Robert De Niro says coronavirus has decimated his finances to such an extent that he might actually only make $7.5m (£5.94m) this year.
The actor’s lawyers made the revelation during a recent court battle with his estranged wife Grace Hightower after she put in a request to increase her monthly American Express credit card limit from $50,000 back to $100,000, after the Oscar winner had reduced it.
According to Page Six, De Niro was forced to halve Hightower’s monthly allowance, insisting he has taken a massive financial hit after the restaurants Nobu and Greenwich Hotel, which he has stakes in, were partially closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Caroline Krauss, De Niro’s lawyer, said Nobu lost close to $5m in just two months, so he had to pay investors $500,000. Even that he had to borrow from business partners, because he just “doesn’t have the cash.”
ItKrauss explained: “His accounts and business manager … says that the best case for Mr. De Niro, if everything starts to turn around … he is going to be lucky if he makes $7.5m this year.”
She added that he is likely to get just $2.5m over the next few months and years, as filming on Killers Of The Flower Moon has been delayed due to the pandemic.
“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,” said Krauss, who says De Niro has cut his own spendings “dramatically.”
However, Hightower’s lawyer Kevin McDonugh did not believe this explanation, insisting De Niro has used the pandemic “to stick it to his wife financially”.
“I’m not a believer that a man who has an admitted worth of $500m and makes $30m a year, all of a sudden in March he needs to cut down by 50% and ban her from the house.”
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper ultimately allowed De Niro to keep the credit card limit at $50,000 a month, but did order him to pay Hightower $75,000 so that she could find a summer home for her and their two children, 8-year-old Helen and 21-year-old Elliot.