Robert De Niro’s Kids: Meet the 7 Faces Who Call the Oscar Winner ‘Dad’

The 'Taxi Driver' star has seven children including his youngest daughter Gia. Find out more about all of Robert De Niro's kids.

Reading Time: 8 minutes
Robert De Niro
View gallery
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Robert De Niro, the 80-year-old award winning actor of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull fame, has often kept his personal life rather close to his chest.  Along with being one of the most celebrated actors of his time, De Niro is also the father to seven children. Over the course of his career, the actor has maintained a fairly low-key while bringing some of the most memorable characters of the big screen to life. The actor became a dad for the seventh time in April 2023. He had a daughter, Gia Virginia Chen-De Niro, with his girlfriend, Tiffany Chen. Over two months later, Robert’s eldest daughter Drena De Niro announced that her son Leandro De Niro Rodriguez, 19, had died.

Although De Niro rarely discusses his personal life publicly, there are some interesting facts to learn about his family, previous relationships and marriages, and his seven children. Most recently, he gushed about his youngest daughter Gia in a new interview. Learn more about the actor’s personal life with the comprehensive timeline below, including his newborn!

Drena De Niro

De Niro marred Diahnne Abbot in 1976, and subsequently became the stepfather to Diahnne’s daughter from a previous marriage, Drena. Diahnne and De Niro met on the set of the 1976 film Taxi Driver, which starred De Niro in one of his most iconic roles. Drena, born September 3, 1971, took her stepfather’s last name and went on to follow in both of her parents’ footsteps.

Robert De Niro and Drena De Niro at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards in Los Angeles on November 6, 2016 [Shutterstock].
Drena is an actress and model. Her transition to acting began in her mid-20s, when she played a receptionist in the film Grace of My Heart. Over the course of a few decades, Drena built up a strong filmography with a number of credits, including a role in 2018’s Oscar-nominated film A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, as well as a role in the film Joy, co-starring her stepfather and starring Jennifer Lawrence. Drena is close with both her mom and stepfather, and often shares a photo or two with De Niro on her Instagram page.

On July 2, Drena announced the death of her 19-year-old son, and Robert’s grandson, Leandro De Niro Rodriguez. Drena shared Leandro with New York-based artist Carlos Mare. Leo had a small part in A Star Is Born with his mom. “My beautiful sweet angel. I have loved you beyond words or description from the moment I felt you in my belly,” Drena wrote in her emotional message on Instagram. “You have been my joy my heart and all that was ever pure and real in my life. I wish I was with you right now. I wish I was with you. I don’t know how to live without you but I’ll try to go on and spread the love and light that you so made me feel in getting to be your mama.”

Drena continued, “You were so deeply loved and appreciated and I wish that love alone could have saved you. I’m so sorry my baby. I’m so sorry @carlosmare. Rest in Peace and Eternal Paradise my darling boy.” Robert has not commented on his grandson’s passing yet.

Raphael De Niro

Raphael De Niro and Robert De Niro at the 2nd Annual Robert De Niro Prize Reception in New York on January 22, 2013 [Shutterstock].
Raphael De Niro is the first child between Diahnne Abbot and Robert De Niro. The couple welcomed their son on November 9, 1976. Much like his half-sister, Drena, Raphael also started his career in acting. Early on, Raphael appeared in films alongside his father, including Awakenings and Raging Bull. Although he started out in acting, Raphael made a pretty drastic career change as an adult.

Raphael went on to become a real estate broker, founding the firm De Niro Team, Douglas Elliman, described as a “real estate advisory team with 15 years of proven success in New York City resale and new development,” per their Instagram page. Of his clients, Raphael has worked with the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Kelly Ripa, and more when it comes to their real estate pursuits. Raphael has been married twice and has three children with his ex-wife Claudine De Mato. When Raphael was just a pre-teen, his father and mother filed for divorce.

Julian & Aaron De Niro

Following his divorce from Diahnne Abbot, De Niro started dating model Toukie Smith. During their relationship, which lasted from 1988 to 1996, De Niro and Toukie welcomed twin sons, Julian and Aaron De Niro. The twin boys were conceived via in vitro fertilization, and born via surrogate in October 1995. Both Julian and Aaron are fairly private about their lives. Although they did attend red carpet events with their father and mother as youngsters, as adults they lead relatively quiet lives.

