Robert De Niro has quietly filed for divorce from his philanthropist wife of 20 years — and the two are waging a secret custody battle over the 7-year-old girl they had through a surrogate, The Post has learned.
De Niro filed for divorce from Grace Hightower on Dec. 13 in Manhattan Supreme Court, according to sources.
The “Raging Bull” actor kept the divorce filing quiet by securing a coveted “Anonymous v. Anonymous” caption on the case, records show.
A 2006 appeals court ruling says the anonymous captions should be used “sparingly” and to protect the “health and welfare” of children.
De Niro, 75, requested the hush-hush handling of his suit and Hightower, 63, didn’t object, records show. Justice Matthew Cooper granted the request on Dec. 17.
De Niro asked a judge for visitation with his daughter, Helen Grace, the same day he filed for divorce.
The former couple is due in court for the first time next week on the custody matter. They announced their daughter’s birth in December 2011, but kept details about the surrogacy private.
This is their second time in divorce court.
De Niro first filed for a split in 1999 — just two years into their marriage. At the time they were fighting over custody of their now-20-year-old son, Elliot.
They later reconciled and renewed their vows in 2004, but a source told Page Six last year that this separation is permanent.
“Rumor has it they are done,” the source said.