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Robert De Niro’s defense attorney Caroline Krauss sought to blame the actor’s estranged wife, Grace Hightower, for the fact that he’s working six-day weeks as he apparently struggles to keep up with alimony payments and installments to the IRS on his $6.4 million tax bill.

According to Page Six, Krauss attempted to tug at heartstrings as she stated that the actor is “forced” to accept every project that comes his way because he can’t afford to fund Hightower’s so-called lavish lifestyle while the courts sort out the terms of their prenuptial agreement.

“Mr. De Niro is 77 years old, and while he loves his craft, he should not be forced to work at this prodigious pace because he has to,” Krauss argued during a virtual hearing earlier this month.“When does that stop? When does he get the opportunity to not take every project that comes along and not work six-day weeks, 12-hour days so he can keep pace with Ms. Hightower’s thirst for Stella McCartney?”

“He could get sick tomorrow, and the party’s over,” she went on.

De Niro formally filed for divorce in 2018 and since then, the pair have battled over how much money the actor should pay his estranged wife until the terms of their 2004 prenuptial agreement are settled and their divorce is finalized. Her attorney, Kevin McDonough, argued that the actor has been slowly diminishing the amount of money he sends Hightower and their two kids each month. De Niro’s lawyer reasoned that the pandemic has ruined his finances; however, Hightower’s attorney said that there’s evidence to suggest otherwise.

“There have been no cutbacks and no slowdowns in Mr. De Niro’s lifestyle whatsoever,” McDonough said. “When Mr. De Niro goes to brunch Sunday in Connecticut, he charters a helicopter up there. When he flies down to see his friends in Florida or wherever else, it’s a private jet.”

De Niro and Hightower wed 1997, broke up in 1999 and then reunited and renewed their vows in 2004.

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