In 1987, renowned actor Robert De Niro met his future wife, Grace Hightower, in a London nightclub. Nevertheless, sparks did not fly for another eleven years.
De Niro was still married to his first wife, Diahnne Abbott, whom he married in 1976, when they met. Within their marriage, the couple had two kids, a daughter named Drena and a son named Raphael. In 1988, Abbott and De Niro divorced.
De Niro pursued Hightower after dating other women following his divorce, and their love flourished. In June 1997, the couple married at their home in Marbletown, New York.
Only eleven people were there to watch the couple exchange their wedding vows in an intimate ceremony attended by the producer’s pals Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. That October, the newlyweds learned they were expecting their first child together. Elliot, their son, was born in March 1998.
De Niro confirmed his son has autism in March 2016. In a media release, he stated that it was critical to be transparent about such societal issues that Grace and he have an autistic kid, and they feel it is vital that all concerns concerning the origins of autism be publicly acknowledged and investigated.
In August 1999, a year after the birth of their son, the two-time Academy Award winner filed for divorce from Hightower. Following that, a friend of his revealed that he had ignored his marriage and that Bobby was simply not putting in enough effort in his marriage to Grace.
The ex-couple went about their lives separately and quietly. They co-parented their kid and spent quality time with him as a family. That, though, only lasted a year.
Trouble erupted when the trio went on a trip with artist Marc Anthony, his then-wife Dayanara Torres, and the couple’s son in June 2001, along with their child Elliot. Hightower went below decks and caught her ex-husband with another woman.
A source then revealed that the mysterious woman was only aiding De Niro by locking the restroom door. Hightower, on the other hand, was certain that there was more to it.
She sought to embarrass him by stepping back up to proclaim what she had seen, which was De Niro’s “frozen look on his face” and the woman who purportedly looked to pull her “blouse closed,” according to her publicist, R Couri Hay.
When Hightower approached, De Niro followed him and began to become aggressive with him. Later, she and their kid fled the yacht.
The on-again, off-again couple battled head-to-head in a custody dispute for their kid in the New York State supreme court in September 2001, including charges of violence and alcohol abuse.
De Niro also charged the former flight attendant with bodily injury. In response to the application, Hightower claimed that the New York native misused drugs and alcohol and advised that leaving him alone with their son would not be a smart idea. As a result, she fought for him to be denied unsupervised contact with Elliot when he filed.
In an unexpected change of circumstances, the couple decided to call it quits on their divorce. Hightower and the Golden Globe Award winner later renewed their vows in November 2004.
They had their wedding ceremony at De Niro’s Ulster County property, with guests including Meryl Streep and Ben Stiller, among others.
Two judges presided over the star-studded ceremony at De Niro’s wish. According to the “Godfather” star, he wanted to make sure that “this one sticks.”
The ceremony took place around a pool, and the couple lit candles and exchanged wedding rings. Later, the guests walked to a tent where they drank champagne and dined on meals from De Niro’s Nobu restaurant.
In 2011, the couple received even more good news when their only daughter, Helen, was born via surrogacy. In a 2013 interview, De Niro raved about his daughter, she’s very cute. It’s all there when one looks at her. Nothing else is important.
Even so, things took a turn for the worse when he filed for divorce for the second time in November 2018, after more than two decades of marriage.
De Niro issued a statement acknowledging the divorce and explaining that, while he and Hightower have “two wonderful” children, their lives were diverging and that they are beginning a moment of transformation in their relationship, which will be challenging yet beneficial. He admires Grace as a fantastic mother and requests privacy and respect from everybody as they grow their roles as parenting partners.
The split couple was covertly pursuing legal custody of their then-seven-year-old daughter.
The goal was to safeguard their feelings during the court battle, therefore they chose the desirable “Anonymous vs. Anonymous” caption for the case. According to the 2006 appeals court judgement, this option should be utilized “judiciously” to preserve children’s “health and well-being.”
Because he is a wonderful doting father of two, the “GoodFellas” star desired to address the matter with the children first and foremost.
Aside from the custody battle, the couple clashed in court about finances. During their court battles, Hightower began to spend an increasing amount of De Niro’s money.
Caroline Krauss, his attorney, said that the philanthropist’s spending habits were out of control and had a significant impact on De Niro’s wealth, which she believes is $500 million.
Hightower allegedly spent $1.67 million in 2019 alone, the most of which she spent on a $1.2 million diamond from high-end New York jewelers.
De Niro’s finances were ruined as a result of her mismanagement of money, and he was compelled to labor until his “death” to keep up with her expensive lifestyle. He is now about 80 years old.
Hightower’s costly taste includes a “thirst for Stella McCartney” and $1 million diamond jewelry. Nevertheless, her estranged spouse is said to owe millions of dollars in taxes. De Niro owes almost $6.4 million, according to a 2015 estimate.
Simultaneously, he does not want his family to leave their marital home in Manhattan. According to the prenup, the couple agreed to sell their $20 million condo and share the money, allowing him to buy a less costly property for Hightower and the children.
However, Krause contended in a virtual divorce court that while Hightower expects De Niro to continue working until his death, if his health deteriorates and he dies, her spending binge would be over that he may get sick tomorrow, and the party’s over.
De Niro was lucky in that he kept Hightower from obtaining half of his riches. An appeals court concluded in October 2021 that the fine should be $250 million.
In a 2004 prenuptial agreement, the actress claimed she was entitled to half of the “Taxi Driver” star’s riches while they were still married. According to Hightower, De Niro’s assets were meant to be divided equally.
She lost the battle, however, when the Appellate Division decided against her and claimed that the Hollywood veteran owned her nothing that the husband’s salary and other business assets gained during the marriage remain his independent property
In February 2021, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge, Matthew Cooper, issued a similar decision, noting that the former couple’s prenup stipulated that whatever money De Niro earned during their marriage from various sources was considered part of his independent income.
According to reports, Hightower spent $215,000 every month on credit cards and $160,000 in cash. Krauss stated that De Niro’s spending habits caused him to run out of money. Money she asserted was “marriage assets” for them both according to their agreement, but the court dismissed her allegation.
Despite his turbulent relationship with Hightower, who remains his legal wife, De Niro finds time to visit with his daughter. The father and daughter were seen out and about on New York City’s Upper East Side in July 2022. They are frequently spotted out in public together.
Meanwhile, the star of “The Irishman” has begun dating someone else. He allegedly has a girlfriend called Tiffany Chen, with whom he has been seen out and about multiple times. The aforementioned pair was seen on a beach vacation in Formentera, Spain, in July 2022.
The couple was photographed barefoot and on a boat. Notably, De Niro and the martial arts instructor have been seen kissing in public but have yet to acknowledge or deny their romantic relationship.