The Killers of the Flower Moon star, 80, is currently facing a $12m lawsuit over accusations of “severe emotional distress and reputational harm” brought against him by his former assistant, Graham Chase Robinson. During a heated trial in New York federal court, De Niro admitted to “berating” Robinson and calling her a “f***ing spoiled brat”, before shouting “shame on you” at her inside the courtroom.
Robinson worked as De Niro’s vice president of production and finance between 2008 and 2019, before she quit over reported clashes with his girlfriend, Tiffany Chen.
The Taxi Driver star recently became a father of seven when he and Chen welcomed their daughter, Gia Virginia Chen-De Niro, in April. De Niro revealed the baby news in an interview with ET Canada, when he corrected a reporter who said he had six children. “Seven, actually,” he said. “I just had a baby.”
Speaking to Page Six, De Niro maintained that the pregnancy was planned. “How could you not plan that kind of thing?” he said.
As the $12m lawsuit filed by his former assistant puts De Niro’s personal life in the spotlight, much attention has been focused on his extensive family tree.
Here’s what to know about De Niro’s seven children and their mothers.
Drena De Niro
In 1976, the Oscar winner married his first wife, Diahnne Abbott, after they met on the set of director Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. He adopted Abbott’s daughter, Drena, from a previous relationship. Drena was born in 1971, and took the actor’s last name when her mother and step-father were married.
She became a model, but later followed in De Niro’s footsteps when she decided to pursue acting. Drena has appeared in several of her father’s films, including Showtime, Wag the Dog, City by the Sea, and The Intern.
In 2003, she welcomed her son Leandro De Niro Rodriguez with her then-boyfriend, Carlos Mare. In July 2023, Drena announced that Leandro had died at age 19. She shared a picture of Leandro on Instagram with a caption paying tribute to his life.
“My beautiful sweet angel,” she wrote. “I have loved you beyond words or description from the moment I felt you in my belly. You have been my joy, my heart and all that was ever pure and real in my life.”
She continued: “I wish I was with you right now. I wish I was with you. I don’t know how to live without you but I’ll try to go on and spread the love and light that you so made me feel in getting to be your mama.
“You were so deeply loved and appreciated and I wish that love alone could have saved you,” Drena concluded the post.
De Niro later issued a statement saying he was “deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo”.
“We’re greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone. We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo,” the statement continued.
The New York City chief medical examiner’s office confirmed one month later that Leandro had died of an accidental drug overdose.
Raphael De Niro
Raphael is the second child of De Niro and Abbott. He was born on 9 November 1976, the same year his parents tied the knot. He strayed away from the family business and decided to pursue a career in real estate. According to his website, he is a broker at Douglas Elliman and launched the De Niro Team with the real estate firm in 2004. Some of his celebrity clients include Renee Zellweger and Kelly Ripa.
He shares three children with his ex-wife, Claudine De Matos, who he married in 2008. They separated in 2015 and finalised their divorce in January 2020, per Page Six. He went on to marry stylist Hannah Carnes in March 2020.
Julian and Aaron De Niro
Following his divorce from Abbott in 1988, De Niro went on to date actor Toukie Smith. While the pair were never married, they welcomed twin sons Julian Henry and Aaron Kendrick in 1995. Julian also followed in his father’s footsteps, appearing in the 2016 film In Dubious Battle and portraying a young Barack Obama in the Showtime historical drama series, The First Lady.
Elliot De Niro
Perhaps De Niro’s longest relationship was with actor Grace Hightower, who he married in 1997. She gave birth to their first child together, a son named Elliot, in 1998. In March 2019, the Silver Linings Playbook star revealed his son had been diagnosed with autism.
De Niro and Hightower soon became involved in a legal battle when he filed for divorce in 1999 and sued her for custody of their son in 2001. However, the two reunited and called off their divorce in 2004. The couple renewed their vows in November that year in upstate New York, surrounded by A-list celebrities like Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, and Ben Stiller.
Helen Grace De Niro
In December 2011, the former couple welcomed their second child, daughter Helen, via surrogate. De Niro and Hightower separated in November 2018 after more than 20 years together.
Gia Virginia Chen-De Niro
De Niro became a father of seven when he and girlfriend Tiffany Chen welcomed daughter Gia Virginia on 6 April 2023.
In an interview with Gayle King for CBS Mornings, Chen revealed that she was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy after giving birth to their daughter. Bell’s palsy is a neurological disorder that temporarily paralyses one side of the face, causing it to appear droopy and lopsided.
Speaking to The Guardian in October, De Niro revealed that Chen does most of the “heavy lifting” when raising their six-month-old daughter. When asked if fatherhood ever “gets easier” after being a parent for quite some time, De Niro admitted that it doesn’t but praised his partner for her support.
“It doesn’t get easier,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s okay. I mean, I don’t do the heavy lifting. I’m there, I support my girlfriend. But she does the work. And we have help, which is so important.”
De Niro also explained how his relationships with his older children are different from his younger children. “With a baby, it’s different to with my 11-year-old. My adult children. My grandchildren. It’s all different,” he said. “I don’t talk to the adult children the way I talk to my baby, or the way I speak to my 11-year-old, though she’s pretty smart.”