Robert De Niro says coronavirus decimated his finances
Hightower complained De Niro had halved her $100 000-a-month credit limit
/NOVOSTIVL/ The coronavirus dealt a massive financial blow to the actor’s finances he revealed in court, as his estranged wife asked for an emergency order to raise her monthly American Express card credit limit from $50 000 to $100 000.
The “Irishman” actor appeared by phone on a Skype call in his Manhattan divorce case with Grace Hightower as her lawyer told a judge that De Niro unfairly cut her monthly Am-Ex allowance from $100 000 to $50 000 and said she and their children had been banned from an upstate compound where De Niro is staying during the pandemic.
But lawyers for De Niro said he cut Hightower’s credit card limit because he’s taken a huge financial hit as the restaurant chain Nobu and Greenwich Hotel, both of which he has stakes in, have been closed or partially closed for months with barely any business.
De Niro’s lawyer, Caroline Krauss, told the judge that Nobu lost $3 million in April and another $1.87 million in May. And he had to pay investors $500 000 on a capital call, which he borrowed money from his business partners to make, “because he doesn’t have the cash,” Krauss said.
Krauss also explained that under the terms of their 2004 prenuptial agreement De Niro is only required to pay Hightower $1 million a year as long as he’s making $15 million or more in income and if his income declines his payments to her proportionally do too.
“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 added that proceeds from Netflix’s “The Irishman” have mostly already been paid out and he is likely to get just $2,5 million in 2020 and 2021.
And a movie project that De Niro was scheduled to begin filming this summer in Oklahoma has been put on hold, Krauss explained.
“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,” Krauss said, adding that De Niro has begun cutting back spending “dramatically.”
Hightower’s lawyer, Kevin McDonough, fired back, “the idea that Mr. De Niro is tightening his belt is nonsense.”
“Mr. De Niro has used the COVID pandemic, my words would be, to stick it to his wife financially,” McDonough said.
“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,” McDonough said.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper issued a temporary ruling that De Niro should keep Hightower’s credit card limit at $50 000 a month and pay her $7000 so she can find a summer home for their two kids while De Niro and his other children remain in his three-house compound upstate.
“I am not requiring at this point that Mr. De Niro restore the credit card to $100 000,” Cooper said. “$50 000 seems to be certainly enough to avoid irreparable harm.”