Elliot De Niro

By 1997, De Niro married his second wife, Grace Hightower. The couple welcomed their son, Elliot De Niro, in 1998. Elliot is a young person with special needs, and Grace and her husband were adamant about finding their son an outlet to enjoy and be himself. They enrolled Elliot in tennis lessons and he fell in love with the sport.

“He wasn’t crazy about it, at times,” De Niro confessed of his son’s enthusiasm for tennis in a video for ESPN. “His mother was good at pushing [him], and wanting him to be physical and work out,” De Niro went on. “He has realized, ‘Oh, I can accomplish this,'” Grace said of her son. “It has helped him socially,” she went on. “It helps him be more confident when he sees that he’s actually good at this,” De Niro said of his son’s relationship with tennis and exercising. “That’s the best self-motivator one can have. He’s gonna feel better about himself, which he does. So, it’s a win-win for everybody, especially [Elliot].”

Per Heavy, Robert revealed back in 2016 that Elliot is on the autism spectrum. He had just yanked the controversial film Vaxxed from the Tribeca Film Festival, stating that the controversial anti-vaccine film is something “everyone should see.” According to Heavy, De Niro claims via The Telegraph that Elliot “changed overnight” after having a measles vaccination administered.

While it’s clear that De Niro had Grace have a strong bond and support for their son, the couple nearly split less than three years after getting married. They initially called it quits on their marriage in 1999, but the divorce was never finalized. In 2004, De Niro and Hightower renewed their vows.

Helen De Niro

With their marriage back on track, De Niro and his wife made the decision to expand their family further. In 2011, the couple welcomed their daughter, Helen De Niro, via surrogate. Little is known about Helen, after all she is nearly 10 years old. But years after she was welcomed into the De Niro family, Helen’s parents officially made the decision to end their marriage. Grace and De Niro separated in 2018, and their divorce is very much still up in the air due to ongoing legal issues and more.

Gia Virginia Chen-De Niro

The Goodfellas actor was revealed to have welcomed a seventh child in an interview with ET Canada on May 9, 2023. “Seven, actually. I just had a baby,” he said.

Robert let CBS Mornings anchor Gayle King reveal details about his new baby on May 11. Gayle showed the first picture of Robert and Tiffany’s newborn daughter, named Gia Virginia Chen-De Niro. Gayle revealed that baby Gia was born April 6 and weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces. She said Robert and Tiffany “are over the moon” about their new baby.

The Killers of the Flower Moon star talked about how much he loves his youngest daughter in a new interview with Peoplepublished in February 2024. “She’s such an adorable baby. So sweet,” he said. “[When I] look at her, everything else goes away. So it’s a great joy and relief to just be with her in the moment.”

What Robert De Niro Has Said About His Children

Throughout his career, De Niro has rarely discussed his personal life. But during a June 2020 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the actor welcomed the opportunity to talk about his children and raising them over the course of the last few decades. “My children are all half Black and I don’t have, even me, I take certain things for granted,” the actor admitted to eponymous host, Jimmy Fallon.

“When people say that they tell their kids, ‘Keep your hands [out] when you’re stopped by any cops, keep your hands on the steering wheel, don’t make a sudden move, don’t put your hands below, don’t do this,’ you understand that,” he continued, adding, “That’s scary. That has to change.”

Along with revealing such details about watching his children navigate the world, he’s also been quite candid about how he feels when it comes to them following in his footsteps and pursuing a career in acting. “For my kids, I tell them, ‘If you want to be an actor or you want to do this or that, that’s fine as long as you’re happy,’” the actor told People. “Just don’t sell yourself short. That’s the most I would say — push yourself a little more and reach for what you really think it is you want to do. Don’t be afraid.” He was very adamant that he wanted this kids to “find their own lane.”

While he has been very reticent to discuss his children in the past, De Niro appears to be very supportive and love them very much — like any other involved parent. “I love my children, just being with them,” the actor gushed to Us Weekly April 2019. “It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s fun and you love your kids, and sometimes you want to kill them!” Like any parent, it’s clear that Robert De Niro’s relationships with his children have been totally unique, but also familiar for his longtime fans who might be parents, too.