Robert De Niro regrets not having an open relationship with his late father Robert De Niro Sr.
The 76-year-old actor admits his relationship with his dad – who split from his mother Virginia Admiral after he announced he was gay when De Niro Jr was two-years-old – was not what he hoped for as they never got together and discussed art or much beyond their family ties and if his parent was still alive he would aim to do things differently.
In an interview in British GQ magazine, De Niro explained: “He wouldn’t tell me thing about himself. We didn’t talk about certain things. Sometimes he would expound about something, here and there, but he wasn’t … he wasn’t that kind of a person.
“We didn’t have one discussion as father and son discussing art or anything like that. But probably a lot of fathers and sons don’t do that. We wish that they would and those are the regrets.”
‘The Irishman’ star confessed his difficult relationship with his father had an impact on his interactions with his own children – Raphael, 43, and Drena, 48, from his first marriage to Diahnne Abbott, twins Julian and Aaron, 24, with Toukie Smith, and Elliot, 11, and Helen, eight, with second wife Grace Hightower – as they also find it hard to talk openly.
He said: “I was just with one of my kids. They don’t want to ask you certain things. They don’t want to be bothered. They know possibly they should, but they don’t, and it’s uncomfortable, you know, and that’s how I was with my father.
“My dad would say, ‘Why don’t you do this and why don’t you do that? Why don’t you read (Charles) Baudelaire?’ I don’t know! If I was smart I should have said, ‘If you’re reading this, I should read it too.’ But I wasn’t.”
De Niro honoured his father – who died of cancer in 1993 – by making the 2014 documentary ‘Remembering The Artist: Robert De Niro Sr’ after he realised only his two eldest children knew anything about their paternal grandfather.
He confessed: “I wanted to do the documentary for my kids. And for my grandkids, so they would know who he was. I had kept his studio and have some Super 8 film. And so I thought I really have to do it before it’s too late, while his contemporaries and so on were still alive.”