How many children is too many children? And how old is too old to have them? Answers to these questions differ among families. One man, however, who has made his position clear, is actor Robert De Niro. Bobby, as he’s known to friends, confirmed yesterday that at 79, he’s become a father for the seventh time.
In an interview with ET Canada about his upcoming film, “About My Father,” De Niro revealed that he’d just welcomed a new child into the world. “I know you have six kids,” said the interviewer, which De Niro corrected, saying, “Seven, actually. I just had a baby.”
The outlet reached out to De Niro’s reps for confirmation, and it’s true — he is, in fact, a father of seven.
De Niro’s Growing Family
Here’s a quick rundown of the actor’s other children and their mothers. De Niro has been married twice. His first marriage was to actress Diahnne Abbott, who he met on the set of Taxi Driver. They were married from 1976 to 1988. De Niro adopted Abbott’s daughter from a previous relationship, Drena, now 51, and then Abbott and De Niro had a son together, Raphael, now 46.
De Niro’s subsequent relationship was with model Toukie Smith, with whom he had twin sons, Julian and Aaron, now 23. They split in the mid nineties, after which De Niro wed singer Grace Hightower. The pair was married from 1997 until 2018, and together, had two children: Elliot, now 25, and Helen, now 11. De Niro also has four grandchildren: three from Raphael, and one from Drena.
The De Niro Family Dynamic
May-December relationships are not uncommon, but for De Niro, it has become something of a trademark. Though he and his first wife were close in age, his subsequent relationships have been with increasingly younger women. (Smith is eight years younger; Hightower eleven.) Though information about De Niro’s current paramour has not been released to the public, the reality of reproductive biology means that she is certain to be at least 30 years his junior.
I am, of course, not the love police. His partner is his prerogative. But the fact of his having a seventh child at the end of his eighth decade highlights one of several interesting aspects of our American culture: We laud a man procreating at 79 — an age that, unless he is cryogenically preserved, near guarantees he won’t see his newborn graduate high school — but tsk tsk a woman wearing a miniskirt after 40. To be fair, De Niro is not the first or the only man to date down the calendar. What he most definitely is, however, is a poster boy for a society wherein men retire their equal-aged female counterparts from the prospective partner pool before they reach the mid-century mark. In other words, if you’re single and post-menopausal, you’re no longer a viable mate. It’s this — not De Niro himself — that chaps my hide.
And speaking of age gaps, the one between his youngest and eldest children is 51 years — a span that’s larger than the one between most parents and their children. While De Niro’s witnessed the milestones of his oldest children, one can’t help but wonder what he will see of his newborn’s. That said, the oldest living person is 118, so it’s possible Bobby will outlive us all.
Sill, I can’t help but think of my single, over 50 female friends, and wonder if they, too, have feelings about octogenarian baby daddies. Or maybe I’m just being judgmental. What do you think?