He is a father to six kids whom he shares with his ex-partners. He loves being a dad.
Robert De Niro once said, "There's nothing more ironic or contradictory than life itself," and it's true. Life is pretty unexpected. The same can be said for the actor's life as well. The acclaimed actor won an Oscar for his exceptional acting in The Godfather, Raging Bull, and Silver Linings Playbook, as per Biography.
Even though he was doing great in his career, he was fighting personal battles with addiction and "womanizing". The book, De Niro: A Life by author Shawn Levy, which was released on October 28, 2014, revealed a lot of secrets about the actor's life and how the 1980s wasn't the best time for him.
The Daily Mail reported that De Niro grew up in Greenwich Village in the 1960s which was a very artistic and cultural period of change. However, the young De Niro concentrated on learning how to act while following women around for his pleasure. Film producer Jonathan Taplin recalled, "He picked these incredibly strong girls, top chicks."
He further added that not only would the actor fight with them, but "they would always be in tears the next morning and he would buy them some perfume." Taplin said that none of the actor's relationships lasted long because he was more committed to his work along with his ‘thin skin and quick temper’.
But that didn't stop the Raging Bull actor from pursuing women in his car until they gave him their phone number. That's exactly how he met Helena Springs. She was a backup singer for Bob Dylan, Bette Midler, and Elton John at the time when De Niro followed her down the Vicente Boulevard in Los Angeles in his convertible.
Springs divulged, "I'd go fast, he'd go fast. I'd slow down, he'd slow down. This a*****e kept following me. I didn't even know him. Finally, he put his hands in a prayer position and said, 'Pull over.' So I stopped and he said, 'Can we have lunch?'"
The singer was just 22 then. On realizing that it was De Niro, she agreed to go out with him and the pair ended up spending the night together. Happy with each other's company, they decided to pursue a non-exclusive relationship during which Springs became pregnant, twice.
She decided to abort her first pregnancy without telling the actor but the second time, she wanted to keep the baby and confronted De Niro. Shocked by the news, he reacted "on what she described as a series of ugly and intimidating conversations and encounters aimed at getting her to terminate the pregnancy."
Fabiosa reported Springs saying, "It was mental abuse," but she kept the baby anyway. On July 1, 1982, Springs welcomed her baby girl Nina into the world, and The Intern actor provided her with $50,000 for the little one's care and set up her room. It should be noted that this was it. He refused any further help but continued to be a presence in the baby's life every now and then.
"He drew the line at providing her with his medical history or a blood sample, fearing that she didn't merely want to be able to fill in the gaps in the baby's medical records, as she said, but rather that she was after more money," wrote Levy.
Springs did not ask for De Niro's help because of her low self-esteem issues. "Black women are used to being courted by handsome, famous, rich white guys. So they don't say no to whatever the man wants," she said and added, "The truth is, Bobby, treated people badly if he decided they weren’t up to snuff."
He didn't see his child for three years until he received a letter from Marvin Mitchelson, a celebrity lawyer, in 1992. Springs, who was now married to someone else, was demanding child support from the actor. Their daughter by then had turned 10.
The court ordered tests to confirm that De Niro was the father of the child to which the actor agreed. Shockingly, the results revealed that Nina wasn't his daughter after all.
Although Springs contented that the actor owed Nina money since he had told her that he was her father and had taken the responsibility of a father, The Wizard of Lies actor refused to contribute any more to the upbringing of the child.
The 77-year-old might be a lot of things, but he is a doting father to all his six kids whom he shared with his ex-partners. Talking to Us Weekly back in 2019, he said, “I love my children, just being with them,” Talking about the challenges, he added, “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.”