Robert De Niro is giving credit where it’s due when it comes to fatherhood, speaking candidly about parenting his seven children, the youngest of whom was born in April 2023.
In an interview with The Guardian, the 80-year-old actor discussed parents and parenthood, admitting that while he enjoys fatherhood, “It doesn’t get easier…It is what it is. It’s OK.”
Adding to that OK-ness is that girlfriend Tiffany Chen takes the lead when it comes to the care and keeping of baby Gia Virginia Chen De Niro, a reality he openly admits.
“I mean, I don’t do the heavy lifting,” he said. “I’m there, I support my girlfriend. But she does the work. And we have help, which is so important.”
De Niro’s oldest child, daughter Drina, is 52 years old. He also has three living grandchildren; another, Leandro De Niro Rodriguez, passed away in July at the age of 19.
Asked how parenthood is different this time around, De Niro said, “All of it! With a baby it’s different [than] with my 11-year-old. My adult children. My grandchildren. 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.”
He also talked a bit about his relationship with his own late father, and his desire to keep the senior De Niro’s legacy as an artist alive.
“I think he was proud of me,” he said of his father, whom he was named after. “At the same time, a little jealous, or envious, and so on. But he always… He was proud of me. And what I remember is I was proud of him when I was a kid—he was an artist. But that’s normal. People in families have certain feelings. It doesn’t mean they don’t love the family member, that they’re not loyal to them.”
He said they “had an OK relationship” before his father’s death in 1993.
“We were close in some ways but not in others.”
De Niro also discussed his own advancing age, saying he was “aware of it.”
“You think more about time. 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.’ I can’t wait until the next—I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “So each thing becomes more important. Everything I do, time-wise, is important. Whatever I’m thinking about doing in two years, I’d better think about doing it now.”