CelebrityHollywood

November 06, 2021

Robert de Niro’s Ex Toukie Smith Faced 3 Family Tragedies in 2 Years: ‘I Went to a Therapist'

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Actor Robert De Niro is widely regarded as one of the best talents of his time. However, not many fans know of the actor's private life, including the ugly fate one of his lovers, Toukie Smith, faced.

Robert De Niro was one of the standout stars of the late 20th century, and much of his success spilled into the new millennium. The actor is notable for playing several intriguing roles in movies like "Taxi Driver," "The Godfather: Part II," "Raging Bull," "Awakenings," and "The Intern."

His career featured several standout moments. Some of his faithful fans believe it would not be an over-exaggeration to consider the actor one of the greatest of all times.

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While his career has been breathtaking, De Niro's private life is also noteworthy. The actor has been in a series of relationships, some of which made him a father. One of his most remarkable relationships was with Actress Toukie Smith, whose life was filled with heartbreaking misfortune.

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TOUKIE SMITH

Toukie Smith has been in the entertainment industry for more than two decades and is mostly known for appearing as Eva Rawley in NBC's sitcom "227." She is also known for her role in the series "Miami Vice."

Smith showcased her natural talents in several other movies like "Me and Him," "Talkin Dirty After Dark," "I Like It Like That," "Joe's Apartment," and "The Preacher's Wife."

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Known for her energetic displays and trademark warm smile, Smith is also a talented model. She has worked with several top brands and numerous publications like "Cosmopolitan," "Seventeen," "ELLE," and "Ebony.".

While she might no longer be the most popular name from her generation of stars, she was once a force to be reckoned with. For example, she was the first African-American model to have a mannequin made in her likeness and was once crowned Bloomingdale's "Model of the Year."

The former model and actress is no longer active in the industry and allegedly dislikes social media. Over the years, Smith has suffered a series of tragedies that made it difficult for her to keep up with the demands of fame.

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TRAGEDIES IN A SHORT TIME

As she was living her best possible life professionally, Smith, unfortunately, began to suffer some tragedies. In 1986, the actress lost her mother to liver cirrhosis and was devastated since she witnessed her mother's illness up close.

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Not long after this sad occurrence, Willi Smith, her brother and fashion star died of pneumonia on April 16, 1987.

Medical professionals eventually discovered that AIDS caused his death, and he only tested HIV positive after being admitted to the hospital. 

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Smith, who had a close relationship with her brother, was deeply saddened by his death. She confessed to feeling a sense of loss, especially with the death of her loved ones.

After the demise of his relationship with Smith, De Niro found love again, and this time to actress Grace Hightower.

Her mother was an alcoholic, and Smith's hopes of having her nursed to recovery were destroyed as she watched her lifeless body. Later on, she explained her late mom's influence on her, adding that she taught her how to dream and aspire for greatness.

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When she learned of her brother's death, it felt like the world had come crashing on her shoulders. She felt particularly depressed about his death due to how sudden it was. Speaking of how sad she was, Smith said:

"Willi and I were so close and I mean from the time we were kids."

During Willi's funeral, Smith reached the height of her grief as she was physically exhausted from mourning her brother. Not so long after that, she encountered more bitterness after losing her and De Niro's baby while making a patch in her brother's honor.

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Losing her child on the back of several misfortunes was the height of it. The lovely model's bad luck did not end there, as she lost yet another crucial person in her life. Patrick Kelly, a close friend, and confidant died after Willi. 

The actress decided to get professional help to cope with the shocking loss that surrounded her life. She said, "I went to a therapist… you have to get it out so that it doesn't eat you up inside."

During her years of pain, Smith credited her close friends for helping her get through the difficulties. Stars like the late Cicely Tyson reminded the actress of the beauty that lay ahead of her, and since then, she has done her best to live the best life possible.

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A FAMILY WITH DE NIRO

In 1985, Smith began a relationship with De Niro. When she lost her mother, brother, and friend, the actor was a source of hope and encouragement. The duo later welcomed their twin sons, Aaron Kendrick and Julian Henry, in 1995 through a surrogate.

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Toukie Smith and Robert De Niro were notoriously private. After their split after a decade together, the former couple gave little details about their lives and focused on co-parenting their kids.

After the demise of his relationship with Smith, De Niro found love again, and this time to actress Grace Hightower. The couple tied the knot and shared two children before splitting in 2018 after two decades together.

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A PROUD DAD

Robert De Niro is a proud father of six, and he enjoys having a biracial family. The actor is often spotted hanging out with his kids, and he considers fatherhood the greatest of his accomplishments.

The Hollywood icon's children have all ventured into various crafts. Some of De Niro's children are models and real estate brokers, while others do what they love.

De Niro's youngest son Elliot is reportedly on the autism spectrum. His daughter Helen who he shared with his former wife, Grace, is often kept away from the public eye.

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