Robert De Niro Hires Sex Providers Says Large British Newspaper
Robert De Niro threatened his on-off lover in bid to force her to abort
his secret 'daughter' during his cocaine-fuelled 1980s wild years - and
his 'method acting' inspired John Belushi to inject the drugs which killed
- De Niro started on-off
affair with Helena Springs when he followed her car down a Los
Angeles boulevard and asked her out to dinner
- She became pregnant
and he 'threatened and intimidated' her in bid to convince her to
abort their child
- Daughter, Nina, was
born in 1982 but when she sued for maintenance 10 years later tests
showed he was not the father
- New book reveals his
last night with John Belushi and how he cried a few hours later when
he was told of the comedian's 'speedball' overdose death
- Details private
partying and cocaine use by Oscar-winner who has become property
tycoon and one of Hollywood's wealthiest men
He was, it
seemed, an actor at the height of his powers: an Oscar for his part in
the Godfather, acclaim for Taxi Driver; New York, New York; and Raging
But in the
early 1980s Robert De Niro was also at war with demons which
threatened to consume him: cocaine, and womanizing.
Now a new book
reveals De Niro's appetite for the drug-fuelled partying which was to
kill his friend John Belushi, and how he wanted his lover to abort his
The book – De
Niro: A Life, by author Shawn Levy, is published by Crown Archetype on
down for video
Early success: De Niro films a scene in New York
for The Godfather Part II. The role of Vito Corleone, the Godfather's
father, was to prove a breakthrough and establish him, aged 29, as one
of acting's biggest talents
Marriage: De Niro was married to Diahnne Abbott
from 1976 until 1988 but throughout the marriage he was involved with
other women - as well as partying with Martin Scorsese and John
Belushi in California
Backing singer: Helena Springs performed in
support of a series of big names, including Elton John, but De Niro
met her when he pursed her car down a boulevard in Los Angeles and
asked for her phone number. They met for dinner, spent the night
together and began a non-exclusive affair
Defining role: 1976 saw De Niro play Travis
Bickle, the Vietnam veteran turned taxi driver. But behind the scenes
of the film he tried to seduce Cybill Shepard, then turned on her when
she rebuffed him, while treating Jodie Foster, the 13-year-old he saw
as a great acting talent, like 'a queen'
the torrid relationship which led to De Niro becoming a father for the
third time with Helena Springs, a young singer whom he met by
following her in his car down a boulevard in Los Angeles and demanding
her phone number.
relationship was torrid and not exclusive – and ended in acrimony when
she became pregnant.
reveals Levy, it was part of a pattern. 'There were always girls,
starting from the time that he’d left his mother’s house', writes
De Niro had
grown up in the bohemian New York scene in Greenwich Village, his
mother, Virginia Admiral - and known by that name after her brief
two-year marriage to Robert De Niro, Sr, was 'an independent
businesswoman' who also framed pictures and made jewelry.
Niro, Sr. was an artist and regarded as a peer of - although not as
successful as - Abstract Expressionist artists like Jackson Pollock,
Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. He was also bisexual.
growing up in Greenwich VIllage in a hotbed of artistic and cultural
change, the 1960s of flower power and Vietnam passed Bobby De Niro Jr
He played no
part in the counter-culture, did not drop acid and never protested the
learned how to be an actor and at the same time, pursued - and caught
- woman after woman.
met in classes, in productions in clubs, showbiz bars and they were
always gorgeous. ‘He picked these incredibly strong girls, top
chicks,’ film producer Jonathan Taplin remembered.
affairs came with big drama. ‘He’d fight with them all the time. They
would always be in tears the next morning and he would buy them some
None of the
relationships lasted very long because he was so committed to his work
ethic – along with his ‘thin skin and quick temper’.
One night, De
Niro was stood up by an actress he had invited to a Thanksgiving
dinner party thrown by Shelley Winters for her starving theatrical
Partying in private: A rare picture of De Niro
enjoying himself in public as he toasts his Oscar for the Godfather
Part II. Unlike other stars, he was discreet his enjoyment of drink
and drugs, making sure that partying was dne in private with trusted
Show of togetherness: Robert De Niro
photographed with his wife Diahnne Abbott in 1982, the year he was
cheating on her with Helena Springs. The couple were photographed in
Paris but De Niro's pursuit of women had been going on for many years
and they were to divorce in
Court battle: Ten years after giving birth,
Helena - by then married - went to court in Los Angeles to secure more
maintenance from De Niro. But there was a shock outcome when the court
ordered tests which showed that he was not in fact the father
De Niro’s date
floated in by the time they were having dessert and casually said:
‘Oh, hi Bobby…’
‘He went into
the bedroom and pounded the headboard with his fist. He was crying. He
never talked to her again,’ Shelley stated.
jealousy if he thought one of his girlfriends was getting too much
attention from another man. He was jealous and possessive.
A romance was
sparked between the actor and Sally Kirkland when they were studying
at the Actors Studio together in New York.
