Robert De Niro has experienced a rich life in Hollywood show business. After receiving countless honors, including two Oscars, he is justly regarded as one of the finest actors of all time.
De Niro has had a quiet private life while also being incredibly successful in the entertainment industry. He has been married twice, and his second marriage to Grace Hightower ended only in 2018.
Although their divorce initially appeared to be fairly routine, new information has since surfaced thanks to De Niro’s ex-wife. Furthermore, if De Niro’s attorney is to be believed, the famous actor is being “forced to work” to pay for Hightower’s lavish lifestyle.
Within the Hollywood celebrity world, actors frequently marry other actors. It’s actually less common for an actor to wed someone unrelated to the industry.
Robert De Niro – Grace Hightower
Perhaps it’s easier to deal with everything when you’re with someone who understands exactly what it’s like to be recognized everywhere. The luxurious life of a Hollywood star may appear to be straightforward, but in reality, things are frequently really complicated.
Hollywood marriages are susceptible to dissolution just like those of “regular people”. Although there are other instances where Hollywood marriages have succeeded (just take a look at Mark Harmon and his wife Pam Dawber, who have been together for more than 30 years), for some, relationships end in divorce after a few years or even months.
Robert De Niro is another actor who has been wed for a lengthier period of time. The storied actor has been married twice; his second union, which lasted 21 years with Grace Hightower, dissolved in 2018.
De Niro allegedly dated another woman more recently, according to rumors. But even though he and Hightower separated three years ago, it seems that his ex-wife’s lavish lifestyle is still causing him problems.
Let’s first take a look at De Niro’s lengthy and fruitful profession before discussing his personal life.
Robert De Niro – early life
De Niro was born in New York City on August 17, 1943, to parents who were both successful artists. While his father worked as a painter and poet, his mother was a talented artist.
De Niro had a passion for cinema from an early age. He frequently went with his father, and Greta Garbo movies piqued his curiosity in particular. De Niro was able to take acting lessons for nothing since his mother was a copyeditor for a theatrical company. He made his stage debut as the lion in The Wizard of Oz when he was 10 years old.
His talent was quickly recognized, and that took very little time.
Eventually, De Niro received admission to the esteemed High School of Music and Art in New York. But he felt unprepared, and a few days later he dropped out.
De Niro decided to pursue an acting profession when he was 16 years old. His mother used all the funds she had set aside for his education expenses to fund her son’s desire instead. He continued his acting education at the Conservatory of Acting, where he was taught by renowned performer Stella Adler.
De Niro didn’t think he had a great talent at the moment.
“I was totally invisible in her class, I was a student that she, I don’t think, really remembered. I took a lot from her. But I was not a special student. I was there and learned a lot,” De Niro recalled, adding that he doesn’t feel as though he’s ever had a mentor.
Two-time Academy Award winner
“Stella Adler was really good. A bit full of herself, but, whatever. There were no mentors. There were people I liked, people like Brando, James Montgomery Clift and Dean. They were all endowed with more… An abstract emotion Heart and soul Interpreting your character wasn’t all there was to it; there was much more.
When De Niro starred in the movie Greetings in 1968, it served as his official acting debut. His major break came in the 1973 movie Bang the Drum Slowly after he had done additional work.
Martin Scorsese and De Niro were childhood buddies while they both lived in New York City. Their friendship would prove to be crucial in De Niro’s life because it helped him land the part in Scorsese’s Mean Streets. His life changed irrevocably in 1974, and he rose to fame as one of the top performers in the business.
In Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II, De Niro played Vito Corleone. For his iconic work, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
“Getting the part changed my career, or revved it up if you will. Then winning the Academy Award, you’re kind of guaranteed that you’re going to work again as an actor,” De Niro explained.
Robert De Niro – marriages
“The way I remember it, the movies that were becoming the blockbuster type films, Godfather part one was the first one that I remember in my lifetime as a young man.
“Then there was Jaws, then there was Godfather II, so these movies started coming out that were huge. The anticipation of Godfather II was really big. Luckily, Francis [Ford Coppola] wanted me to do it.”
De Niro followed up his hit with the tense performance in Taxi Driver, which led to him being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. His work in The Deer Hunter (1979) led to another nomination for him for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Then, for the movie Raging Bull, De Niro received the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1981.
