Robert De Niro opens about raising biracial children: ‘I take certain things for granted’

The Italian-American actor worries about his six children in a world where racism still runs rampant.

Robert De Niro attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Diehard fans of Robert De Niro know he has a long history of dating and marrying Black women. Now the Hollywood veteran is opening up about what it’s like raising his six biracial children in this current social climate.

“My children are all half-Black and I don’t have, even me, I take certain things for granted,” De Niro admitted Wednesday evening while talking about his family during a virtual appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

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In addition to acknowledging his privilege as a white man and all the opportunities it affords him, he realizes that his children may not be privy to the same.

“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 explained, adding, “That’s scary. That has to change.”

In reference to the stunning death of George Floyd during an arrest by Minneapolis police that led to protests nationwide and abroad, he opined, “Anybody who hurts another person for no reason other than self-defense or the defense of other people around shouldn’t be doing that job.”

De Niro’s children include his daughter, Drena, 48, and son, Raphael, 44, with his first wife, Diahnne Abbott. He also has twin sons, Julian and Aaron, 24, with model Toukie Smith, and son Elliot, 22, and daughter, Helen, 8, with his ex-wife, Grace Hightower.

Now 76, the two-time Oscar winner has directed two movies The Good Shepherd and A Bronx Tale. He was last seen in the Oscar-nominated 2019 film The Irishman.

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