As the Inquisitr has previously reported, Robert De Niro is currently in the middle of a custody battle over his 7-year-old daughter, Helen, whom he shares with his estranged ex-wife, Grace Hightower.
Given their A-lister status as a Hollywood couple, the duo have tried very hard to keep the divorce and custody proceedings out of the media. Unfortunately, Robert and Grace were spotted by reporters today before and during proceedings in a botched attempt to fly under the radar.
The 75-year-old Oscar winner dressed down in heavy winter garb as he tried to blend in with the New York City crowd while heading toward the city’s courthouse on Tuesday morning.
De Niro wore a heavy blue fleece jacket and striped scarf over a blue polo with a thick knitted winter hat on his head. Unfortunately for the actor, the low-key winter ensemble and attempt to go incognito didn’t work out as photographers spotted and snapped photos of him.
Photos obtained and published by the Daily Mail reveal De Niro was quickly spotted and swarmed by press with cameras as he entered the court house. Robert was photographed trying to hide his face behind a newspaper in an effort to thwart photographers from recognizing who he was.
After botching his attempt to sneak into the courtroom unnoticed, De Niro and his ex-wife sat through a nearly three-hour proceeding. The two reportedly avoided speaking to each other during the event.
According to Page Six, both parties’ lawyers alternated between speaking privately with the judge and then with their clients throughout the entire ordeal. De Niro requested everyone keep volumes to a minimum while in the public courtroom to retain as much privacy for his family as possible.
Prior to Tuesday’s hearing, De Niro tried to minimize publicity by securing an Anonymous v. Anonymous caption on the court’s docket.
Page Six also revealed that Judge Matthew Cooper, who oversaw their case, seemed pleased with the progress the couple had made during the hearing. He stated that while they had made “some progress on some difficult issues” there were still “particulars” of the case that needed to be worked on and resolved.
Cooper added that one of these “particulars” will be the couple exchanging statements of net worth. This will likely be used to calculate any support costs to be set by the settlement.
Once the actor left the courtroom and headed out of the building, he was again swarmed with photographers and reporters.
According to the Daily Mail, he was heard complaining about the press coverage as he exited the building. Sources reported there was a point where De Niro stopped and turned to a photographer and said, “You’re an old man, you should know better.”
Moments later he also reportedly spoke to another member of the press and said, “You’re not smart doing your job like this.”
Despite the split, De Niro has been quoted numerous times as holding Grace in high esteem as a mother. When he confirmed their initial split back in November of 2018, the Daily Mail says that the actor was full of praise for his ex-wife and her parenting.
“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,” the actor said while giving a public statement about the divorce.
Neither party chose to talk about the proceedings despite being contacted for comment. De Niro and Hightower are due back in court on the 7th of February.