After more than two decades of marriage, Robert De Niro and his estranged wife Grace Hightower are reportedly locked in a custody battle over their 7-year-old daughter, Helen.
Page Six reports that the 75-year-old De Niro is going after joint custody of his daughter. The pair is due to duke it out in court for the first time next week.
The couple’s separation was officially announced back in November of 2018 when a source close to the couple revealed to the media that De Niro and Hightower were no longer living together. The actor filed the legal divorce papers on December 13, just a few weeks after the news broke.
The actor reportedly filed for the divorce under anonymous name. While anonymous proceedings are typically not granted in the district, a judge granted the Oscar Winner’s request for anonymity and “nameless paperwork” just before Christmas of 2018.
There is not a whole lot known about the ins and outs of Robert and Grace’s long-term relationship as the couple was especially private about their home life.
We do know, however, that this is not the first time that the couple has parted ways. De Niro filed for divorce from Grace once before, just two years after their wedding.
The proceedings were never finalized as the lovebirds reconciled their relationship and renewed their vows back in 2004.
Their 21 years of marriage yielded two children, Elliott (20) and Helen (7). Because of difference in years between their first and second child, the pair ended up giving birth to their second child using a surrogate as Grace was 56-years-old at the time.
Robert De Niro and his estranged wife Grace Hightower are heading to court to establish custody arrangements for their young daughter.The Raging Bull star and Hightower hit headlines in November, w… https://t.co/pduVKKPpzx pic.twitter.com/nDnkuIlt67— The Windsor Star (@TheWindsorStar) January 26, 2019
The pair will likely continue to co-parent especially when it comes to the needs of their 20-year-old autistic son, Elliott. Just a few years back in 2016, De Niro released a statement that publicly confirmed that his son was diagnosed with autism and their belief that their son’s condition is directly related to the vaccinations he received as a child.
The pair is very outspoken about the fact that they believe the link between the condition and certain vaccinations is a very real thing. Grace and Robert have both been quoted as saying that their son “changed overnight.”
In an interview with the Today Show back in 2017, De Niro told hosts that, “the vaccines are dangerous to certain people who are more susceptible. Nobody seems to want to address that, or they say they’ve addressed it and it’s a closed issue but it doesn’t seem to be.”
The actor added, “There are many people who will come out and say I saw my kid change overnight. I saw what happened, I should have done something and I didn’t. There’s more to this than meets the eye, believe me.”
Their first meeting over the custody of their daughter is scheduled for the last week of January.