Robert De Niro has had a long and successful career spanning decades. His many different and influential roles in many movies have solidified his place in the pantheon of Hollywood greats.He gained fame for his roles in critically acclaimed dramas such as “The Godfather,” “The Goodfellas,” and “The Irishman,” as well as for showcasing his comedic talents in films like “The Intern” and “Meet The Fockers.”
The iconic actor has spoken candidly about his thoughts on getting older. He acknowledged that as we age, we tend to settle down, and our priorities shift towards family and balancing all the different aspects of our lives.He pointed out that getting married and having children can be challenging; if a relationship ends, it’s not the end of the world.
He believes it’s essential to find balance in life and be okay with the changes that come with aging.
In his recent role in “The War with Grandpa,” Robert proved that he is not slowing down anytime soon and is ready for the next generation of great-grandchildren.
Robert De Niro appears during the 2020 Carousel of Hope Ball benefiting the Children’s Diabetes Foundation on October 10, 2020. | Source: Getty Images
The 2020 comedy-family film has a star-studded cast, including Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Laura Marano, Cheech Marin, and Jane Seymour.
Thurman and Riggle play the couple Sally and Arthur, Marano plays their older daughter Mia, and Fegley plays their youngest son Peter. Robert played the role of Grandpa Ed.
The movie tells about the “war” between Ed and Peter, who once shared a close bond as grandpa and grandson. However, they become each other’s nemeses when Ed moves in with the family and takes over Peter’s bedroom.
Robert De Niro attends the “Amsterdam” world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on September 18, 2022, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Peter needed to declare “war” on his grandfather to reclaim his bedroom. He uses humorous strategies that eventually force his grandfather to give in.
The comedy movie seemed to be a playful twist on the 1990s film “Home Alone.” In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, Robert said that he had never seen the famous movie, which surprised his young co-stars Marano and Fegley.
Making up for missing the classic comedy hit, Robert quickly replied to his co-stars that he looked forward to doing so with one of his children soon.
Robert has played many roles in his career, showing his versatility as an actor. He has played everything from a charming leading man to a menacing mobster to a loving father with ease.
He has enjoyed playing a grandfatherly character to life on screen, and he has actively sought his next set of grandparental roles. He said of his recent role:
“It’s fun being a grandfather; maybe one day I’ll be a great-great-grandfather, and hopefully a great-great-great-grandfather. Those parts would be interesting.”
Robert De Niro’s Diverse Family
The movie legend has a fascinating family background. Robert was raised by a gay father and a mother who was a painter. His parents managed to stay friends and great co-parents after their split.
Robert knew his father was gay when he was only two years old. He spent most of his time under his mother’s care as they resided in Greenwich Village and Little Italy in Manhattan. His father lived close by them.
In his own life, the actor has not had a stable love life, but for his ten offspring, he is a loving and caring dad and grandpa. The 79-year-old actor has six biracial kids: his eldest child is 51, and the youngest is 11. One of his four grandkids is following in his footsteps.
Robert shares his six children with three different women. He shares his eldest daughter, Drena De Niro, with his first ex-wife, actress and singer Diahnne Abbott. Robert and Abbot share their second eldest son, Raphael De Niro.
Robert has two more children with his second wife, actress and socialite Grace Hightower: son Elliot De Niro and daughter Helen Grace De Niro. Robert has twin sons with his former partner, actress Toukie Smith: Julian and Aaron De Niro.
Diahnne Abbott and her son Raphael De Niro attend the “Midnight Run” premiere and party on July 11, 1988, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Helen Grace, born in 2011 through surrogacy, is the youngest among her siblings. Her birth was made possible through surrogacy by her parents, Robert and Grace. Similarly, Robert’s twin sons were also born via surrogacy.
Robert has previously been open and honest about parenthood. He said he adored spending time with them but that it was not easy; he sometimes gets frustrated at his children and then forgets why he was upset when things would go well between them.
The acclaimed actor has openly expressed his love for his family many times, but he also actively addresses more delicate subjects as a father, particularly those related to race.
When he appeared in “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in 2020, Robert spoke to host Jimmy Fallon about how he feels as a father to bi-racial children. He said:
“My children are all half Black, and I don’t have, even me, I take certain things for granted.”
Robert De Niro and daughter Drena De Niro attend the Museum of the Moving Image dinner honoring film producer Jane Rosenthal at the St. Regis Hotel in 2000 in New York. | Source: Getty Images
He expressed concern that parents have to instruct their children to be cautious and not to move abruptly when interacting with law enforcement, and as a parent, he felt that the issue should be addressed soon.
Robert does not view the wide age gap between his six children as an issue. He never felt exhausted and continues to be a devoted, responsible, and supportive parent to all of them.
Although most of his children have grown up and started their own lives, he has a special affection for his three younger kids, Helen, Elliot, and Julian.
Robert was spotted strolling around New York’s Upper East Side streets with his daughter in June 2022. Despite her parents’ ongoing divorce battle, the little girl looked pleased that she had bonded with her father.
Robert and Grace’s divorce has reportedly been pending since December 2018. They first exchanged vows in 1997 but split in 1999. They rekindled their relationship and married again in 2004, but they called it quits after 14 years of marriage.
Robert De Niro, his daughter Helen Grace De Niro (bottom left), and Grace Hightower De Niro pose backstage with Chilina Kennedy (center) at the hit Carole King musical “Beautiful” at The Stephen Sondheim Theater on September 2, 2015, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Amidst their ongoing divorce settlement, the estranged pair have put their differences aside for Elliot. They have paid particular attention to their son’s well-being because he was diagnosed with autism.
