Robert DeNiro cut his ex-wife’s AmEx allowance from $100K to $50K a month

2018 Tribeca Film Festival "Love, Gilda" Premiere

I’ve noticed that, on the whole, people generally aren’t interested in gossip about Robert DeNiro, especially about his personal life. I get that DeNiro is a national/international treasure and we tend to treat those “treasures” with kid gloves, but DeNiro is also very gossip-worthy. He does and says some notable and gossip-worthy sh-t. Case in point: DeNiro is divorcing his second wife Grace Hightower. Together, they are parents to Elliott (who is 22) and Helen, who is 8 years old. Their relationship formally fell apart in 2018, although they’d reportedly been having problems for a lot longer. They still haven’t completed their divorce, and they’re still haggling over money. Page Six has a story about DeNiro cutting Grace’s monthly American Express limit from $100K to $50K. A MONTH. This story is bonkers and it’s fascinating gossip:

Robert De Niro says he’s running out of dinero. 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.

“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 percent 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 $75,000 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.”

[From Page Six]

I mean, the financial shenanigans on both sides!! I’m aghast! The very idea that one would have to slum it on a mere $50K a month! And that Grace needs $75K for her own summer rental! HOW DARE YOU! But her lawyers have a point too – DeNiro’s net worth is substantial, even if he isn’t bringing in a lot of money currently. There could be a liquidity issue, or it could be an issue of the $500 million figure being inflated due to DeNiro’s many investments, like the Tribeca Film Festival, Nobu, etc. Whew. It feels like both things can be true: DeNiro is trying to financially screw over his estranged wife AND it’s insane that $50K a month isn’t enough to live comfortably, even in New York.

69th Cannes Film Festival - Hands of Stone Premiere Cannes, France

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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77 Responses to “Robert DeNiro cut his ex-wife’s AmEx allowance from $100K to $50K a month”

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  1. Darla says:

    I don’t know, don’t a lot of these people go broke? Or at least, cash broke? So many homes, such a high flying lifestyle. Who really knows his true financial situation.

    • Jellybean says:

      I think I read somewhere that at least 50% of what an actor earns goes straight out in agent’s fees and such. The lawyers also play word games. The will compare amounts that are tax free with those before stoppages and tax. They will talk about a monthly payment and ignore the fact that there is also a massive end of year payment. I think it is disgusting that all family court filings are not sealed.

    • FilmTurtle says:

      Years ago, an actress friend of mine told me she took home $4 from every ten dollars she earned. She was on a few sitcoms, no movies or beauty contracts or anything. Taxes, union dues, agents, manager, lawyer, publicist. And that was before rent and regular living expenses. I used to wonder why she lived so modestly, and that explained it.

  2. Lightpurple says:

    The $50K a month is her CREDIT CARD limit, not all the money she’s getting. This is insane.

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      I just can’t with this right now. WTeverlovingF! Whinging because your credit card limit is lowered to $50,000/month? Is she even for real? What is she charging anyway?? It’s not like she needs the latest fashions to be seen around town in because guess what?? There’s nowhere to go!

      • H says:

        Not currently, but had a friend who did someone’s taxes, that person may or may not have the initials RD. He asked if he could claim the wife AND the girlfriend, as he paid rent for gf. Tax preparer friend said no. So, I do believe DeNiro spends a lot of money. But if you can’t live on $50k on a credit card a month? Yeah, get out of here.

      • Darla says:

        Well, if he’s paying his girlfriends’ rents, he’s not as cheap as Pacino.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That just clicked with me. It’s just her credit card limit. That’s for shopping & travel & such. That’s not mortgage or rent or school fees. Whew! The rich ARE different.

    • holly hobby says:

      The credit card thing was a little too much. I assume she is still getting a cash payout for child and spousal support. Gee lady do you really need that much. Also, one of their children is now a grown ass adult. How is he lumped in with the 8 year old? Does she get cash for the adult too?

    • Adrianna says:

      I don’t get why these wealthy actors bother to get married. Sooner or later they’re going to be paying out massive amounts of money to their ex spouses who seem totally useless at making any money of their own. Granted, if they have been home raising the kids, they deserve a decent payout and child support, but this is ridiculous. If an iron clad prenup actually works, then they should make sure to get one.

