Grace Hightower

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Grace Hightower
Grace Hightower 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Hightower attending the premiere of The Union at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
Bornc. 1955 (age 64–65)
Mississippi, United States
OccupationPhilanthropist, socialite, actress, singer, flight attendant
Years active1994–present
(m. 1997; separated 2018)

Grace Hightower De Niro (born April 7, 1955) is an American philanthropist, socialite, actress, and singer. She married Robert De Niro in 1997, and they separated in 2018.


As a philanthropist, Hightower launched Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda in 2013 with the mission of improving Rwandan livelihoods by marketing their products internationally. She is a board member of the New York Women's Foundation and the New York Fund for Public Schools as well as a member of Ronald Perelman's Women's Heart Health Advisory Council and the International Women's Coffee Alliance. Hightower has been honored for her work by numerous institutions including the American Cancer Society of New York City.

As a socialite, Hightower's gala 55th birthday party was covered in Vogue magazine by André Leon Talley.[1] In 2010, she presented the Pratt Institute's Creative Spirit Award to director Lee Daniels.[2]

As an actress, Hightower has had minor roles in various movies including Precious (2009) and The Paperboy (2012). Additionally, she had a minor part in the ABC TV series, NYPD Blue, in the 1994 Season One episode entitled "Zeppo Marks Brothers".

As a singer, she performed the lead vocals for the track, "Somethin's Comin' My Way", written by Dan Manjovi for the 2009 Precious movie soundtrack.

Personal life[edit]

Hightower is of African-American and Blackfoot descent and was raised in Kilmichael, Mississippi. She grew up in poverty, and worked various odd jobs to help support her family. Hightower became a flight attendant for Trans World Airlines, attracted by the possibility of traveling and expanding her horizons. Settling in Paris and later London, she worked variously as a mutual fund trader and restaurant worker. In 1987, while working at Mr. Chow, an upscale London Chinese restaurant and celebrity hangout, she met and began dating Robert De Niro.[3]

Hightower and De Niro married in 1997.[3] In 1998, at the age of 42, she gave birth to the couple's first child. De Niro filed for divorce in 1999 and sued Hightower for custody of their son in 2001. However, the two resolved their differences, and by 2004 the divorce was dropped and they renewed their vows.[4] In 2011 the couple had their second child, via surrogate. The couple separated in November 2018.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 Brotherhood Cris Fan Film
2009 Precious Socialworker
2012 The Paperboy Yardley's Girlfriend
2017 Unspoken: Diary of an Assassin


Year Title Role Notes
1994 NYPD Blue E.S.U. Woman Episode: "Zeppo Marks Brothers"


  1. ^ André Leon Talley "Grace Hightower's Birthday Party" Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine, Vogue, April 8, 2010, Retrieved December 18, 2010
  2. ^ "20th Anniversary of Black Alumni of Pratt: A Celebration of the Creative Spirit", Events, Black Tie International, May 26, 2010
  3. ^ a b Stein, Joshua David (July 17, 2013). "Grace Hightower De Niro: The TriBeCa-Rwanda Connection". The New York Times. Ms. Hightower, 58.... I grew up in Kilmichael, Mississippi...
  4. ^ Todd Peterson "De Niro, Wife Renew Wedding Vows", People, November 22, 2004; Retrieved December 18, 2010
  5. ^ "Robert De Niro Splits from Wife Grace Hightower After Over 20 Years of Marriage". People. November 20, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2018.

External links[edit]