Robert De Niro won’t be breaking the bank as his long-standing divorce proceedings come to a close.
The Hollywood A-lister can release a sigh of relief after a Manhattan appellate court sided with the actor in denying his estranged wife Grace Hightower, a Black woman, half his career and business earnings — estimated at $500 million. The actor amassed a fortune from his career spanning more than five decades, as well as his ownership stake in popular restaurants among celebrities like Nobu and TriBeca Bar and Grill, as well as his part ownership of the downtown New York boutique hotel, The Greenwich Hotel.
De Niro, 78, will however still have to pony up $1 million a year in alimony, contingent on Hightower not remarrying or until one of them passes, as well as $6 million toward a new home for Hightower.
Despite Hightower’s appeal to walk away from the decades-long marriage with more money, the court ultimately decided to uphold the couple’s 2004 prenuptial agreement. “The husband’s income earned during the marriage and other business assets acquired during that time are his separate property,” said the court in its ruling.
In February of this year, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Matthew Cooper issued a similar ruling regarding the prenup and De Niro’s income from film productions and his business portfolio.
The couple who have been married for 24 years and share two children — daughter Helen Grace and son Elliot — have been embroiled in a difficult divorce since announcing their separation in 2018.
This year an attorney for the veteran actor argued that Hightower’s thirst for a luxurious lifestyle were draining finances, and forcing “The Godfather Part II” to work an unsustainable schedule.
“Mr. De Niro is 77 years old, and while he loves his craft, he should not be forced to work at this prodigious pace because he has to,” said his attorney Carolin Krause to a New York City judge. “When does that stop? When does he get the opportunity to not take every project that comes along and not work six-day weeks, 12-hour days so he can keep pace with Ms. Hightower’s thirst for Stella McCartney?”
With a divorce settlement worked out, De Niro will now have to tackle payments on back taxes totaling roughly $6.4 million.