NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30: Actor Robert De Niro (L) and Grace Hightower attend the 45th Chaplin Award Gala at the Alice Tully Hall on April 30, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Robert De Niro has broken his silence on reports that he’s separating from Grace Hightower after more than 20 years of marriage.

This month multiple outlets reported that the two, who tied the knot in 1997, no longer live together and have gone their separate ways. While the actor has not specified their status, he is now speaking out about the “difficult but constructive” moment in their relationship.

“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,” a representative for the actor told HuffPost in a statement. “I honor Grace as a wonderful mother and ask for privacy and respect from all as we proceed to develop our roles as partners in parenting.”

De Niro and Hightower, a former flight attendant and hostess, share two children — Elliot, 20, and Helen, 6, who was welcomed via a surrogate. The Oscar winner has four other children from previous marriages.

The pair first met in 1987 while Hightower was working as a waitress in London’s Mr. Chow restaurant, where De Niro was a customer, and they began dating shortly after. They previously called it quits after two years of marriage, with the “Raging Bull” actor even filing for divorce. They later reconciled and renewed their vows in 2004.

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