Robert De Niro confirms split from wife Grace Hightower after 21 years together

Robert De Niro has confirmed he’s split from his wife of 21 years, Grace Hightower.

The actor made the sad revelation in a statement provided to E! News, confirming the rumours that he and wife Grace were splitting.

The statement read: ‘Grace and I have two beautiful children together. We are entering a period of transition in our relationship which is a difficult but constructive process.’

The 75-year-old went on to ask for privacy as they adapt to their new life as co-parents to their two children.

He added: ‘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 pair tied the knot in 1997, and welcomed their first son together, Elliot, in 1998.

They split a year later, in 1999, but eventually reconciled and renewed their vows in 2004. They went on to have another child in 2011, via surrogate, Helen Grace, six.

The Godfather star is also dad to four other children from previous relationships.

During his marriage to American actress and singer Diahnne Abbott, which lasted from 1976 to 1988, they welcomed Raphael, who’s now 42-years-old, but he also adopted Diahnne’s daughter Drena, now 47.

He then had twin sons, Aaron and Julian, now 23, with his girlfriend at the time, actress and model and Will Smith’s sister, Toukie Smith.

Speaking about fatherhood, he told the Daily Mail: ‘One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my years as a father is to keep the lines of communication open with my kids.

‘I have five of them, ranging in age from 14 to their 30s, by three mothers, so I guess you could call it a fractionalised family of sorts. But I care deeply about all of them, and I have made a conscious effort to talk to and to listen to them.

‘Sometimes it’s hard to talk to kids, especially when they’re teenagers. They’re in their own world, and they don’t look like they’re even listening to you.

‘But that’s the time when it’s most important to find a way to talk to them – not to lecture them, but to tell them things I think are important for them to know.’