Details About Robert De Niro's Life That He's Tried To Keep Under Wraps

For a guy who's made a living baring his soul on camera, Robert De Niro is unusually private. Though he's been working for 58 years, he rarely divulges any information about himself offscreen. So it was a jaw-dropping surprise when, during an interview with ET Canada in May 2023, the actor suddenly revealed that he had just had another baby — at the age of 79. That brings the number of De Niro children up to seven. But believe it or not, this is hardly the most shocking thing about the Oscar winner's life.

Seven kids — and counting?

De Niro was promoting his forthcoming movie About My Father when he revealed that he'd had a seventh child. This was a shock to his fans, who only knew of his previous six kids. These include Drena, 51, Raphael, 46 — from his first wife, Diahnne Abbott — Elliot, 25, Helen, 11 — from his second wife, Grace Hightower — and twins Aaron and Julian, 27, from Toukie Smith. The seventh baby is called Gia Virginia Chen-De Niro and was born on April 6, 2023.

A New York artist

Born in 1943 in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, De Niro had creative roots from the start. His parents — mother Virginia Admiral and father Robert De Niro Sr. — had met in a painting class. His father was well-known as an abstract expressionist whose friends included Tennessee Williams, Henry Miller, and Anaïs Nin. But De Niro Sr. left his wife and kids after coming out as gay when De Niro Jr. was still only two.

Not as Italian as you might think

Despite his very Italian-sounding name, De Niro doesn't solely hail from Italy. In fact, he's a complicated mix. “I have Irish roots. My mother’s Dutch, French, and German. And my father was Irish and Italian,” he told the Irish Sun in 2019. “I hitchhiked around Ireland when I was about 18, 19. I’ve been trying for years to find relatives there. For some reason, it’s not easy. Italy was easier.”

Religion? Meh...

De Niro was raised by an atheist mother and a formerly Catholic father. Neither parent wanted their son to be baptized, but young De Niro's grandparents had the ceremony performed secretly while he was staying with them. Still, De Niro said at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2011 that he stopped going to church at 15 years old. “I respect religion,” he said, “but if there’s a God, he’s got a lot of explaining to do!”