Robert De Niro's lawyer says coronavirus has caused the actor financial strain

The legendary actor has stakes in businesses affected by the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has not only stopped Robert De Niro from working, but it's taken quite a bite of his paycheck as well.

In court, De Niro's estranged wife Grace Hightower asked for an emergency order for her husband, 76, to raise her monthly American Express credit card limit from $50,000 to $100,000, according to Page Six.

Hightower's lawyer told the judge that De Niro had cut her credit card limit from $100,000, also claiming that she and her two children have been banned from the actor's New York compound.

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Attorneys for De Niro said the actor has come under financial strain as the coronavirus pandemic has limited or halted business for the restaurant chain Nobu and Greenwich Hotel, of which, he has stakes in both, resulting in the cut to the credit card limit.

Robert De Niro and wife Grace Hightower have split and the actor has cut Hightower's credit card limit.

Robert De Niro and wife Grace Hightower have split and the actor has cut Hightower's credit card limit. (Getty)

Caroline Krauss, the lawyer for "The Irishman" star, claimed that Nobu lost $3 million in April and $1.87 in May.

He also recently had to pay investors $500,000 on a capital call. To make the payment, Krauss said that De Niro had to borrow money from business partners "because he doesn’t have the cash."

Additionally, Krauss cited the actor's prenuptial agreement with Hightower, which states that the actor owes his wife $1 million each year as long as he's making at least $15 million a year, and the spousal support will be adjusted proportionally should De Niro make less than $15 million.

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“His accounts and business manager ... says that the best case for Mr. De Niro, if everything starts to turn around this year, ... he is going to be lucky if he makes $7.5 million this year,” said Krauss.

De Niro is only expected to make about $2.5 million in 2020 and 2021 for "The Irishman," lawyers said, as most proceeds have already paid.

In that vein, the actor's latest movie project has been put on hold.

“These people, in spite of his robust earnings, have always spent more than he has earned so this 76-year-old robust man couldn’t retire even if he wanted to because he can’t afford to keep up with his lifestyle expense,” said Krauss said, claiming De Niro has been “dramatically" cutting his spending.

Robert De Niro claims that the coronavirus has dramatically impacted his income and he can no longer offer the same amount of spousal support. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Robert De Niro claims that the coronavirus has dramatically impacted his income and he can no longer offer the same amount of spousal support. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Hightower’s lawyer Kevin McDonough pushed back against the notion.

“Mr. De Niro has used the COVID pandemic, my words would be, to stick it to his wife financially,” said the attorney.

He added: "I’m not a believer that a man who has an admitted worth of $500 million and makes $30 million a year, all of a sudden in March he needs to cut down [spousal support] by 50 percent and ban her from the house."

The judge ruled that De Niro should maintain the $50,000 credit card limit, but pay Hightower $75,000 so that she and their two children can find a summer home.

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“$50,000 seems to be certainly enough to avoid irreparable harm," said Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper in his temporary ruling.

De Niro and Hightower first married in 1997 and have been on-again-off-again since then. They share two children: Elliot, 21, and Helen, 8.