The Irishman actor, 76, is currently entangled in divorce negotiations with ex-wife Grace Hightower, following their split in November 2018 after 21 years together.
Hightower, 65, took an emergency order to court requesting that her monthly American Express credit card limit be reinstated from $50,000 to $100,000. However, De Niro’s financial position has shifted due to the outbreak – hence why he cut the limit in the first place.
The hearing was called not only due to the ‘unfair’ credit cut, but also after the actor allegedly banned Hightower and their children – Helen, eight, and Elliot, 21 – from his upstate New York compound, from where he attended virtually.
According to De Niro’s lawyer Caroline Krauss, he’s seen severe losses in income due to the necessary closures of restaurant chain Nobu and Greenwich Hotel, both of which he holds stakes in.
As reported by Page Six, Krauss explained that Nobu has lost $3 million in April and a further $1.87 million in May. De Niro then had to pay investors $500,000 as part of a capital call, which he borrowed from business partners because ‘he doesn’t have the cash’.
The conditions of his prenup dictate that De Niro must pay Hightower $1 million each year if he’s earning $15 million or more, with flexibility for payments to decrease if his income drops.
According to his accounts manager, the actor is looking at $7.5 million this year if he’s lucky, Krauss said. With his earnings from The Irishman mostly squared away, he’s looking at $2.5 million in 2020 and 2021.
De Niro has been cutting back his spending ‘dramatically’. ‘These people, in spite of his robust earnings, have always spent more than he has earned so this 76-year-old robust man couldn’t retire even if he wanted to because he can’t afford to keep up with his lifestyle expense,’ his lawyer added.
However, Hightower’s attorney isn’t convinced, dubbing the idea that the actor is being more frugal with his wealth as ‘nonsense’.
Kevin McDonough explained:
Mr. De Niro has used the COVID pandemic, my words would be, to stick it to his wife 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 a sudden in March he needs to cut down [spousal support] by 50% and ban her from the house.
For the time-being, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper allowed De Niro to maintain the $50,000 credit limit, however he has to pay Hightower $75,000 so she can pay for a summer home for herself and the two kids.
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Topics: Film and TV, Coronavirus, COVID-19, divorce, Now, Robert De Niro