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Robert De Niro Was Married Twice During His Career: All About Exes Diahnne Abbott and Grace Hightower

Academy Award winner Robert De Niro has built a huge career for himself in Hollywood, starring in and directing blockbuster films since the ‘60s. The Goodfellas star was married twice during his prestigious career. He was wed to his first wife, Diahnne Abbott, from 1976 to 1988. Robert later married Grace Hightower in 1997 and split more than two decades later. 

Robert, born in 1943, starred in Martin Scorsese’s 1973 film Mean Streets, a role that led to critical acclaim. The following year, the New York native played young Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather, Part II. In 1976, he further proved that he had a tremendous acting range, portraying Travis Buckle in the film Taxi Driver. That same year, Robert tied the knot with Diahnne, who was pursuing an acting career of her own and appeared in the film. 

Robert adopted Diahnne’s daughter, Drena De Niro, from a previous relationship. The pair also welcomed their son, Raphael De Niro, in November 1976. Both Drena and Raphael pursued acting just like their parents, who split in 1988. In a January 2014 interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Robert shared some insight about his love life. 

“The only thing I would say is that if you get married, it’s easier probably not to have children if you’re going to split up – it makes life simpler,” the Golden Globe winner said. 

Robert and Grace were married in 1997 after meeting at a nightclub a decade prior. Before meeting his second wife, the Raging Bull actor welcomed twin boys, Julian Henry De Niro and Aaron Kendrick De Niro, with model Toukie Smith. He became a dad for the fifth time when he welcomed son Elliot with Grace in 1998. In 1999, Robert filed for divorce, but the couple reconciled years later, renewing their vows in 2004. 

In 2011, Robert and Grace became parents once more, welcoming daughter Helen De Niro via surrogate. The pair announced their split after more than 20 years of marriage in 2018.

“Grace and I have two beautiful children together. We are entering a period of transition in our relationship which is a difficult but constructive process,” the film icon said in a November 2018 statement. “I honor Grace as a wonderful mother and ask for privacy and respect from all as we proceed to develop our roles as partners in parenting.”

Scroll to get to know Robert’s two exes.