    • Rad says:

      All I know is the if my husband needed to spend $50k a month using AMEX, I would not need a divorce attorney, I’d need one specializing in homicide!

  3. MaryContrary says:

    Those Hamptons monthly rental fees are INSANE-like easily $35,000 a month. It doesn’t surprise me at all that she couldn’t live her usual life on $50K a month. And why should she when he’s worth $$$$? It’s not like they had a quickie marriage-they were together a long time.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      But that’s the thing. This is ON TOP of her $1mil in spousal support. And child support This is spending money on a credit card! This isnt about not being able to afford things. Can you imagine having 50k a MONTH is spending money on a credit card and saying it’s not enough??

      • Tealie says:

        I’m screaming! she is probably stashing it away for a rainy day 😭😭😭 i mean tbf good on her, they were married for more than 20 years and he was cheating towards the end, she deserves it! 🤷🏻‍♀️

  4. Seraphina says:

    I am currently involved with a project for kids not having enough to eat this summer at our local food bank. This story enrages me. Am I to feel sorry for either of them? Boo hoo. Tighten those belts and thank God you have what you have and don’t have to worry where your next meal is coming from. I just can’t with these stories. And if this is their COVID sad story, they should also thank God for that.

    • MissMarierose says:

      Amen

    • lucy2 says:

      YES. And thank you for the work you are doing.

      “he is going to be lucky if he makes $7.5 million this year,” F…..
      Considering she should be staying safe at home anyway, what on earth is she buying on that credit card?!

  5. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    !
    And
    !!
    And
    !!!

    Really, what could you possibly spend £100,000 a month on? Since when has £2.5m been considered a low wage? Is it just me? Am I the one contorting my brain into Gordian knots? Or is this really, really obscenely wasteful and demanding of higher tax brackets so a few more people could, you know, have healthcare or not be homeless?

  6. SamC says:

    I can believe he doesn’t have many liquid assets even with a high net worth, and also would assume he is paying support for the minor child. And holy heck, $50k/month! On the other hand, reading about Hamptons rental prices for a summer, $75,000 almost seems like a bargain.

    • Ennie says:

      If the oldest is studying, he might be paying, too.

      • Mia4s says:

        As I recall the son is on the Autism spectrum severely enough to require quite a bit of ongoing support and care. So I am 100% OK with the support portion….but this is her CREDIT CARD LIMIT. Grace, honey, read the room!

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I just put a pork shoulder on low to roast all day in a roaster because our temporary oven is on the fritz. Pork was sale so I got an 18 pounder really cheap, and we’ll be able to have two or three different meals. Fifty thousand dollars a month. Fifty THOUSAND dollars a MONTH. 😐

    • Zwella Ingrid says:

      Right?! Unfrigging real.

    • Jerusha says:

      My last year as a public school teacher-2015-I made $53,000. A year. After 40 years on the job with a Master’s Degree the whole time. $100,000 A MONTH?? GFY.

      • Queen Meghan's Hand says:

        But her Amex Black Card limit. Her monthly credit card bill is more that our salaries.
        I…

  8. Scal says:

    That’s what I make in a year before taxes. So yea boo hoo hoo rich people. No one needs to live in a hamptons rental

  9. Rapunzel says:

    It’s not 50k a month. The 50k is just credit card purchases.

    It’s no wonder DeNiro has to take so many ctappy films just for the paycheck.

    • Lightpurple says:

      People seem to be missing that part of it. This is a CHARGE CARD limit, not the limit on what she is getting. There may be some agreement that the monthly expenses he covers go through the card but she isn’t paying rent with an AMEX.

      • Goldie says:

        Since, they are still legally married, perhaps he isn’t paying her alimony. The credit card “allowance” might be a temporary arrangement until they reach a divorce settlement. However, if he was paying 100k in credit in addition to alimony, then I agree that’s excessive.

  10. Puffy says:

    I’m more interested why he isn’t allowing their two children to come to his compound but apparently his other children are allowed? Seems a bit cruel. Especially for an 8 year old who doesn’t understand her parents situation.

