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Robert Di Nero reveals his father was gay: Di Nero regrets silence within family

Robert Di Nero shares that his father was gay in a new documentary.
Robert Di Nero shares that his father was gay in a new documentary.
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Robert De Niro makes a very personal reveal about his dad in his upcoming documentary. His father, Robert De Niro Sr., who died 21 years ago was gay, according to Fox News on May 28.

De Niro’s parents split when he was only three and his father’s sexuality was not something talked about in the De Niro home. De Niro felt that it was “my responsibility to make a documentary about him.” He admits he has regrets about remaining silent when it came to his father, according to The New York Post.

De Niro recognizes the trying time his dad must have had as a gay man in that day and age. He said that he figured out that his father probably suffered some inner turmoil over his sexuality in the “climate of the day.”

Robert De Niro the actor was born in 1943, so if his dad left in 1946, that was not an era that was conducive for an open gay lifestyle. It must have been tough on his dad. This was a day and age when a gay person was considered a sexual deviate. Even the DSM, the bible of the mental health field, had homosexuality labeled as a mental health disorder when it first came out in the '60s.

According to the History of Psychiatry and Homosexuality, it wasn’t until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from its official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

As far as De Niro knowing that his dad was gay he said:

"I was not aware, much, of it. I wish we had spoken about it much more — my mother didn’t want to talk about things in general, and you’re not interested when you’re a certain age.”

He talked about knowing that his dad loved him, but he wasn't the type of dad to play baseball together with his son and De Niro adds in "as you can surmise" after that statement. This new documentary is all about his dad, it is titled "Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr." It will air on HBO June 9.

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