Robert De Niro: 4 things to know about actor's family life as he welcomes seventh baby at 79

Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro (Image via. IMDb)

Robert De Niro is now a father of seven as he recently welcomed a new baby into the family. During a recent interview with ET Canada on his upcoming movie, About My Father, when the interviewer asked him about his six children, De Niro quickly rectified the interviewer by saying:

"Seven, actually. I just had a baby,"

The 79-year-old opened up about his new fatherhood, saying:

"I try to keep us all together. Have things to do together. Have everybody have awareness of the family thing, so they look after each other, especially after I'm not around anymore. It's a fragmented family. But I try my best to keep everybody together."

The two-time Oscar-winner actor also said that he does not bother thinking about aging that much, adding that he feels younger these days:

"I feel young in many ways. You hear this from people getting older, they feel young, they don't feel any different, da da da. That's true for me."

Although he did not reveal who he had his seventh child with, Hollywood Life reported that it is with his current girlfriend, Tiffany Chen.

Robert De Niro rose to tremendous heights with his role in The Taxi Driver, which was deemed a classic by many critics. His roles in movies like Goodfellas, The Irishman, Godfather Part II, and The Intern landed him two Academy Awards, one Golden Globe Award, and one Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

Despite being wildly popular, the actor is known to be a private man. As a result, not much is known about his personal life.

Messy divorce with Grace Hightower and 3 other interesting facts to know about the family life of Robert De Niro

1) His first child was adopted

Drena De Niro was the daughter of Diahnne Abbott and her previous husband. So when Diahnne married Robert De Niro, the actor decided to adopt her as his own. Drena also took the actor’s last name.

She had a successful career in modeling, as she worked with high-profile clients like Patrick Kelly, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, and Giorgio Armani. Drena also worked as a DJ, however, it was acting that had her heart.

Like her parents, she has done some critically acclaimed movies like Great Expectations, A Star Is Born, and Joy. Moreover, Drena has her own production company Daredevil Films and Television, and her first documentary Girls & Dolls managed to bag a prestigious award at New York Independent Film and Video Festival.

2) Robert De Niro’s father was queer

Robert De Niro hardly opens up about his personal life. However, he felt that this should be known to many as his father, Robert De Niro Sr., kept his homosexuality hidden for fear of the public eye. In an interview with Out magazine, he stated that he feels that a “responsibility” falls on him to make a documentary on his father’s life.

While talking about his father to Out magazine, he opened up on his relationship with his father:

“We were not the type of father and son who played baseball together, as you can surmise. But we had a connection. I wasn’t with him a lot, because my mother and he were separated and divorced. … But my father wasn’t a bad father, or absent. He was absent in some ways. He was very loving. He adored me … as I do my kids.”

Robert De Niro Sr. was an abstract expressionist painter and was part of a group that produced high-profile renowned artists, inlcuding Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, and Mark Rothko. The documentary of De Niro Sr., titled Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr., was released on January 17, 2014.

3) Robert De Niro had a lengthy and messy divorce with Grace Hightower

A philanthropist and socialite, Grace Hightower was married to De Niro for more than 20 years. However, their relationship did not have an amicable ending. In 1999, Robert De Niro filed for divorce from Grace Hightower, citing the reason of “irreconcilable differences.” Although they again reconciled and renewed their vows in 2004, many rumors of infidelity plagued their relationship.

In 2018, De Niro filed for divorce again. However, this time Grace Hightower sued him for $500 million, saying the actor was emotionally abusive throughout the relationship.

In the hearing of the case, according to Page Six, the lawyer Caroline Krauss blamed Grace Hightower for her “thirst for Stella McCartney” and $1 million dollar diamond rings as the cause of the divorce. It is important to note that Grace Hightower sued Robert De Niro in 2020 for cutting her monthly allowances from $100K to $50K a month. De Niro countersued, saying she owed him $6 million due to her mismanaged finances.

However, the court ruled in favor of De Niro in 2021, and they have been divorced ever since.

4) Robert De Niro has a child on the autism spectrum

De Niro is typically closed up about his family life on media. However, on a rare occasion, he opened up about how his son is on the autism spectrum. During the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, Robert De Niro stated:

“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.”

In 2016, De Niro and Grace Highwater received public heat for saying that vaccines might have caused their son’s autism. He gave an interview to Today where he opened up, saying:

“There are many people who will come out and say, ‘I saw my kid change overnight.’”

Many criticized Robert De Niro and his wife for spreading harmful and uninformed propaganda about vaccines. He even defended the controversial movie Vaxxed and said:

“I want to know the truth. And I’m not anti-vaccine, I want safe vaccines.”

They received much public flack for these statements, and many termed them “anti-vaxxers” online which is a pejorative term used for people who are against vaccines of any sort.

Robert De Niro is one of the finest actors of this generation. His next upcoming project is About My Father, which comes out on May 26, 2023. He plays the role of an Italian hairdresser father in the movie.

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Edited by Priya Majumdar