Robert De Niro reveals what he enjoys most about being a parent

De Niro is the father of seven children from different relationships

Amber Raiken
New York
Tuesday 17 October 2023 07:21 BST
Related: Robert De Niro reportedly revive his ‘Taxi Driver’ character in a new advertising campaign for Uber

Robert De Niro has confessed that his girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, does most of the “heavy lifting” when raising their six-month-old daughter, Gia.

The actor, 80, spoke candidly about raising his seventh baby and first child with Chen during an interview with The Guardian, published on 16 October. When asked if fatherhood ever “gets easier” after being a parent for quite some time, De Niro admitted that it doesn’t. However, he still praised his partner for her support when raising their daughter.

“It doesn’t get easier,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s OK. I mean, I don’t do the heavy lifting. I’m there, I support my girlfriend. But she does the work. And we have help, which is so important.”

In addition to his daughter Gia, the Taxi Driver star has six other children from previous relationships. De Niro and his first wife, Diahnne Abbott, share daughter Drena, 52, and son Raphael, 46. In 1995, he welcomed twins Julian and Aaron, 27, with ex-girlfriend Toukie Smith. He also shares 25-year-old son, Elliot, and 11-year-old daughter, Helen Grace, with ex-wife Grace Hightower.

Speaking to The Guardian, De Niro addressed some of the things that he enjoys the most about being a parent.

“With a baby, it’s different to with my 11-year-old. My adult children. My grandchildren. It’s all different,” he said.

De Niro also described how his relationships with his older children and younger children differ from each other. “Well, I don’t talk to the adult children the way I talk to my baby,” he said. “Or the way I speak to my 11-year-old, though she’s pretty smart.”

This isn’t the first time that De Niro has opened up about raising his seven children. During an appearance on Today in June, he expressed how “great” fatherhood has been two months after welcoming Gia, and acknowledged how his approach to parenting has changed over time.

“When you’re older, you have awareness of certain things in life - dynamics, everything, family dynamics,” he said. “You can’t avoid learning certain things and how you can deal with those and manage them and this and that, the usual.”

The Goodfellas star has also given candid advice about what it takes to be a “good” father. “Sometimes, I don’t think people really know what being a good father is,” he said during an interview with Access Hollywood. “Well, they do. You know you have your responsibility. Look, it’s a mystery, it’s a lot of excitement. But it’s scary and you do your best,” he said.

De Niro first revealed he had become a father for a seventh time in May, when he corrected an ET Canada reporter who described him as a father of six. “Seven, actually,” he said. Speaking with Page Six in June, De Niro also set the record straight on whether Gia was planned, with the actor clarifying that he “wasn’t surprised” by Chen’s pregnancy.

“How could you not plan that kind of thing?” De Niro asked.

After Chen gave birth to their baby in April, she spoke out about her experience with “postpartum complications”. In July, Chen revealed in an interview with CBS Mornings co-host Gayle King that her “face felt weird” and her tongue was funny post-delivery.

“When I got home, it was like everything was just starting to fall down on itself, like my face was melting,” Chen said.

She explained that about a week later, she couldn’t move her mouth to eat and had begun slurring her words. Chen then called her doctor, only to find out she was experiencing Bell’s palsy - a neurological disorder that causes paralysis in the face.

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