Actor Robert De Niro apparently has been under some financial stress since the coronavirus pandemic upended some of his businesses.
In a divorce case with his estranged wife, De Niro’s team argued the health crisis, which sent several small businesses, retailers, and major events into financial distress due to closures or restrictions on capacity, has been particularly hard on De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel and his restaurant chain, Nobu.
De Niro’s lawyer, Caroline Krauss, said in Manhattan court that Nobu lost $3 million in April and an additional $1.87 million in May. De Niro also had to pay investors $500,000 on a capital call, which he borrowed money from his business partners to pay “because he doesn’t have the cash,” she said according to Page Six.
“His accounts and business manager … says that the best case for Mr. De Niro, if everything starts to turn around this year, … he is going to be lucky if he makes $7.5 million this year,” Krauss said.
Krauss also noted De Niro’s prenuptial obligations to Grace Hightower, his estranged wife, which states that he must pay her $1 million a year as long as he makes at least $15 million annually. If the actor makes less than that amount, the spousal support will be adjusted.
De Niro, 76, is only expected to make $2.5 million in 2020 and 2021 for his latest film, The Irishman. He made an appearance via Skype at the divorce hearing.
Hightower asked for an emergency order for her husband to raise her monthly credit card limit from $50,000 to $100,000. De Niro had cut Hightower’s credit card limit from $100,000, her lawyer, Kevin McDonough, said.
McDonough also claimed Hightower, as well as their children, have been banned from De Niro’s New York compound. McDonough pushed back on claims made by De Niro’s lawyer that the actor can’t afford to retire and has been drastically cutting his spending.
“Mr. De Niro has used the COVID pandemic, my words would be, to stick it to his wife financially,” McDonough said.
He added: “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.”
The judge ruled that De Niro should maintain the $50,000 credit card limit but pay Hightower $75,000 so she and their children can find a summer home.
De Niro and Hightower first married in 1997 and have been on-again-off-again since. They share two children.
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