Robert De Niro and ex ignore each other during court hearing

© Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower attend the Tribeca Film Festival opening night world premiere of, Mark Gray

Robert De Niro and his estranged wife, Grace Hightower, were essentially nonexistent to each other during a court hearing about their divorce and custody of their 7-year-old daughter.


Page Six reported that the feuding duo was in court on Thursday and "spent the morning avoiding eye contact and thumbing through newspapers" while their attorneys met behind closed doors to try and hammer out a deal.

The legal teams met for a half-hour before emerging and speaking to their clients.

De Niro, Page Six said, "spoke animatedly" and fairly loudly with his team in the courtroom before they later reconvened in a nearby room for more privacy.

The duo has tried to keep their split and custody battle quiet, even filing their divorce under the names "Anonymous v. Anonymous." In 2006, an appeals court said the anonymous captions should be used "sparingly" and to protect the "health and welfare" of children.

The famed actor filed for divorce from Grace in mid-December 2018. In the filing, Robert asked a judge for visitation with his daughter, Helen Grace, whom he and Grace welcomed via a surrogate in 2011.

Page Six reported last November that Robert and his wife of more than 20 years were calling it quits.

"They are not living together at this time," one pal said. Another added, "De Niro and Grace are breaking up. He's been at a few things since the very end of the summer without her -- and rumor has it they are done."

The duo, who tied the knot in 1997 after 10 years of coupledom, came close to throwing in the towel once before: The actor filed for divorce back in 1999. But the pair, who also have a 20-year-old son, reconciled and renewed their wedding vows in 2004.

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