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What Ever Happened to Diahnne Abbott? (Robert De Niro's First Wife)

Rachelle Williams is a web content creator with a goal to educate and entertain.


Diahnne Abbott is an African American actress who hails from New York City. Her first credited role is as a concession stand cashier at a porno film theater in Martin Scorsese's classic psychological thriller, Taxi Driver (1976).

Abbott's role in the film was brief but memorable. In the film, her character rejects the lead character, Travis Bickle, as he tries to flirt with her. The role of Bickle is played by the film's star, Robert DeNiro.

Later on that year, she and DeNiro were married. After their wedding, Diahnne Abbott mostly seemed content to be De Niro's wife and raise their family. However, she did find time to squeeze in a couple of acting roles here and there.

Diahnne Abbott and Robert De Niro

Diahnne Abbott and Robert De Niro

In the years that followed her performance in Taxi Driver, Abbott became primarily known as De Niro's wife, but she also took on a few supporting roles.

She portrayed a receptionist named Jeannette Ross in the dramatic film Welcome to L.A. (1976), where her character has an affair with Carroll Barber, played by another 70s era Hollywood titan, Keith Carradine.

Being cast alongside two of the biggest heavyweights in Hollywood was a significant early marker of success as an actress, but this didn't seem to sway Abbott. She still shied away from the spotlight instead of running toward it.

For her next role, Abbott teamed up with Scorcese and De Niro once again for the film New York, New York (1977). This time she got the chance to show off her sultry, sexy singing voice with her Jazz club performance of "Honeysuckle Rose."

Abbot's next significant project came five years later in the often dismissed but highly entertaining black comedy, The King of Comedy (1982). This film was yet another Scorcese/De Niro flick and Abbott was cast in a meatier role as Rita Keane, the bartender/girlfriend of De Niro's lead character, Rupert Pupkin.

Her next role would see her untethered from her husband and the famous Hollywood director. In Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling (1986), Abbot portrays Richard Pryor's (Jo Jo Dancer) mother in his autobiographical drama. "Mother" as she is known in the film, is a prostitute in her mother's whorehouse, and Jo Jo's father is her abusive pimp.


Diahnne Abbott was born on January 1, 1945, in New York City. Not much is known about her early life, but her father is from Antigua and the singer/composer Gregory Abbott is her cousin. Gregory is probably most well known for his 1986 hit song "Shake You Down."

During Abbott's marriage to De Niro, he adopted her daughter, Drena, from a previous relationship. The two had a son named Raphael in 1976. However, their marriage ended in divorce in 1988.

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Television would be the next medium to offer Abbott a featured role. She played Sonia in a three-episode story arc in the Dennis Farina Chicagoland police vs gangster vehicle, Crime Story. This was the same year she and De Niro divorced.

Her 1988 television appearances on Crime Story would have to appease the fans who were familiar with her work, because it would be a long 12 years until she made another appearance.

Abbott quietly came back onto the scene in a small role as Blanco Romero in Before Night Falls (2000), which is a Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp driven film about the life of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas.

Two years later, Abbott took on the leading role in a film by French writer/director/actor Jacques Zanetti. The film is called Soliloqy (2002), and Abbott stars as Leah, a NYC opera 'Diva' who struggles with her past demons. Leah seeks to heal from the traumas of her adolescence as well as a reconciliation with her daughter.

The role of Leah's daughter, Kara, is played by Abbott's real life daughter, Drena De Niro. Abbott's performance and the film garnered a positive review from the The International Black Women's Film Festival.

"Ms. Abbott is amazing, and Jacques Zanetti expresses more with his visual prose than a thousand words" - International Black Women's Film Festival (ibwff).

Diahanne Abbott, Robert De Niro & their son, Raphael

Diahanne Abbott, Robert De Niro & their son, Raphael

Ever remaining true to form, Abbott mostly laid low until she resurfaced again in another Jacques Zanetti directed film called James Abbott Is Gone (2013).

The story is about a billionaire named James Abbot who decides to drop out of his normal life after questioning some of the choices that brought him to his level of wealth. This time around, Abbot plays the role of a therapist.

To date, Abbott's last credited performance is in yet another Jacques Zanetti film titled Day After Day (2017). In the film, she lends her talents as a voice actor in the part of a radio DJ.


Dihanne Abbott had two children, her previously mentioned daughter Drena and her son Raphael. Drena Di Nero went on to become a model and a busy actress. She appeared in roles with both her mother and her father. She is also a humanitarian who works with orphaned children.

Abbott's son, Raphael Di Nero, had a short stint as an actor and producer, working on projects with his mother, but he eventual made a name for himself in real estate. Today, Raphael Di Nero is one of the most successful real estate brokers in New York.

From Drena, Abbott has one grandson, and Raphael has given her three grandchildren with his first wife, Claudine De Matos.

Abbott's teenage grandson is Leandro De Niro Rodriguez (Drena's son), an actor who has so far appeared in three minor roles, one being the blink-and-you'll-miss-him role of Leo Stone in the classic film remake, A Star is Born (2018).

The actress recently welcomed a new daughter-in-law into the fold in 2020, Raphael's wife Hanna Carnes Di Nero.

Currently, Diahnne Abbott is 77 years old, she's still living in New York City, and she's still doing her own private.


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