New York City residents are probably familiar with a few of Robert De Niro’s most prominent investments. The 77-year-old actor has invested in several businesses and restaurants across the city including The Greenwich Hotel and the Tribeca Bar and Grill. Recently, a judge ruled that De Niro will not have to divide those business assets with his estranged wife in their divorce settlement.
$500 million fortune
De Niro’s long career in film combined with his investments have resulted in an estimated $500 million fortune. Since De Niro and his wife of 24 years, Grace Hightower, filed for divorce in 2018, De Niro’s fortune has been the subject of a property division dispute. Hightower wanted a cash settlement, but a judge ruled that De Niro’s assets are his separate property.
Instead of being awarded a portion of the $500 million, Hightower was awarded $1 million per year in alimony payments until either she remarries or De Niro passes away. De Niro was also ordered to pay $6 million so that his ex-wife may purchase a new home.
What De Niro’s attorney says
According to De Niro’s attorney, Hightower had an expensive lifestyle that forced his client to take on more work than he would have liked to. De Niro’s attorney also claimed that the actor had a lot of tax debt, and he was working 12-hour days to pay for all of Hightower’s designer clothing.
New York is an equitable distribution state
When a couple divorces in New York, marital property is divided equitably, not equally. That means that property acquired during the marriage is divided in a way that a judge deems fair given the circumstances. Some property may not be included in the marital property if there is a pre- or post-nuptial agreement.