    • notpretentious says:

      Yes, and why is she banned from his compound? I find that curious…

      • ODIE says:

        The way this is phrased sounds like SHE and the kids are a packaged deal. Who knows if he’s at the house. They have a contentious divorce in progress.

    • H says:

      Let’s face it, DeNiro is old. Perhaps he’s worried about Covid. I’m not going to slam him on that. I video chat with my kid every Sunday as I have asthma (she’s in school abroad), but if she were here in the US, she’d have to quarantine for 14 days elsewhere before she was allowed in my house, per doctor’s recommendations.

      • Darla says:

        that’s what I was thinking. could be a covid concern. i have this issue with kids in my family who refuse to follow guidelines, so i get it.

  11. Also Ali says:

    The idea of being grown and living on an “allowance” creeps me out. It sounds like something you’d put up with in an abusive marriage, not once divorced.

  12. Rae says:

    I can’t feel sorry, I will be honest. Yes, it’s shitty if he’s intentionally being untruthful but…she’s still got a 50k credit limit a fucking month. That’s 600k per year credit card limit.

    I’m not a shoulder to cry on in this case. Get a grip!

  13. AMM says:

    So she gets 1 million a year plus a 50-100k monthly credit limit? Or was the 100k credit limit part of the million? It seems weird that she would accept alimony via credit card.

    Either way, if they have a prenup then that’s that. No reason to get messy about it.

  14. LidiaJara says:

    That “upstate New York” house is in the small town where my mom lives. I know a lot of people who have worked for Mr DeNiro and I can confirm that he is a huge d*** about money. Not paying his bills, even for materials that have been used on his property. The median income in my mom’s town is like $35k, these are not people who have some big business that can sit on an unpaid invoice for a year. I don’t know anyone who has worked for him that didn’t have to fight him to maybe get their fee. Except waitresses, he tips fine.

    • Jellybean says:

      I hate that. My husband is a marine engineer. Some of his customer are minted and yet the make him chase them for every penny. He does everything he can to help out small businesses that need their boats for their income, but some idiot with a gin palace will always be the one causing financial grief.

    • schmootc says:

      Cheapness seems to be a theme with some rich people. Maybe that’s how they got rich?

      • lucy2 says:

        It definitely is with some. They spend like crazy and then stiff everyone on the bills. Almost all the clients I work for are wealthy, and most of them pay no problem but there’s always some that throw a fit and never want to pay for anything. Including one who decided to sell the property they hired us to work on, and then felt that entitled them to simply not pay us.

    • SamC says:

      This! I work with a lot of building material retailers and wholesalers in the Northeast, including NYC, Hamptons, Vineyard, etc. The rich, or their people who deal with the vendors supplying materials for their homes, are the worst about slow pay, nickel and dime everything, want deep discounts or complete write offs (vs replacements) for the most minute imperfections, etc. Used to live in Texas and worked with people who were around Tommy Lee Jones a lot and he was also horrible, and verbally nasty to boot.

  15. Jessica says:

    I approached life all wrong. I want to law school and now have a ton of debt. I should have focused my efforts in getting banged up by a rich dude. SHM! Live and learn

  16. Léna says:

    Wait, he was paying his wife each to.. live? Strange concept, maybe for the rich or the old

  17. Lady Keller says:

    The 50 k is just her MONTHLY credit card limit. I doubt she is paying rent on her credit card. So that’s just her spending. Before I had kids when I was working full time I made 50k a year. Now that I’m part time 50k a year seems almost luxurious.

    Still I suppose if I were Mrs. Robert De Niro and living in New York I’d probably spend a million a year, just because I could.

  18. Sarah says:

    “$50,000 seems to be certainly enough to avoid irreparable harm.”

    Err YEAH. And as another comment points out, this is just her credit card. These people live on another planet.

  19. Krystina says:

    Must be nice to have these First World problems.

