Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro is widely acknowledged as one of Hollywood’s greatest actors, but few are aware that his late father was a gay man.

Robert De Niro SR, an abstract expressionist painter and sculptor, left his wife and De Niro’s mother, Virginia Admiral, when he came to realise that he was gay.

The acting legend addresses his relationship with his father in a new documentary film, called Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr., which will be broadcast by HBO next month.

In an interview with Out magazine, De Niro agreed that his father, who died in 1993, was likely conflicted about his homosexuality.

“Yeah, he probably was, being from that generation, especially from a small town upstate. I was not aware, much, of it,” said De Niro.

He added: “I wish we had spoken about it much more. My mother didn’t want to talk about things in general, and you’re not interested when you’re a certain age.”

Said the star: “We were not the type of father and son who played baseball together, as you can surmise. But we had a connection. I wasn’t with him a lot, because my mother and he were separated and divorced…

“He was absent in some ways. He was very loving. He adored me … as I do my kids.”

When asked why he hasn’t appeared in any gay themed films, like some of his contemporaries, such as Al Pacino, have, De Niro insisted that he never purposely shied away from them.

“…they weren’t offered to me. If they had been offered to me by a good director, that’s something I would have considered,” he explained.

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