New York Daily News

YOU POOR LITTLE ‘FOCKER’

De Niro rolls out some raging bull, claims he’s too broke to pay alimony

- BY STEPHEN REX BROWN

Robert De Niro says he’s running out of dinero due to his nasty divorce during the coronaviru­s pandemic.

A Manhattan Supreme Court justice recently ruled that the “Taxi Driver” star’s estranged wife will receive $1 million annually and the former couple will sell a $20 million residence, a hearing revealed Friday.

But just when De Niro’s ex, Grace Hightower, will move out of the home is uncertain due to ongoing disputes about spending. The legendary actor, who Hightower says is worth $500 million, is actually running out of money due to the pandemic’s impact on Hollywood, his attorney Caroline Krauss said.

Hightower’s lifestyle exacerbate­s the problem, Krauss argued.

“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 said.

“When does that stop? When does he get the opportunit­y to not maybe take every project that comes along? Or not work six-day weeks, 12-hour days, simply to keep up with Ms. Hightower’s thirst for Stella McCartney?”

The location of the marital residence that will be sold was not disclosed, but De Niro is known to have a home in Tribeca. The actor has been splitting his time mainly between an upstate estate near New Paltz and a rental apartment in Manhattan, the hearing revealed. He will pay for a new home for Hightower valued at $6 million, whenever she moves out.

Income from De Niro’s next two movies will go toward paying an $18.25 million income tax bill for 2018-19, Krauss added.

“There’s nothing ordinary about these expenses for 99.99999% of the world. These are extraordin­ary to an almost unimaginab­le degree,” Justice Matthew Cooper said in a moment of clarity.

“I want to get these parties divorced. I want to get Mr. De Niro and Ms. Hightower to go their separate ways. They’re both going to come out of this richer than most human beings who walk this earth. There’s no question about it.”

The “Raging Bull” star and Hightower, 66, have been locked in divorce court since December 2018. First, they feuded over custody of their 9-year-old daughter, who they had through a surrogate. They also have a 23-yearold son.

Now, they’re battling over the terms of a prenuptial agreement.

As has been the case in previous hearings, the attorneys revealed stunning figures about the estranged couple’s lifestyle. Hightower’s average monthly spending during happier times was $215,000 on credit cards and $160,000 cash.

Hightower’s attorney Kevin McDonough challenged De Niro’s claims of poverty.

De Niro earned $5 million for acting in Martin Scorsese’s hit gangster flick, “The Irishman.” He also received “tens of millions of dollars” through a federal coronaviru­s relief program, McDonough said.

The actor spent $450,000 on a summer rental in Amagansett in 2019, $150,000 on a Thanksgivi­ng vacation and $1 million on his adult children in 2019 and 2020, according to McDonough.

“When Mr. De Niro goes to brunch on Sunday in Connecticu­t, he charters a helicopter and flies up there. When he flies down to see a friend in Florida or wherever else, it’s a private jet. Even if you flew first class at $1,500, that’s not good enough for Mr. De Niro — he spends $50,000 for a private jet for the weekend.”

Krauss countered that Hightower “dramatical­ly” increased her spending in the final years of the marriage.

“She spent $1.2 million at high-end boutiques: Dolce and Gabbana, Stella McCartney, the Madison Etro store. Manolo Blahnik. The list goes on and on,” Krauss said.

Hightower also binged on bling, spending $1.2 million on a single diamond from the jeweler Kwiat, as well as an additional $700,000 on other jewelry, according to Krauss.

“(De Niro) told her it was ridiculous­ly over the top and she absolutely did not have permission to spend that kind of money,” Krauss said.

Cooper noted that both Hightower and De Niro seemed to live high on the hog.

“Didn’t Ms. Hightower come to me saying she needs some extraordin­ary amount of money for a weekend in the Bahamas — $350,000 for the week? These people spend lots of money. That’s always been the style. But the question is how much money is coming in?”

 ??  ?? Robert De Niro (right), whose lavish lifestyle is detailed in divorce papers, says he can’t afford alimony demands by his wild-spending estranged wife Grace Hightower (below).
Robert De Niro (right), whose lavish lifestyle is detailed in divorce papers, says he can’t afford alimony demands by his wild-spending estranged wife Grace Hightower (below).
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 ??  ?? Robert De Niro (top) spent $50,000 on a private jet for a weekend. His estranged wife, Grace Hightower (left), plopped down $2 million on baubles. Their divorce fight shows lavish spending.
Robert De Niro (top) spent $50,000 on a private jet for a weekend. His estranged wife, Grace Hightower (left), plopped down $2 million on baubles. Their divorce fight shows lavish spending.

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