Elliot De Niro is Robert De Niro‘s youngest son, born in 1998. His mother is Grace Hightower.
Here’s everything you need to know about Elliot De Niro.
1. Robert De Niro Said His Son Has Autism
In 2016, Robert De Niro revealed that Elliot was Autistic after he pulled the controversial film, Vaxxed, from the Tribeca Film Festival. Telegraph reported that De Niro claimed that his son, Elliot, “changed overnight” after he received a measles vaccination. The film is an anti-vaccine documentary that De Niro believes “everyone should see.”
Elliot began playing tennis as a child, which helped him grow and develop while living with special needs. Hightower said in Special Olympics: 50 Game Changers, a series produced by ESPN, that tennis helped her son “succeed within [himself]” and it gave him “that motivation, that confidence of knowing who [he is].”
Robert De Niro also said that playing tennis helped his son. “He is more confident when he sees that he’s actually good at this. That’s the greatest self-motivator anyone can have.”
2. He Is the Fifth of Six De Niro Children
Elliot is the fifth of six children fathered by Robert De Niro. He has a younger biological sister named Helen Grace, and they both were children from De Niro’s most recent, third marriage to Grace Hightower. Hightower and De Niro’s youngest daughter was born via surrogate, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Elliot’s other siblings include Drena De Niro (the oldest), who is adopted, and Raphael De Niro from his father’s first marriage to Diahnne Abbott and his twin older siblings, Julian Henry and Aaron Kendrick from a relationship his father had with the model, Toukie Smith. Julian and Aaron were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization. They were carried and given birth to by a surrogate also. Raphael has grown to be a successful NYC real estate broker, as reported by Closer Weekly. Drena De Niro, on the other hand, has appeared in several films, following in her father’s footsteps.
When talking about his kids to Us Weekly, De Niro joked, “I love my children, just being with them. [But] It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s fun and you love your kids, and sometimes you want to kill them! Then, when you have the good moments, you forget about the ones that weren’t good.”
3. Elliot De Niro Was Part of ESPN’s 50 Game Changers for the Special Olympics
Elliot was featured in one of 50 videos leading up to the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympics. The promotional series put a spotlight on people with special needs from around the world who were working to advance causes related to inclusion. He appeared in a video as part of the ESPN series, which launched in 2018.
According to ESPN, Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics, said the “series shows the world how Special Olympic athletes … are the greatest teachers of welcome, compassion, and inclusion the world and the times demand.”
De Niro has been supportive of his son Elliot in helping promote the Special Olympics. De Niro’s father often keeps his personal life private, but he has spoken candidly about his children on occasion. When speaking to People about his kids, he said, “There are great moments and moments of sadness. Sometimes you’re the last person they want to deal with. It’s like when you walk your kids to school and they get older and they don’t want to hold your hand or kiss you goodbye.”
4. His Parents Are No Longer Together
The New York Daily News reported that Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower are in the midst of a divorce. The article reported that De Niro is worth approximately $500 million and that his estranged wife has been demanding half of his wealth.
The New York Daily News also stated that the pre-nuptial agreement between De Niro and Hightower stipulated that Hightower was entitled to a $6 million apartment, $500,000 in cash, $1 million a year and half the value of their shared residence.
De Niro confirmed his split from Hightower to People, after over 20 years of marriage and a decade-long courtship. When Hightower and De Niro separated in 2018, the movie star released the following statement, according to People, “Grace and I have two beautiful children together. We are entering a period of transition in our relationship which is a difficult but constructive process. I honor Grace as a wonderful mother and ask for privacy and respect from all as we proceed to develop our roles as partners in parenting.”
5. Composer Max Richter Is a Friend of Elliot’s
Elliot De Niro and Max Richter became friends through promoting the Special Olympics. Max Richter is a German-born, British composer who wrote the score for Ad Astra, a film starring Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones.
Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman talked about Elliott and Max’s connection, releasing this statement, “Special Olympics changes the game for athletes like Elliot and Max around the world, improving their health and well-being, and building their confidence, by harnessing the powers of sport and friendship. “We are proud and so thankful to be working with Grace to provide the opportunity of Special Olympics programming for athletes with intellectual differences across New York.”
One of the quotes about Max Richter from The Ransom Note, which is included in his bio, described him as this, “Max Richter is arguably one of the most influential and talented producers and composers of our generation. For more than fifteen years now he has been producing beautifully mesmerizing records and soundtracks. He has captured a sense of modern ambience which is hard to replicate, although many have tried.”