Robert De Niro has broken his silence for the first time after it was revealed he had split from wife Grace Hightower.

Last week it was reported the Hollywood actor, 75, and his wife of 20 years Grace, 63, had been living apart for some time.

Confirming the split on Tuesday, he said in a statement that it has been a “difficult but constructive process”.

The actor shared: “Grace and I have two beautiful children together.

“We are entering a period of transition in our relationship which is a difficult but constructive process.”

He added in a statement to CNN : “I honour Grace as a wonderful mother and ask for privacy and respect from all as we proceed to develop our roles as partners in parenting.”

The couple married in 1997 after they met while Grace was working as a hostess at a Mr. Chow restaurant. It was De Niro’s second marriage.

They share two children Elliott, 20, and Helen Grace, six.

De Niro, one of America’s most respected actors and winner of two Oscars, has tended to keep his family and his private life out of the spotlight.

He made headlines last month when he was among a slew of critics of President Donald Trump who were sent crude pipe bombs in the mail.

None of the devices exploded and a Florida man was arrested and is awaiting trial.

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