AceShowbiz - Robert De Niro is struggling to keep up with his estranged wife's extravagant lifestyle. During a virtual divorce hearing that took place on Friday, April 16, a lawyer for the actor claimed that his client's ex Grace Hightower's lavish spending habits and demands that are "rich with indulgence" will work the actor to death.
"Mr. De Niro is 77 years old, and while he loves his craft, he should not be forced to work at this prodigious pace because he has to," De Niro's lawyer Caroline Krauss told a Manhattan judge during the hearing. "He could get sick tomorrow, and the party's over."
She went on arguing, "When does that stop? When does he get the opportunity to not take every project that comes along and not work six-day weeks, 12-hour days so he can keep pace with Ms. Hightower's thirst for Stella McCartney?"
De Niro appeared in court via a Skype call, while Hightower appeared by video link. The former spouses, who separated in 2018 after 20 years of marriage, have been involved in a contentious divorce battle over the terms of split, particularly over alimony payments.
Per their 2004 prenuptial agreement, De Niro is only required to pay his ex $1 million a year if it's earning $15 million or more, and his payments would decline proportionally with his income. As of January of this year, "The Irishman" star has cut her allowance from $375,000 per month to $100,000.
His lawyer claimed that his income has been reduced significantly due to the pandemic. Krauss additionally said that De Niro is behind millions of dollars on his taxes and that the money from his next two movie projects will go toward paying off those liabilities.
Hightower's lawyer Kevin McDonough challenged Krauss' claims by saying that "there have been no cutbacks and no slowdowns in Mr. De Niro's lifestyle whatsoever." He said, "When Mr. De Niro goes to brunch Sunday in Connecticut, he charters a helicopter up there. When he flies down to see his friends in Florida or wherever else, it's a private jet," which was quickly denied by De Niro's lawyer.
Justice Matthew Cooper said of the exes' divorce case, "There's nothing ordinary about these expenses for 99.99999% of the world. These are extraordinary to an almost unimaginable degree." He added, "I want to get these parties divorced. I want to get Mr. De Niro and Ms. Hightower to go their separate ways. They're both going to come out of this richer than most human beings who walk this earth. There's no question about it."