DE NIRO'S DAY IN COURT

Published on: July 25, 2001
DE NIRO'S DAY IN COURT

The custody battle over Robert De Niro's son continues. In reaction to the actor's claim that she has a violent temper, estranged wife, Grace Hightower, has suggested that De Niro needs drug testing.

Both parties are in a bid to win custody of the 3-year-old named Elliot, and both sides are pulling out all guns.

De Niro's reps denied Hightower's drug allegations.

"Mr. De Niro does not have a substance or drinking problem," his spokesman, Stan Rosenfield told the New York Daily News. "Nor does he have a problem with an overzealous imagination. Drug tests are not necessary."

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Judith Gische, who is presiding over the case, denied De Niro's request for unsupervised visits with the toddler. The actor may continue to visit his son in the presence of Hightower or a nanny.

The judge also recommended that De Niro and Hightower pick a psychiatrist to evaluate their son, who has developmental problems. The shrink would be able to determine any special needs Elliott might need as well as evaluate De Niro to determine if he needs drug testing.

"It was a TKO for Grace," said one of her friends.