As Robert De Niro welcomes 7th child at 79, we chart the older celebrity dads' club

·9-min read

Watch: Robert De Niro talks about surprise new baby and it never gets easier

Robert De Niro has revealed he has welcomed his seventh child.

The 79-year-old Oscar-winning actor shared the news during a recent interview with ET Canada about his forthcoming film About My Father.

Asked about being a father-of-six, he corrected the reporter, saying: “Seven, actually … I just had a baby.”

Representatives for De Niro later confirmed the happy news to PA news agency.

Asked about his experiences of fatherhood, De Niro told ET Canada: ”I don’t think I’ve ever been a cool father.

“I’m OK. My kids disagree with me at times, they’re respectful.

“My daughter is 11 and she gives me grief sometimes and I argue with her and adore her.”

He added: “With my youngest now there will be more to come but that’s, you know – that’s what it is.”

The 79-year-old actor already has adopted daughter Drena, 51, and sons Raphael, 46, and 27-year-old twins Julian and Aaron with ex-wife Diahnne Abbott, as well as Elliot, 24, and 11-year-old Helen with second former spouse Grace Hightower.

Read more: Couple ‘unschool’ their children, don't believe in medicines and let their kids make all the decisions

Robert De Niro has welcomed another child at the age of 79. (Getty Images)
Robert De Niro has welcomed another child at the age of 79. (Getty Images)

De Niro certainly isn't the oldest celebrity to be changing nappies in his senior years with Bernie Ecclestone recently having his fourth child at the grand age of 89.

The former Formula One boss and his wife, Fabiana Flosi, 44, welcomed a son.

“We have a son named Ace. I am so proud,” he told Blick magazine about the new arrival.

Ecclestone already has three daughters with his previous partners.

His eldest, Deborah, 65, was born to his first wife Ivy Bamford before welcoming Tamara, 35, and Petra, 31, with his second wife Slavica Radic.

The dad also already has five grandchildren.

De Niro and Ecclestone aren't the only stars to join the older dads’ club.

Sure it might be more common for men of a certain age to be new grandfathers than new dads, but that hasn’t stopped a whole host of celebrity men embracing fatherhood in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even, like Ecclestone, their 80s.

Bernie Ecclestone has become a father again at the age of 89. (Getty Images)
Bernie Ecclestone has become a father again at the age of 89. (Getty Images)

The pros and cons of older fatherhood

According to parenting specialist Kirsty Ketley, there are actually some things to keep in mind if, like Robert De Niro, you are embarking on an older fatherhood journey, including the fact that you may miss out on your child growing up.

"This can be hard for your child to accept, that you chose to have them, knowing that you would miss out on lots of memories and milestones," she explains.

Of course, there is also the issue that the son or daughter of an older dad is more likely to face the death of a parent younger than other children would expect to.

“That could happen in the young teenage years which can be extremely difficult to cope with," explains Rachel FitzD, parenting expert at The Baby Show.

"Also, before that mortality hits, the child may more often have to do more caring," she continues. "They might be dealing with an elderly father whose sight is failing, who is very hard of hearing, or whose health is getting worse and that can sometimes feel like a burden while all your friends are out playing football and having fun with their dads.”

Read more: Is drinking alcohol when responsible for a child OK?

Parenting at an older age may also be physically harder.

"This could mean that there will be things you can't do with your child which may be hard for both of you," Ketley explains.

"Emotionally you may find it harder to navigate the baby days, toddlerhood, tween and teen stages," she continues.

"Your child could feel embarrassed to have an older father when comparing themselves to their peers and their friends could remark that they have an 'old' dad, or tease them for it, making them feel self-conscious."

There can be some positives to having a child later. (Getty Images)
There can be some positives to having a child later. (Getty Images)

When it comes to having a later than average parent/child age gap, FitzD says it can sometimes be tricky to relate to one another.

"Whilst there’s no doubt that children have really special relationships with their grandparents, we’re not talking about grandparents, this is about a child/parent relationship," she explains. "It can be difficult for a child to relate to their parent, and talk about their lives, their technology or bands they like with someone who is so much older than them."

But despite some people remaining skeptical about older fatherhood, there are also some plus points to being a more mature dad, including potentially having more time to spend with your child, which other, younger, fathers may miss out on.

"If, like Robert De Niro, this isn't your first child, you will also have plenty of experience and therefore feel more at ease with your child benefitting from a more calm, relaxed parent," Ketley adds.

"Having more life experience can also help, more knowledge and wisdom to impart to your child and potentially more patience, i.e. not sweating the small things.

"Again, a benefit to your child."

Read more: Physical play with dads could help children control their emotions

Other celebrity dads who were late to the parenting party

Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen, 54, became a father for a second and third time in his 50s after welcoming two children with his girlfriend Anna Lundberg, 27.