  20. Lunasf17 says:

    These people are so out of touch! It’s not that hard to cut back on expenses, especially with that kind of money. I feel like this is the America way, live above your means, put everything on credit and work work work instead of living in a reasonable sized house and driving an older car and Having less stress. I feel like Americans would rather Work our lives away and have zero free time to see our family and friends instead of downgrading our lifestyle which I find so stupid and ridiculous and consumer driven. Sometimes our lifestyle has to change because our finances change and there’s nothing wrong with that! As long as you have a safe place to live and food on the table you’re doing a lot better than so many other people in this world! Think about how many meals for hungry kids you could buy or How many homeless people could be sheltered with that $50,000 a month. No sympathy for these people.

  21. lowercaselila says:

    She should get as much money as she can. He had no problem receiving 28 million dollars in PPP relief money for his Nobu restaurants. He has not said if he is going to return the money. Money that was meant for businesses that have no other way to get loans to keep their businesses afloat. Your tax dollars at work. Obviously, I am angry with him when I read this.

    • Darla says:

      OH did he? wow.

    • lucy2 says:

      Good Lord. If his company got that big loan, he can’t use that to cry about.
      Apparently Kanye West’s Yeezy company also got PPP money. He’s a “billionaire”, right?

  22. Sean says:

    The whole thing is ridiculous. Thanks to Covd-19, millions of people have lost jobs that don’t even pay $50k a year and this asshat is whining about her monthly CREDIT allowance being lowered TO $50k.

    This part especially enraged me:

    “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.

    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.”

    Millions of senior citizens can’t afford to retire because their 401ks tanked or they didn’t make enough to properly save. This actor who’s made millions over several decades of being an A-list star can’t retire simply because he doesn’t want to cut back on his life style.

    Shit, if I had $2.5 million I’d retire today and I’m only 34. Forget about $7.5 million. This is the type of story that just makes me think “F*CK THESE PEOPLE!” This reminds me of reading about Johnny Depp owing hundreds of millions of dollars after he’d been the highest paid actor at $40 million a picture. Seriously, these people achieved financial security most can only dream about and they squandered it.

  23. ODIE says:

    As I read this, it is not a 50k monthly allowance. It is the spend on a single credit card. The 75k for a summer rental (obvious necessity) is in addition to that as it the 1mm annual spousal support not to mention child support or other assets they share.

  24. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Can I point out that this is just her CREDIT CARD ALLOWANCE. Not her actual spousal support. This is in edition. I’m sorry but cry me a river on this one. 50k a month in credit card spending isnt enough? She get 1mil in spousal support, child support AND is getting additional money for a “summer home”. She will be okay. 🙄

  25. BeanieBean says:

    First thought: boo hoo. Second thought: didn’t she & he have twins? Off to google. OK, just checked. He had twins with Toukie. I’d forgotten about her. Wonder what her support is?

  26. Mrs. Peel says:

    Putting up with crusty Bobby for years is worth at least $100,000 per month. Can’t believe she lasted that long.

  27. SJR says:

    Who TF spends $50-$100K a month??

    Sickening. Donate to anyone in need, do good for others.

  28. Athyrmose says:

    His lawyer referring to his children as, “these people,” is as gross as everyone’s spending habits. ‘These people,’ are his family.

  29. Granger says:

    I have nothing new to say. I’m just so gob-smacked that someone needs a credit card limit of $100,000 a month, and thinks $50,000 is too low. I honestly can’t even wrap my head around how I would spend $50,000 a month. I just can’t.

  30. Veronica says:

    What amazes you is how much easier it is to be cash poor at that level, yeah? The rest of us would wind up in court or jail. But the rich can just keep using credit cards until they die, always getting bailed out by someone they know.

  31. L4frimaire says:

    I can’t comprehend having 50k or 100k a month just for credit cards. That said, I bet it was much higher when they were married. This is definitely rich people problems but people still have their pride, and their grudges, and she probably feels like he’s trying to pull a fast one using Covid.The rich are still rich, and some are getting richer during this pandemic. When you read about these millionaire/billionaire divorces, a lot of the men are super petty and tight fisted with the ex-wives and work really hard to hide the money, freeze bank accounts, evict them. So while those of us getting by on unemployment roll our eyes at this, a lot of what women, regardless of income, put into marriage and families is unpaid labor, that isn’t valued, ever. So yeah, scoff at the amounts and call her spoiled or extravagant, but if she feels she is entitled to more she has every right to pursue it and this is precisely why lawyers are there to negotiate settlements. Get yours Grace.

