Living screen legend Robert De Niro became uncharacteristically verklempt while discussing his newborn daughter in an interview this week, telling AARP that parenting his baby girl is “wondrous.”
“I’m an 80-year-old dad and it’s great,” De Niro told the magazine for its latest cover story. “Everything that I’m consumed with or worried about… this and that… just goes away when I look at her.”
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At that point in the sit-down, which mostly covered De Niro’s seven-decade-spanning career, working with Martin Scorsese and their latest, the Oscar-nominated Killers of the Flower Moon, the veteran actor and nine-time Oscar contender began to tear up. “That in itself is wondrous.”
De Niro, traditionally affable but solidly stoic while discussing his life and work, then quickly composed himself as he shared details about his growing bond with his baby girl; he even compared the experience to time with the daughter he had with his second wife, Grace Hightower.
“She has a very sweet, kind of… way of looking at you. And just taking you in. And my other daughter, Helen, had that too,” the actor explained, then contemplating Gia’s future and evolving persona. “So, I don’t know where it’s gonna go with her later on — when she gets older. But she’s thinking, she’s observing everything and watching. It’s really interesting. I want to be around for as long as I can, to enjoy it. Enjoy her.”
The Killers star, who this week was nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in the historical drama — his 10th film with Scorsese — welcomed baby Gia with his girlfriend, film producer Tiffany Chen, in April. Gia is the seventh child DeNiro has fathered over 47 years and his first with 65-year-old Chen.
Before his relationship with Chen, De Niro has been married twice. In 1976, as his career was truly igniting with starring roles in The Godfather, Part II and Taxi Driver, he married fellow actor Diahnne Abbott, with whom he fathered two children, Raphael and Drena. The couple divorced in 1988 after 12 years of marriage but De Niro remained a dedicated dad.
Following the split, De Niro entered into a high-profile relationship with model and actress Toukie Smith; the couple never married but welcomed twin sons, Julian and Aaron, via surrogacy.
In 1997, as the actor began to appear in broad and popular comedies, he married Hightower, an ex-flight attendant. The couple had a brief separation in 1999 but reconciled and even renewed vows in 2004; they eventually split in 2018. They share a son and daughter, Elliot and Helen.
De Niro and Chen have managed to keep their relationship relatively private. The two met on the set of the 2015 comedy, The Intern, and reportedly began dating in 2021.
The actor has also been the grandfather of four — one from Drena and three from Raphael.
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