He had a
lingering affair with actress, model Carole Mallory, who was to become
Norman Mailer’s long-time lover.
beautiful women down the street in his car until they stopped and took
his phone number.
This was how
he met Helena Springs, a singer, by following her down San Vicente
Boulevard in Los Angeles in his convertible.
'I'd go fast,
he'd go fast. I'd slow down, he'd slow down. This asshole kept
following me. I didn't even know him. Finally he put his hands in a
prayer position and said, 'Pull over'. So I stopped and he said, 'Can
we have lunch?'
Springs, 22 at
the time, was a backing singer for Bob Dylan, Bette Midler and Elton
John. When she realized who this man was, she agreed to go to dinner
which led to spending the night together.
Gonzo comedian: John Belushi, pictured center
appearing on Saturday Night Live in March 1980, established himself as
one of the finniest and most outrageous comics of the early 1980s. But
he was also a ferocious partygoer, spending time with De Niro as they
shared a love of cocaine
West coast scene: Belushi fitted in at the Chateau
Marmont, where anything went and celebrities were regularly partying
with vast quantities of drugs. De Niro used it to play while he left his
wife at home
Tragic ending: On March 5 1982 John Belushi's body
was taken out of the Chateau Marmont. He had suffered a fatal overdose
when injecting a 'speedball' of heroin and cocaine. De Niro had been
with him the previous evening and cried when he was told of the death
Method acting: In his meticulous preparation for
the film Taxi Driver filmed in 1976, De Niro got his New York City hack
license and spent weekends driving a cab. Tragically, his method acting
was what John Belushi was inspired by when he took a fatal drug overdose
They fell into a
non-exclusive relationship over the next few year and Springs became
pregnancy, she aborted without telling the actor. In late 1981, pregnant
again, she now wanted this baby and when she told De Niro, that set him
off 'on what she described as a series of ugly and intimidating
conversations and encounters aimed at getting her to terminate the
'It was mental
abuse,' Springs said, and went ahead with her plans to carry the baby.
She gave birth
to a baby girl on July 1, 1982, named Nina. Springs stated that the
actor gave her $50,000 to help with the baby's care and even help her
set up the baby's room but that was it.
'He drew the
line at providing her with his medical history or a blood sample,
fearing that she didn't merely want to be able to fill in the gaps in
the baby's medical records, as she said, but rather that she was after
more money,' writes Levy.
Springs did not
pursue De Niro's help further because of her own low self-esteem.
'Black women are
used to being courted by handsome, famous, rich white guys. So they
don't say no to whatever the man wants,' she said.
The truth is, Bobby treated people badly if he decided
they weren’t up to snuff
Film director Peter Bogdanovich
De Niro wouldn’t
see the baby for three years. But it wasn't the last word from Helena.
In August 1992,
De Niro received a letter from Marvin Mitchelson, celebrity lawyers to
the stars in Hollywood .
Springs was now
Helena Lisandrello and wanted the star of 'Raging Bull' and 'Godfather'
to pay child support for his daughter, now ten years old.
finally submitted to that blood test which showed him not to be the
he owed the child money because he had told Nina he was her father. De
Niro no longer contributed to Nina's upbringing after 1992.
relationship with Springs was not the end of his womanizing – or his
anger towards those women with whom he came into conflict.
It had long been
an issue. When Cybill Shepard came to New York to prepare for acting in
Taxi Driver, De Niro agreed to work with her for several days at the St.
Regis Hotel hoping to improve her acting skills.
‘There was an
enormous amount of chemistry between De Niro and me’, Cybill stated. ‘We
didn’t act on it… De Niro asked me out. It was a great compliment. Years
later I said, ‘Can you believe I turned him down?’
Peter Bogdanovich, who fell in love with Cybill, claimed that De Niro
developed a loathing for Shepherd after she rejected him.
Cybill like a pile of dogs***’. ‘It was horrendous to watch. The truth
is, Bobby treated people badly if he decided they weren’t up to snuff.’
De Niro was too
obvious with his frustration with the actress cringing at her line
readings. But he treated Jodie Foster, only 13 at the time, like a
De Niro sought
his own sources of praise and attention, making friends with film
director Martin Scorsese to work on the film 'Mean Streets', in the
early 1970s after seeing him around his New York neighborhood for years.
He swallowed the
director up in his need for constant attention and need to talk about
his character for ten hours non-stop.
DeNiro became good friends and understood each other. But they also both
Family: De Niro's father, Robert snr, was an
abstract expressionist painter who counted Willem de Kooning and Mark
Rothko among his friends. Bisexual, he separated from De Niro's mother
but was close to his son
At work: Robert De Niro Sr. with the German-born
American abstract expressionist artist Josef Albers who was greatly
influential with his study of color theory and his teachings from the
Bauhaus, the notable school of art, architecture and design in Weimar,
Family link: Robert De Niro and his current wife,
Grace Hightower, pictured in front of one of his father's works as he
announced the Robert De Niro Sr. Prize for mid-career American artists.
