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Robert Deniro’s marital woes in movies like Raging Bull (1980) and Casino (1995) may have bled into his real life, but not in the same fashion. His divorce to his estranged wife, Grace Hightower, is currently in the processing stage. But what does it mean for an actor who is worth an estimated half a billion dollars? Already divorced once to Diahnne Abbot, Deniro then married Hightower and had been separated in the early 2000s and reconciled up to this point.
This paints a portrait of the classic Hollywood divorce, on one level. It’s not the "get married and divorced in three weeks" kind of setup, but one where the Hollywood star (usually a man) must offer up his fortune to someone who witnessed them rise up through the industry all the way to the bitter end. Marriages are supposed to be enchanting moments strung together on the line of time. But sometimes toxicity enters the relationship and poisons the entire situation. For Deniro, he must face the possibility of giving up either hundreds of millions of dollars or according to his lawyer in the New York Daily News, “a $6 million apartment, $500,000 cash, $1 million a year and half the value of their marital residence.” Hightower seems to be poised to be among a host of women who have divorced their wealthy spouses for great riches. If one were to calculate the wealth turned over to spouses from Paul McCartney, Bob Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Jeff Bezos, (to list a few) the total would register in the tens of billions of dollars. So, why get married? Does one have to set up shop at the altar only to see a union collapse and bank accounts drained? Marriage ought to be about the supreme value that two people share with one another. It should be a non-contradictory, completely honest and rational coming together of their minds and bodies.
What the aforementioned men saw was their wealth being sucked away because of various reasons. But is that what is intended when they first saw their partner? Deniro will stand as the latest in a long line of former husbands who have produced large amounts of riches and have to fight in law courts. All of the laughter and smiles and goodwill shared by the couples turned sour and the love was gone. Every moment that they shared through the prism of trying to make the nuptials work, the house built on quicksand sank into the ground. Divorce is possibly the best way out of mild disagreements and definitely a proper form of exit for a physically abusive relationship. (No reports have surfaced regarding any of this conduct by Deniro and Hightower.) Divorce can mean that two people just differed in their system of values. It is a moral imperative for spouses to come to an agreement based on rational essentials and principles not on trivial matters. If the spouse has engaged in extramarital affairs, (again, not related to Deniro or Hightower), the innocent party should also take the funds from that offending partner. While it may be hard to take, especially for children cognizant of what the term means, divorce can illustrate that the two people who once valued one another no longer see the other in the same way.
The ending of a marriage can signal change, prosperity, and growth. The fact that money must come into the equation only complicates things if business is not handled correctly. For Deniro and Hightower it appears that they might still be at the least associates if not friends. One relationship will end while another one may blossom. This couple has split twice already. Will the third time be what works in the end?