In the 2013 movie “Silver Linings Playbook,” which was based on the film director’s life as a father to a child with bipolar disorder, Robert made hints about raising a child with special needs. Although Robert didn’t want to be emotional, he said he knew how it felt.
Robert Deniro on a Central Park playground with son Elliot De Niro, on May 11, 2001, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Robert expressed that finding activities for children like Elliot can be challenging, but he praised Grace for her ability to encourage and motivate her son to be physically active, specifically through tennis.
Despite feeling nervous, Elliot mentioned that he enjoys being active and feels good about it. Grace highlighted the benefits of being outdoors for their son, as it allows him to socialize with others, specifically his friend Max, who also has a similar condition.
Max and Elliot have been doing various activities together, including exercise programs. Grace noted that the friendship between the two children has led to positive results, like more motivation and being more open.
Robert De Niro, daughter Helen Grace De Niro, and Grace Hightower pose backstage with Chilian Kennedy and comapny for the musical “Beautiful” at The Stephen Sondheim Theater on September 2, 2015, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Meanwhile, Robert has supported his son Julian, following in his footsteps in the entertainment industry. Julian, born in 1995, keeps adding to his acting resume in recent years.
Most recently, he played a young Barack Obama on the 2020 Showtime series “The First Lady,” whose star-studded cast includes renowned actress Viola Davis.
Even though Julian only appeared in the third episode of the ten-part series, his performance is already generating buzz. He also worked with Selena Gomez and James Franco in the 2016 movie “In Dubious Battle.”
Robert De Niro and son Elliot De Niro pose backstage at the hit play “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” on Broadway at The Richard Rogers Theater on April 24, 2011, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Julian attended New York University and majored in computer science and mathematics. Before acting, he attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, one of New York’s most prestigious acting schools.
He studied computer science and math at New York University. Before acting, he attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, one of the most exclusive acting schools in New York.
Little is known about Julian’s personal life as he rarely shares updates on his Instagram account. However, he shared a photo with friends from their trip to Egypt, implying that he enjoys traveling.
Julian De Niro attends Showtime’s FYC Event and Premiere for “The First Lady” at DGA Theater Complex on April 14, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
A private person, Julian loves to spend time with his family. At one point, he was spotted at a party at Local Verde, a celebrity hangout in New York frequented by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
During the pandemic, Julian was seen walking with Robert one weekend in the Big Apple with his five other kids. Robert walked with a cane, and his face was covered with a mask.
Robert expressed pride in having a son like Julian. The veteran actor previously shared his thoughts about his children following in his footsteps and becoming actors. He stated:
“For my kids, I tell them, ‘If you want to be an actor or you want to do this or that, that’s fine as long as you’re happy. Just don’t sell yourself short.’”
The wonderful father emphasized that even though they have a famous parent, it’s important for his kids to discover and pave their own path, and they should not be afraid of it.
Robert advised aspiring actors, including his children, to approach script reading with a mindset of not expecting to get the part when it comes to casting for shows or films.
He believed this approach would allow them to make bolder choices without the pressure of securing the role. Additionally, it lets directors and casting directors see their skills and recommend them for other projects.
Robert reflected on his kids’ childhood days, expressing that there were both happy and challenging times in the family. He noted that as a parent, he might experience times when his children want to distance themselves from him. He said:
“Sometimes you’re the last person they want to deal with. ”
Robert De Niro attends the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
He compared it to walking your children to school as they get older and less affectionate toward their parents. He was awestruck by the idea of making a documentary for his children someday.
Even though his grown children have established themselves in the world, the actor will not be alone. Fortunately for Robert, he has four grandchildren who continue to bring him joy.
A Doting Grandfather and Thoughtful Patriarch
As the patriarch of a growing family, Robert relishes his role as a doting grandfather, calling it “fun.” With four grandchildren from his son Raphael and daughter Drena, Robert has been blessed to watch his family grow and flourish.
In 2009, Robert became a grandfather for the first time with the arrival of Nicholas De Niro, born to his daughter-in-law Claudine DeMatos and son Raphael at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center.
In October 2012, the family welcomed another addition with the birth of Alexandria Chloe De Niro. Born at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City, Alexandria Chloe was the third child of Claudine and Raphael De Niro, and a cherished addition to the family.
Robert’s on-screen role as a grandfather in the 2020 film “The War With Grandpa” mirrored his real-life role as a doting grandpa. In an interview, he expressed his joy at being a grandfather and even mentioned his aspirations to become a great-great-grandfather one day.
His grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez, son of his daughter Drena, is following in his footsteps and is making a name for himself in the entertainment industry with notable appearances in films such as “A Star is Born,” “The Collection,” and “Cabaret Maxime.”
As Leandro makes his mark in the acting world, Robert has imparted wise words to his grandson, reminding him to remain calm and level-headed, even in times of success.
Robert De Niro speaks onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
He shared his experience of seeing people come and go in the industry and stressed the importance of taking life’s blessings with gratitude and moving forward with caution. He said:
“Well, I was saying something to my grandson the other day… when things are going well, be calm. Don’t think you’re on top of the world in the sense you always got to be wary because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen people come, I’ve seen people go.”
But Robert’s focus isn’t just on his achievements. According to James Ursini, author of the biography “Robert De Niro,” the veteran actor is also focused on securing a legacy for his children and grandchildren.
Ursini added that the caring dad and grandpa of four also plans to create inheritances for his big family through his real estate investments and substantial salaries from comedic roles. The actor, Ursini added, is “very comfortable financially” now.
Robert’s dedication to his family’s foundation shows his love and care. He is not just a successful actor with a stellar career but also a thoughtful patriarch who ensures that his growing family is well-cared for, both now and in the future.