De Niro was now regarded as one of Hollywood’s leading actors. But more than just his career was succeeding. De Niro settled down at this time and wed his first wife, singer and actress Diahnne Abbott, in 1976. The same year, Robert adopted Diahnne’s daughter Drena from a previous marriage and the pair had son Raphael De Niro.
De Niro and Diahnne got divorced in 1988. Ten years after getting divorced, the actor married actress Grace Hightower and continued to work on a number of movies.
De Niro dated model Toukie Smith for eight years before they got married, and they had twins through in vitro fertilization and a surrogate mother.
In fact, De Niro and Hightower had their first encounter in a club in London in 1987. She was employed at London’s renowned Mr. Chow restaurant at the time.
Marriage to Grace Hightower
The pair got married at their Marbletown, New York, home a little over ten years later. A modest, private ceremony was held, and actors like Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci were there.
Grace described their early relaionship “it was an ease-in. It wasn’t a whirlwind.”
The couple announced the arrival of their son, Elliot, a year later. The two parents made the choice to keep their children’s lives completely private. But in 2016, De Niro made the decision to raise awareness for autism by disclosing Elliot’s diagnosis in public.“Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined,” he said.
Sadly, it wasn’t long before De Niro and Hightower’s marriage devolved into a broken one. In 1999, the Godfather actor filed for divorce. A friend of his said that “Bobby was just not working hard enough at his marriage to Grace.”
The two co-parented Elliot for a year before a custody battle erupted. De Niro and Grace headed to court, and many expected things would turn ugly. But before they could go too far, “Bobby” and his wife made amends and the divorce was never finalized.
In 2004, the two renewed their vows at their home, with friends such as Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese, and Ben Stiller in attendance.
“They can make sure this one sticks,” De Niro said at the ceremony.
Over the course of her marriage to De Niro, Grace has done many things, including working as an actress and a singer. She even started her own java brand called Coffee of Grace.
Divorced in 2018
Helen, a daughter, was born to the couple in 2011. Their relationship wouldn’t survive forever, despite the fact that they had reaffirmed their vows to declare their love for one another.
After 20 years of marriage, De Niro and Hightower announced their separation in November 2018.
“Grace and I have two beautiful children together. We are entering a period of transition in our relationship which is a difficult but constructive process,” the statement from De Niro read.
“I honor Grace as a wonderful mother and ask for privacy and respect from all as we proceed to develop our roles as partners in parenting.”
Besides acting, De Niro has turned into an entrepreneur, having invested in several restaurants such as Nobu and the Tribeca Grill, as well as the Greenwich Hotel in New York City.
When the pandemic broke out, many restaurants, hotels, and other businesses suffered huge losses. De Niro was caught in that storm, and according to his lawyer, he’s now forced to work to provide for him and his ex-wife.
Robert De Niro “forced to work”
The actual details of the divorce settlement between 77-year-old De Niro and his ex-wife haven’t reached the public. According to several news outlets, however, the actor is having a tough time keeping up with his ex-wife’s luxurious lifestyle.
De Niro’s lawyer, Caroline Krauss, claims that Hightower has “a thirst for Stella McCartney” and has even bought a $1 million-plus diamond ring. Meanwhile, write that De Niro has cut Grace’s monthly credit card limit from $100,000 to $50,000 in a bid to cut down on her spendings.
Now, a legal battle is on, and the 77-year-old De Niro is bleeding money. According to Krauss, his restaurants have suffered millions in losses because of the pandemic.
“Mr. De Niro is 77 years old, and while he loves his craft, he should not be forced to work at this prodigious pace because he has to,” Krauss told a judge during a virtual divorce hearing.
“When does that stop? When does he get the opportunity to not take every project that comes along and not work six-day weeks, 12-hour days so he can keep pace with Ms. Hightower’s thirst for Stella McCartney?” she added.
“He could get sick tomorrow, and the party’s over.”
Hightower’s lawyer Kevin McDonough, on the other hand, fired back at De Niro, claiming that talk of his finances being in disarray is “nonsense”.
“I’m not a believer that a man who has an admitted worth of $500 million and makes $30 million a year, all of a sudden in March he needs to cut down [spousal support] by 50 percent and ban her from the house,” McDonough said.
Whether Robert De Niro or his ex-wife Grace Hightower will prevail in court remains to be seen. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know what you think in the comment area.
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