win everything but I worked really hard for this. When the man ran on stage I didn’t lose my concentration. He was just trying to give me the trophy!”
It was the 26th title of a remarkable year for Van Gerwen.
Anderson maintained a high standard throughout, notching 22 maximums to set a new record for the number of 180s in a single match, but he could not get near the imperious Van Gerwen.
And he paid tribute to the “Green Machine”, saying: “It’s so well deserved. He’s been winning everything. But I have had a good two years and there are a few more tournaments left in me.”