When a beloved older celebrity’s name appears in a bunch of headlines alongside the phrase “age 79,” as Robert De Niro’s did on Tuesday, many people’s first reaction might be concern. But there is no cause for concern—not that kind, anyway—because these headlines weren’t about the end of life but rather the beginning of it: De Niro (at, yes, 79) is a new dad. Mazel tov to him! What a celebratory time for De Niro this must be. (His 1995 thriller Heat charted in Netflix’s Top 10 movies this week too.)
But perhaps you have questions, beyond the obvious one of why so many people are streaming an almost-30-year-old movie. Here, please enjoy my attempt to corral all the available information on this blessed bambino.
Who is the baby’s mother?
She is De Niro’s girlfriend, a martial arts instructor named Tiffany Chen. Some reports initially identified her as unknown, after news of the baby came out in a rather roundabout way. De Niro appeared on Entertainment Tonight Canada to promote his movie About My Father on Monday, and when a reporter asked about his six kids, he corrected her. “Seven, actually,” he said, adding, “I just had a baby.” It was quite the casual reveal.
What else do we know about the baby? What about its name, gender, or birthday?
We don’t know much, though Page Six shared photos of a pregnant Chen reportedly taken last month, so it sounds like we can narrow down the baby’s sign to Aries or Taurus.
How many children does Robert De Niro have?
This is his seventh, after Drena, 51, and Raphael, 46 (both with his first wife, Diahnne Abbott); twins Aaron and Julian, 27 (with his ex-girlfriend Toukie Smith); and Elliot, 25, and Helen, 11 (both with his second wife, Grace Hightower, from whom he split in 2018).
So, a 51-year-old and a 46-year-old have a new baby sibling?
Indeed they do. And at least one of the kids, Raphael, has children of his own, all of whom now have a new baby uncle (or aunt).
What else do we know about the baby’s mother?
The two are believed to have met while working on the delightful 2015 comedy The Intern! This frickin’ guy. I want to fall in love on the set of a Nancy Meyers movie! There are pictures of them doing tai chi for the movie together on Chen’s dad’s website. (He is also a martial arts instructor.)
Is this proof that De Niro must have some, er, robust genetics?
Though men’s sperm quality declines with age, they can still produce new sperm well into their dotage. Men in their 80s and 90s (and maybe even 100s) have fathered children, so De Niro certainly isn’t the first guy in his 70s to do it.
There are a lot of older fathers in Hollywood, aren’t there?
Yes, there are countless examples of celebrities who have fathered children in their 50s and 60s, from George Clooney to Alec Baldwin, but the numbers start to dwindle for dads in their 70s. Mick Jagger had a child at 73. Rupert Murdoch became a father to twins at 72. The actor Tony Randall had a kid at 78. Maybe it’s no wonder that someone has already gone to the trouble of adding De Niro to Wikipedia’s list of oldest fathers, in a pretty plum spot at that.
Does this mean that De Niro has wrested the title of “guy who is known for having a lot of kids” back from Nick Cannon?
Nick Cannon still easily beats De Niro for number of kids, but this is impressive in its own right, and Cannon will very likely find an opportunity to make a gross joke about the bond they share at his earliest convenience.
So, what’s the deal with the movie De Niro was promoting when he let this slip? Is this gonna be good promo for it?
About My Father comes out later this month and stars stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco. It sounds like basically the same movie as Meet the Parents, which has worked for De Niro before. My guess is it will be remembered mostly as a footnote for being the movie that indirectly brought us the information that De Niro is a new dad at 79.
Speaking of his movies, why is Heat so popular on Netflix these days?
It was just added to the platform this month, which, combined with Netflix’s algorithms, must have given it a lot of exposure to viewers. Appropriately for our purposes, it’s a good movie for dads especially, and crucially, dads of all ages.