The prize reflects his closeness to his father
Both he and De
Niro were partying with cocaine and De Niro was living between New York
and Hollywood, keeping his wife, Diahnne Abbott in a house in Brentwood
while he stayed at the Chateau Marmont - the fabled hotel on Sunset
Boulevard, populated by celebrities and where anything went.
There he was to
become involved in a scene which ended in the tragedy of John Belushi’s
death from drugs.
unlikely pair, the gonzo comedian and De Niro were spending time
together in a cocaine-fueled haze in the early 1980s in New York and Los
They both loved
the late nightlife, Marlon Brando movies - and cocaine.
In New York, De
Niro visited Belushi at his downtown apartment where the pair partied.
In Los Angeles, the meeting ground was Belushi was ensconced in a
bungalow for the ultimate wild partying privacy and De Niro in a suite
in the hotel’s main building where he carried on his own partying with
several women, alcohol and cocaine.
telephoned Belushi on the night of March 4th, 1982, to join him and
actor pal Harry Dean Stanton at On the Rox, an infamous nightclub on the
Sunset Strip where the best musicians drifted through and played in the
company of boozing movie stars and celebrities.
night was imitating De Niro’s ‘famed technique of immersing himself
completely in his roles’.
CHATEAU MARMONT: THE
HOLLYWOOD PARTY PALACE
opened its doors in 1929, the Chateau Marmont promised apartments
with 'quiet and privacy'.
years later, struck by the Depression, it became a hotel - and
started offering only one of those qualities: privacy.
Columbia Pictures' founder Harry Cohn offered pithy advice to his
stars: 'If you must get into trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.'
spent weeks locked in seclusion in its rooms, Errol Flynn brought
each of his wives to it and Led Zeppelin rode their motorcycles in
1980s it was known as the place to do drugs with discretion in
Hollywood. If the hotel was not sufficiently discreet, the cottages
and bungalows in its grounds were on offer.
It was in
Bungalow Three that John Belushi died from a 'speedball' - a
combination of heroin and cocaine which injected into his arm.
shocked the public but hardly surprised those who knew what was
happening behind the mock-French exterior.
response was simple: it increased security in case his death
attracted more gatecrashers.
played edgy movie roles, obsessively studying the character he would
play until he became the character – from the Vietnam Vet Travis Bickle
in Taxi Driver, the madman Max Cady in Cape Fear, boxing champ Jake
LaMotta in Raging Bull, Michael, the leader of the three ex-war vets in
The Deer Hunter, gangster Al Capone in The Untouchables.
simply following his friend’s method: the comedian wanted to play a punk
rock musician in a new movie and needed to know what heroin, favored by
punk rockers, was all about. He was rehearsing the scene when he
answer, Harry Dean and De Niro checked out Belushi’s bungalow and found
him loaded on heroin and cocaine in the company of Cathy Smith, a woman
who drifted through the music business and lives of musicians.
suggested De Niro come back after On the Rox had closed.
That would be
the last time De Niro would see his friend alive.
When he couldn’t
reach him through the hotel switchboard in the morning, the hotel
manager told him, ‘There is a problem. It is bad. It’s really bad’.
DeNiro started to cry.
It was all over
the media that De Niro had been with Belushi earlier in the evening but
he wasn’t the only one.
was appearing at the Comedy Store, the daddy of all the comedy stages,
and he was looking for De Niro and Belushi for late night playtime.
He found De Niro
in his hotel room but occupied with women so Robin visited Belushi
alone, ‘He, too was creeped out by Smith and by the depressing and even
sinister vibe in the room’ but hung out for a while before
De Niro made
another late visit to the bungalow, ‘let himself in, helped himself to a
little bit of the cocaine displayed on a table, and left again’.
De Niro was
subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury after Belushi’s death but was
on location in Italy and gave his testimony over the telephone.
Family: De Niro and his wife Grace Hightower at
the opening night of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, which he founded.
His property empire around southern Manhattan has made him worth an
estimated $350 million
Red carpet: Robert De Niro on the red carpet at
2013's Oscars with his wife Grace Hightower. He now says that it is not
acting acclaim but having his six children around him which makes hi
In Rome, he
immersed himself right back into his movie role and his life rolled on.
His taste for
partying was unchanged but he liked to do it in private and was rumoured
to be involved with Bette Midler and Nicaraguan film and television
actress Barbara Carrera while still married to actress Diahnne Abbott
who preferred partying publicly in clubs. That marriage fell apart in
affairs and romances, the actor married actress Grace Hightower in 1997
and despite separations, the couple have been able to keep the marriage
At the same
time, he has become exceptionally wealthy even by Hollywood’s standards:
he has amassed a real estate empire around southern Manhattan, with his
net worth estimated to be some $310 million in 2014.
hotel, apartment buildings and the Tribeca Film Festival are among his
property and business empire.