Robert De Niro, one of the most celebrated actors of all time, has recently welcomed his seventh child, a daughter named Gia Virginia, with his girlfriend Tiffany Chen. In a candid interview with The Guardian, he opened up about his family life, his girlfriend’s health issues and his views on fatherhood at the age of 80.
De Niro said that things are “going OK” with Chen and their baby girl, who was born on April 6. He admitted that parenting does not get easier with time, but he is happy to support his partner and have help around the house. “It is what it is. It’s OK,” he said. “I mean, I don’t do the heavy lifting. I’m there, I support my girlfriend. But she does the work. And we have help, which is so important.”
The actor also revealed that he enjoys being a father to his children of different ages and stages. He has six other children from his previous relationships: Drena, 52, Raphael, 46, Julian and Aaron, 27, Elliot, 25 and Helen Grace, 11. He also has three grandchildren, after losing one of them to a drug overdose in July. “Of course I do. [I enjoy] all of it. With a baby, it’s different [than] with my 11-year-old. My adult children. My grandchildren,” he said. “It’s all different. I don’t talk to the adult children the way I talk to my baby or the way I speak to my 11-year-old, though she’s pretty smart.”
The actor reflects on his mortality and legacy
De Niro, who turns 81 in August, said that he thinks more about time and how to use it wisely as he grows older. He said that he wants to spend more time with his family and pursue his projects while he can. “Every summer, every new season, everything, you say, ‘Well, I’m going to use these few months of the summer to be with my kids, my family,’” he said. “Everything I do, time-wise, is important. Whatever I’m thinking about doing in two years, I’d better think about doing it now.”
The actor also shared his thoughts on his legacy and how he wants to be remembered by his fans and peers. He said that he is proud of his work and hopes that it will stand the test of time. He also expressed his gratitude for working with some of the best directors and actors in the industry, especially his longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese. “I hope people appreciate what I’ve done,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky to work with Marty [Scorsese] so many times and other great directors and actors. I just hope they like what I did.”
The actor’s girlfriend suffers from postpartum Bell’s palsy
De Niro’s girlfriend Tiffany Chen, a martial arts instructor who met the actor in 2019, faced a serious health complication after giving birth to their daughter Gia. She was diagnosed with postpartum Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes temporary facial paralysis due to nerve damage.
Chen spoke about her ordeal in an interview with Gayle King on CBS Mornings in July. She said that she started to feel strange sensations in her tongue and face a week after delivering her baby by C-section. She rushed to the hospital when she realized that she could not eat or speak properly. “When I got home it was like everything was just starting to fall down on itself, like my face was melting,” she said. “I lost all facial function the minute I got into the hospital.”
Chen said that she was scared and frustrated by her condition, which affected her ability to bond with her baby and communicate with her partner. She also faced stigma and ignorance from some people who assumed that she had a stroke or a cosmetic surgery gone wrong. She said that she decided to share her story to raise awareness and help other women who might go through the same experience.
Chen said that she has recovered about 80% of her facial function after undergoing physical therapy and acupuncture treatments. She also credited De Niro for being supportive and understanding throughout her recovery process.
The actor’s upcoming film with Scorsese and DiCaprio
De Niro is set to star in his tenth film with Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon, which is based on a true story of a series of murders of Osage Nation members in Oklahoma in the 1920s. The film also features Leonardo DiCaprio, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser and Lily Gladstone in pivotal roles.
De Niro plays William Hale, a powerful rancher who is suspected of orchestrating the killings to gain control of the oil-rich land. DiCaprio plays his nephew Ernest Burkhart, who is married to an Osage woman named Mollie (Gladstone). Plemons plays Tom White, an FBI agent who investigates the case.
The film, which is adapted from a book by David Grann, is expected to be released in theaters on October 20. It is also Scorsese’s first film to be produced by Apple TV+.