Robert De Niro And Grace Hightower Split After More Than 20 Years Of Marriage

Robert De Niro and wifeGetty

Robert De Niro has reportedly split from his wife Grace Hightower after 21 years of marriage.

The pair, who tied the knot in 1997 after ten years of dating, are reportedly no longer living together and it’s expected they’ll make a public announcement regarding their break-up in the weeks to come.

It’s been noted how De Niro has recently been attending events on his own, on occasions where Hightower would previously have been present.

De Niro met former flight attendant Hightower in 1987, at a time when she was working at the Mr Chow restaurant in London.

A source told Page Six:

They are not living together at this time.

While another source said:

De Niro and Grace are breaking up. He’s been at a few things since the very end of the summer without her — and rumor has it they are done.

As reported by People, the couple were last spotted together on the red carpet in June when they attended New York City’s 72nd Annual Tony Awards.

A source told People:

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you hope or want them to.

This will mark the second time the couple have called it quits. They originally separated in 1999 – two years into their marriage – but the divorce was never finalised.

They ended up rekindling their relationship, and renewed their wedding vows in 2004, in a ceremony attended by celebrities such as Meryl Streep and Martin Scorsese.

De Niro, 75, and Hightower, 63, have two children together, 20-year-old son Elliot, and six-year-old daughter, Helen.

The Taxi Driver actor has been married before. He was previously wed to actor and singer Diahnne Abbott, from 1976 to 1988. He has two children with Abbott, 47-year-old Drena and 42-year-old Raphael.

De Niro also has 23-year-old twin sons from his relationship with former model Toukie Smith, named Julian and Aaron.

The news comes after De Niro attended a glittering Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) benefit evening, where acclaimed director Martin Scorsese was honoured for his powerful and enduring influence on modern cinema.

As reported by USA Today, De Niro recalled his long friendship with Scorsese, who he’s previously worked with on iconic films such as Raging Bull and Goodfellas.

In his speech, De Niro spoke of how ‘Marty’s gift for friendship is directly related to his many gifts for filmmaking’, praising the great director as having ‘a giant heart that understands and embraces every character he helps us create, and every story he tells’.

De Niro also made reference to Scorsese’s early – and very different – career ambitions of becoming a priest, joking:

My theory was that he changed when he realised that being a priest meant serving God, but being a director meant being God.

I think it’s always terribly sad to see a break-up after so many years together, especially between a couple who’ve previously tried to reconcile.

Hopefully both De Niro and Hightower will both find happiness going forward.

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