Robert De Niro gets emotional while discussing the difficulties his autistic son faced

In 1987, Robert De Niro and his current wife, Grace Hightower, crossed paths at a London club and began a romantic relationship. Following his divorce from his first wife, Diahnne Abbott, in 1988, De Niro and Abbott had two children together – a son named Raphael and a daughter named Drena.

In the 90s, De Niro and Hightower briefly separated, and during that time, he began a relationship with Toukie Smith, a model and restaurateur, with whom he had twin sons. However, their partnership was short-lived.

De Niro and Hightower rekindled their romance, leading to their marriage in 1997. The couple welcomed their son Elliot in 1998. Sadly, when Elliot was only 17 months old, the couple unexpectedly separated.

The separation sparked a heated legal battle between the couple, with De Niro initially granted supervised visitation with his son three times a week, supervised by someone chosen by Hightower.

However, De Niro was dissatisfied with this arrangement and contested his wife’s demands, seeking overnight stays with Elliot. Hightower refused, citing her need to protect their child.

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They both had the best interests of Elliot in mind and were able to come to a mutual agreement, avoiding a messy separation.

Surprising their friends and family, the couple reconciled and renewed their vows in an intimate ceremony. They also expanded their family in 2011 by having their daughter Helen through a surrogate.

Despite being one of America’s most famous actors, De Niro has managed to keep his personal life private. The couple made a conscious effort to shield their children, especially their son Elliot, from the spotlight. While De Niro and Hightower have made some rare public appearances with their children in Hollywood, the Di Niro kids have generally preferred a low-key lifestyle as they have grown up.

During a conversation, the actor discussed an upcoming biopic about his father, explaining that he hoped it would emphasize the importance of family and spending time with loved ones while they are still alive. Di Niro’s father passed away from cancer in 1993, and he regretted not having spent more time with him.

In another discussion about a movie based on the director’s personal experience with his child’s struggle with bipolar disorder, Di Niro became emotional when asked if he could relate to the story. He quickly teared up and eventually expressed complete understanding of what the director was going through.

De Niro’s emotional response becomes understandable when considering that a few years later he revealed that his son Elliot is autistic. He emphasized the importance of openly discussing and examining all factors related to autism.

Although De Niro and Hightower ended their marriage in 2018 after attempting to reconcile, they remain committed parents to their two children.