Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Robert De Niro is addressing his split from Grace Hightower for the first time.
The 75-year-old actor spoke out in a statement Tuesday following reports he and Hightower have separated after more than 20 years of marriage.
"Grace and I have two beautiful children together," De Niro told CNN, referencing 20-year-old son Elliot and 6-year-old daughter Helen. "We are entering a period of transition in our relationship which is a difficult but constructive process."
"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," he said.
Page Six reported last week De Niro and Hightower had called it quits after 21 years of marriage and more than three decades together.
"[They're] not living together at this time," a source said. "De Niro and Grace and breaking up. He's been at a few things since the very end of the summer without her -- and rumor has it they are done."
De Niro and Hightower previously separated in 1999, when the actor filed for divorce. The pair ultimately reconciled and renewed their wedding vows at a star-studded celebration in November 2004.