Actor Robert DeNiro’s long and storied career in film often features him in roles as a tough guy. Whether in Raging Bull, The Godfather: Part II or Meet the Fockers, he seemed like a man who could take care of business even when it got unpleasant. His real-life divorce seems to follow the narrative of contentious high asset divorce.
During a recent video hearing, the actor’s lawyer spoke, claiming that Grace Hightower was spending money at an alarming rate of more than $1 million per year, which a judge approved during a previous hearing. The judge also ordered the couple to sell the $20 million home they shared in Manhattan.
Too much spending?
This is a lot of money, much more than all but a few will ever have, but Hightower’s attorney claims that the actor is worth $500 million. Not arguing this number, DeNiro’s attorney contends that the pandemic has jeopardized the actor’s finances and that her spending is making matters worse, citing a $1.2 million diamond purchased in 2019 (the wife denies this happened). The attorney adds that this shift in finances has forced the 78-year-old actor to continue to work when he should be enjoying taking it easy.
The actor had also taken steps to reduce his estranged monthly credit card limit from $375,000 in 2018 when the actor initially filed for divorce to $100,000 at the beginning of 2021. The wife’s attorney claims that this does not maintain the status quo lifestyle she has maintained since the couple first married in 1997. The couple then separated in 1999 and then renewed their vows in 2004.
Judge calls for a reality check
During the most recent hearing, the judge spoke to both sides with a stern tone about things done and said. He pointed out the divorce will happen but added that each party would remain “richer than almost any human being who walks this earth.”
It is comments like the judge’s that remind couples why it is sometimes necessary to litigate a divorce, particularly ones involving large estates. The judge’s decisions will also likely ensure that the settlement will be fair and equitable, regardless of how contentious the divorce.