  32. Penguin says:

    I don’t feel bad for what’s going on in this divorce but going from 100k to 50k on credit would suck, especially if that’s the norm for her. Idk what her expenses are for her and her children but she can probably manage it well within the 50k area.

    This reminds me of a friend of mine who’s parents were divorcing and their rich af the husband slashed her credit card dramatically as well. My friend had to get in the middle of it and explain to his dad why his mum “needed” the limit as it was. Such a mess…i think it went down from 75k to something like 30k. My face went red. I’m a server relying on tips so him telllinf me this I was like “hmmmm”

  33. Mariane says:

    So I guess they have a prenup! I doubt pagesix is a credible source on this but he wouldn’t be aggravating things like this unless if he had the upper hand. I wonder if they’re getting joint custody or if she’s primary

  34. Ennie says:

    A person in my small city tried to commit suicide because his restaurant business plummeted and at that time he had moved to a fancy neighborhood and was full of debts. This tmes are hard. If it is priven that money income diminished, then she has to deal with it.

  35. cisne says:

    50k/per month? phew!! Not in the style she is used too. snapsnap…I heard DeNiro fetish with black women is deep and dark…no telling what Grace has put up with albeit willing..nobody forced her to be with him for however long in their marriage. Even if none of that is correct and they have had a normal marriage what is the value of her contribution to his his wealth building all the years together.

  36. Golly Gee says:

    “Robert De Niro says he’s running out of dinero.”
    This give me a chuckle.
    Also, my heart goes out to these poor, rich, rich people during this difficult time. Can’t someone please start a kickstarter campaign for them?

  37. Bichon Lover says:

    I may be in the minority, but I’m not upset with her. Think about it like this…if we’re accustomed to living on $60-80,000/year and someone told us we only had $2,000/month, we would freak out and wonder how to survive.

    For 20+ years, she’s had nearly unlimited wealth, private jets, and mansions at her disposal. She’s forgotten how to live like a normal person. A $200 meal for her is like a $10 sandwich for us. A $1500/month AMEX bill for us could easily be $75,000 for her. Is it ridiculous? Yes. But it’s difficult to change 20 years of habits overnight when you aren’t required to do so. If she was financially cut off, she would find a way to make it on $100,000/year. But why should she? Plus she has an adult child with a disability and a minor child to care for. I have no issue with her request, after a 20-year marriage.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve laid it out nicely and I totally see what you’re saying. But it still feels really wrong, to me, to hear someone complaining about a $50K/month credit card limit when there are children in America who go to bed hungry every night.

  38. Mez says:

    When so many people are homeless or can’t afford medical care it’s disgusting that there are others who have way more than they’ll ever need.

  39. Also Ali says:

    For perspective on her 100k allowance, the divorced Bezos just earned another 22 billion dollars. In one week.

  40. Mignionette says:

    I’m guessing DeNiro did this based on a number of scenarios;

    - Projections of future earnings

    - Based on last 3-4 months of statements where there is not that much spending bc of COVID

    - Realization that spouses often request a charge card (in this case black Amex) as a means of ‘bumping up’ their main pay out.

    It’s an old divorcee trick to charge expensive items to a card then return them for cash, store credit or even re-sale. Especially if the name DeNiro is on the card. Grace could effectively buy a Birkin every other month and then re-sale it in Hong Kong/ Singapore for a 50-100%+ mark up. So a $20-40k Birkin is now yielding $40-60k+ over a year she could make an extra $240k at the very min, which bumps her income to $1.74 M a year.

  41. Dani says:

    Celebs, as a whole, are disgusting and so privileged. My head hurts from reading these numbers. Boohoo her credit card limit was cut to 50k! Meanwhile I’m over here OUT OF A JOB with two kids and a husband who lost 45% of his earnings due to covid. Cry me a river.