Washington D.C.: The coronavirus dealt a massive financial blow to veteran Hollywood actor Robert De Niro's finances his lawyer revealed in court, as his estranged wife Grace Hightower asked for an emergency order to raise her monthly American Express card credit limit from $50,000 to $100,000.
According to Page Six, Hightower's lawyer told the judge that De Niro had cut her credit card limit from USD 100,000, and also claimed that she and her two children have been banned from the actor's New York compound.
Attorneys for De Niro said the actor has come under financial strain as the coronavirus pandemic has limited or halted business for the restaurant chain Nobu and Greenwich Hotel, of which, he has stakes in both, resulting in the cut to the credit card limit.
The 'The Irishman' star's lawyer Caroline Krauss claimed that Nobu lost USD 3 million in April and USD 1.87 in May.
He also recently had to pay investors USD 500,000 on a capital call. To make the payment, Krauss said that De Niro had to borrow money from business partners "because he doesn't have the cash." Additionally, Krauss cited the actor's prenuptial agreement with his estranged wife, which states that the actor owes his wife USD 1 million each year as long as he's making at least USD 15 million a year, and the spousal support will be adjusted proportionally should De Niro make less than USD 15 million.
"His accounts and business manager ... says that the best case for Mr De Niro, if everything starts to turn around this year, ... he is going to be lucky if he makes 7.5 million USD this year," said Krauss.
De Niro is only expected to make about 2.5 million USD in 2020 and 2021 for 'The Irishman,' lawyers said, as most proceeds have already been paid.
And, the actor's latest movie project has been put on hold.
Krauss said, "These people, in spite of his robust earnings, have always spent more than he has earned so this 76-year-old robust man couldn't retire even if he wanted to because he can't afford to keep up with his lifestyle expense," claiming De Niro has been "dramatically" cutting his spending.
Hightower's lawyer Kevin McDonough fired back, "Mr De Niro has used the COVID pandemic, my words would be, to stick it to his wife financially".
McDonough added: "I'm not a believer that a man who has an admitted worth of 500 million USD and makes 30 million USD a year, all of a sudden in March he needs to cut down [spousal support] by 50 per cent and ban her from the house." The judge ruled that De Niro should maintain the 50,000 USD credit card limit, but pay Hightower 75,000 USD so that she and their two children can find a summer home.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper in his temporary ruling, said, "50,000 USD seems to be certainly enough to avoid irreparable harm." De Niro -- who had been with Hightower on-and-off since 1997 -- filed for divorce from her in 2018. The pair divorced in 1999 and patched things up again in 2004. They share two children: 21-year-old Elliot and 8-year-old Helen.