De Niro followed beautiful women down the street in his car until they stopped and took his phone number. This was how he met Helena Springs, a singer, by following her down San Vicente Boulevard in Los Angeles in his convertible.
'I'd go fast, he'd go fast. I'd slow down, he'd slow down. This asshole kept following me. I didn't even know him. Finally he put his hands in a prayer position and said, 'Pull over'. So I stopped and he said, 'Can we have lunch?'
Springs, 22 at the time, was a backing singer for Bob Dylan, Bette Midler and Elton John. When she realized who this man was, she agreed to go to dinner which led to spending the night together.
They fell into a non-exclusive relationship over the next few year and Springs became pregnant twice.
The first pregnancy, she aborted without telling the actor. In late 1981, pregnant again, she now wanted this baby and when she told De Niro, that set him off 'on what she described as a series of ugly and intimidating conversations and encounters aimed at getting her to terminate the pregnancy'.
'It was mental abuse,' Springs said, and went ahead with her plans to carry the baby.
She gave birth to a baby girl on July 1, 1982, named Nina. Springs stated that the actor gave her $50,000 to help with the baby's care and even help her set up the baby's room but that was it.
'He drew the line at providing her with his medical history or a blood sample, fearing that she didn't merely want to be able to fill in the gaps in the baby's medical records, as she said, but rather that she was after more money,' writes Levy.
Springs did not pursue De Niro's help further because of her own low self-esteem.'Black women are used to being courted by handsome, famous, rich white guys. So they don't say no to whatever the man wants,' she said.
De Niro wouldn’t see the baby for three years. But it wasn't the last word from Helena. In August 1992, De Niro received a letter from Marvin Mitchelson, celebrity lawyers to the stars in Hollywood .
Springs was now Helena Lisandrello and wanted the star of 'Raging Bull' and 'Godfather' to pay child support for his daughter, now ten years old.
The actor finally submitted to that blood test which showed him not to be the biological father.
Helena contended he owed the child money because he had told Nina he was her father. De Niro no longer contributed to Nina's upbringing after 1992.
The contentious relationship with Springs was not the end of his womanizing – or his anger towards those women with whom he came into conflict.