Sharing a sweet snap to Instagram of the couple's most recent arrival holding his finger in May last year, the proud dad captioned the post: "And just like that....there was another monkey jumping on the bed."

The Twilight actor is already father to a 24-year-old daughter, Lily Mo, whom he shares with actor and former girlfriend Kate Beckinsale.

Simon Cowell

It’s safe to say the world was pretty surprised when news broke that Simon Cowell was expecting his first child at 54.

The media mogul welcomed his first son, Eric, with partner Lauren Silverman back in 2014. And despite being in his seventh decade, the 63-year-old hasn’t ruled out the idea of adding to his brood.

Hugh Grant

At 51, Hugh Grant swapped bachelorhood for babyhood after becoming a first-time father to daughter, Tabitha, now 11, in September 2011 with his then on-off girlfriend Tinglan Hong.

Son Felix came along two years later. He may have been late to fatherhood, but Hugh has since become a dab hand and, at 62, is now a father-of-five after welcoming three more children with wife Anna Eberstein.

Cooing over his kids on the Ellen Degeneres Show, Grant said: “It changes your life. Now that I have a child, it is life-changing. I recommend it. Get some!”

Read more: David Beckham, Barack Obama and Gordon Ramsay top hottest celebrity dads list

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin hasn't let being in his sixties put him off adding to his brood. The actor, 65, and his wife Hilaria Baldwin share seven children together, having recently welcomed their youngest daughter Ilaria Catalina Irena in September 2022.

The couple's other children include – Carmen, nine, Rafael Thomas, eight, Leonardo, six, and Romeo, four, Euduardo, two, Lucia, two, Maria Lucia, also two (born via surrogate) and Ilaria, eight months. Baldwin also has a 27-year-old daughter, Ireland, with ex-wife Kim Basinger.

George Clooney

George Clooney, now 62, had only just blown out the candles on his 56th birthday cake when he welcomed twins Ella and Alexander with wife Amal Clooney in 2017.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis, now 68, is totally out-daughtered, that’s for sure. His eldest girls Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah, who he shares with ex-wife Demi Moore, are all now adults, but the Die Hard actor wasn’t ready to give up the nappy changing and welcomed a third daughter, Mabel Ray, at the age of 57.

Two years later, he and wife Emma Heming had another daughter, Evelyn Penn.

Jeff Goldblum

Jurassic World star, Jeff Goldblum, now 70, became a first-time father at 62 when he and wife Emilie Livingston welcomed a son Charlie Ocean in 2015.

Undeterred by being an older father, the couple went on to have another son, River Joe, in 2017.

Chris Noth

Sex and the City and The Good Wife star Chris Noth, now 68, was 53 when he became a dad for the first time after welcoming a son, Orion in 2008, with partner Tara Lynn Wilson.

When discussing his late entrance to fatherhood, the actor claims he simply wasn’t ready before. Fair enough.

Sir Elton John

Elton John, 76, was already well into his sixties when became a father for the first time, welcoming Zachary in 2011 via a surrogate with husband David Furnish. The couple became parents for a second time round to Elijah in 2013. Elton loves dad life so much he said he “regrets it a little bit not starting sooner”.

Mick Jagger

Papa is a Rolling Stone... Mick Jagger, now 79, welcomed his eighth child in December 2017 at the grand age of 73.

His son, Deveraux Octavian Basil, whom he shares with girlfriend Melanie Hamrick, joins Jagger’s three older sons, James, Gabriel, Lucas and daughters Karis, Jade, Elizabeth and Georgia May. Believe it or not, the frontman also has five grandchildren and even became a great-grandfather in May 2014.

Ronnie Wood

Joining his bandmate, Rolling Stones legend Ronnie Wood, 75, also had a child late in life. He and his wife Sally Humphreys, who is 31 years his junior, saw twin girls join the clan just two days before his 69th birthday. Wood also has four adult children from previous relationships.

Rod Stewart

There must be something about rock stars having babies in later life. Just after Rod Stewart welcomed his youngest, son Aiden, at the age of 66 in 2011, his daughter, Kimberly, made him a grandfather.

Anton Du Beke

In 2020, Anton Du Beke, now 56, opened up about the “gruelling” IVF process he and his wife went through before the birth of their twins .

The couple welcomed twins, George and Henrietta, in March 2017, when the Strictly Come Dancing professional was 50 and has discussed the fertility journey his wife Hannah endured for them to start their family.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood, now 92, was also 66 when he had his seventh child, Morgan, with his second wife Dina Ruiz. Morgan Eastwood is now 26.

Paul McCartney

The former Beatles singer, fathered daughter Beatrice with ex-wife Heather Mills when he was 61.