Robert De Niro Says The Pandemic Caused Him To Decrease His Spousal Support Payments By Half
Last summer, we reported that Grace Hightower, the estranged wife of actor Robert De Niro was petitioning the courts for half of his $500 million fortune in their divorce proceedings.
Now, a year later, the two are still in court arguing about money, this time with a global pandemic as their backdrop.
According to Page Six, De Niro claims that the coronavirus and subsequent shut downs have significantly impacted his finances. As a result, he claimed that he could not grant Hightower’s request of raising the limit on her American Express from $50,000 to $100,000.
During the Skype divorce hearing, Hightower’s lawyer told the judge that De Niro unfairly reducing the spending limit. She also claims that she and her children have been banned from the compound upstate where De Niro has been staying for the past several months.
De Niro’s lawyer, Caroline Krauss, claims that since the restaurant Nobu and Greenwich Hotel, in which he owns a financial stake, have both been affected by the pandemic, there has been barely any business.
Nobu and Greenwich lost millions and De Niro had to borrow money to pay investors $500,000.
Furthermore, Krauss said that according to their 2004 prenup, De Niro is only required to pay Hightower $1 million a year in spousal support as long as he’s making $15 million or more in income. With the trajectory of his businesses, the actor is projected to make half of that this year, $7.5 million.
Krauss claimed that even though 76-year-old De Niro has cut back on his spending habits, he would not be able to retire now and keep up with his lifestyle expenses.
But Hightower’s lawyer, Kevin McDounough believes that this is all a lie.
He said, “Mr. De Niro has used the COVID pandemic, my words would be, to stick it to his financially. I’m not a believer that a man who has an admitted worth of $500 million and makes $30 million a year, all of sudden in March he needs to cut down [spousal support] by 50 percent and ban her from the house.”
The judge ruled that De Niro can keep Hightower’s support at $50,000 a month temporarily and said that he should pay her $75,000 so that she can find a summer home for their two children while De Niro and his other children remain in the compound.