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Robert De Niro Makes First Big Public Appearance Since His Messy Split From Wife

Robert DeNiro Honored At Film Festival Amid Divorce
Source: Getty Images

Dec. 2 2018, Updated 10:15 p.m. ET

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Robert De Niro recently split from his wife Grace Hightower after 20 years together, and on Saturday night, the Raging Bull icon went to accept an award all alone.

As Variety reported, De Niro was tearful as he accepted his honorary "tribute" award at the Marrakech Film Festival on Saturday, December 1.

De Niro's longtime friend and directors Marin Scorsese presented the award and the actor took to the stage to call him, "one of the greatest blessings of my life."

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The liberal Casino star, 75, couldn't resist also talking politics from the podium, adding, "Look at us here tonight we're enjoying films from 29 countries; we're united in our love for films and our common humanity."

But De Niro's own life appears to be in shambles as RadarOnline.com recently learned that his 62-year-old wife Hightower's overspending hurt their marriage.

A source told Page Six recently, "They are not living together at this time. De Niro and Grace are breaking up."

A Radar source then revealed, "He's telling people she's been spending like crazy."

But on Saturday, De Niro put on a brave face as he attended the Marrakech event by himself.

Scroll through Radar's gallery for more on De Niro's personal appearance and marriage trouble.

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Robert DeNiro Honored At Film Festival Amid Divorce
Source: INSTAR IMAGES

Frequent De Niro director Scorsese introduced a tribute to the acting icon in a speech in Marrakech, citing his "amazing body of work" and sharing numerous movie clips.

Robert DeNiro Honored At Film Festival Amid Divorce
Source: INSTAR IMAGES

Scorsese said De Niro had the "uncanny ability to get the viewer to empathize with some really horrific characters" and draw the viewer "to the humanity inside the monster. Bob was in eight of my first 15 non-documentary features and we took on some pretty rough subjects in those pictures and Bob played some tough characters — psychopaths, sociopaths, every kind of paths you can think of (…) and he always conveys the audience not to judge."

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Robert DeNiro Honored At Film Festival Amid Divorce
Source: INSTAR IMAGES

De Niro got a rock star welcome in Marrakech and was so delighted he signed some autographs. But behind the scenes, the often gruff actor is said to have split from wife Hightower over her high-living ways.

Robert DeNiro Honored At Film Festival Amid Divorce
Source: INSTAR IMAGES

De Niro's wife was shocked by their breakup, RadarOnline.com exclusively learned.

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Robert DeNiro Honored At Film Festival Amid Divorce
Source: INSTAR IMAGES

A source recently told Radar that the split was De Niro's idea, saying, "She was blindsided. As of a few weeks ago, everything seemed fine."

Robert DeNiro Honored At Film Festival Amid Divorce
Source: INSTAR IMAGES

The famed actor attended the Friars event honoring Billy Crystal without Hightower and they haven't been seen out at a big event together in months. At the Marrakesh Film Festival, De Niro flew solo once again.

Robert DeNiro Honored At Film Festival Amid Divorce
Source: INSTAR IMAGES

"He's telling people she's been spending like crazy," the Radar source said of De Niro's wife problem.

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