On April 6, Tiffany Chen and her boyfriend, Robert De Niro, welcomed their first child together (his seventh child in total) – a daughter named Gia Virginia Chen-De Niro. Fans got their first look at the adorable little tot in May and now their little girl is already three months old – time flies, doesn’t it?!
While the couple has been dating for nearly two years, they’ve mostly kept their relationship private – so much so that the pregnancy and subsequent birth were unknown until after the fact. Now several months later, the 45-year-old martial arts instructor sat down with CBS Mornings’ Gayle King for an interview.
During their conversation, which will air in full on Friday (July 14), Chen reveals a scary postpartum health complication she experienced after giving birth to Gia Virginia in April. It wasn’t until she returned home with her newborn that she started to feel a tingly sensation in her tongue and her face soon followed.
“When I went home, I started to feel like, my tongue felt strange,” Tiffany Chen explained to Gayle King in a preview of the CBS Mornings interview. “It felt a little tingly, just starting to get a little bit numb. And then I realized my face just felt weird. I didn’t know what the feeling was that I was having. It felt weird.”
King goes on to ask Chen if her face looked any different when she looked in the mirror, to which Chen agreed. She described it as if ‘everything was starting to just fall down on itself’ – almost like her face was melting before her very eyes. She had no idea what was going on, but things grew worse a week later.
Chen was sitting down trying to eat a meal, but her mouth wasn’t allowing it. When she went to put a fork of food in her mouth, everything came out and she suddenly couldn’t eat. She then started slurring her words and that’s when it hit her – ‘there’s something really going on here.’ So, she called her doctor.
She was advised to go to the hospital immediately which she did. When she first arrived at the hospital, she lost all facial function and was later diagnosed with Bell’s palsy – a ‘neurological disorder that causes paralysis or weakness on one side of the face,’ according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
More About Tiffany Chen and Her Recent Diagnosis
Tiffany Chen and Robert De Niro originally sparked dating rumors in 2021, when the two were spotted during a PDA-filled romantic getaway in Europe – this came three years after his divorce from Grace Hightower. Chen and De Niro have been happily together ever since and welcomed Gia in April 2023.
While they’ve only been dating for two years, De Niro and Chen have known each other for roughly eight years and originally met in 2015 on the set of The Intern – a film starring De Niro. Chen was given a small role in the film as a Tai Chi instructor – there was one scene where she was teaching Tai Chi to De Niro.
Chen is a martial arts professional with an incredible resume that includes dozens of gold medals and world titles. She now works as a martial arts instructor and was inducted into the Martial Arts Magazine’s Hall of Fame in February 2011. She learned Tai Chi at an early age, following in her father’s footsteps.
While she was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy shortly after giving birth to her daughter, her symptoms started to improve over the course of the next few weeks and months. The disease is estimated to affect roughly 40,000 people in the United States every year and is most prevalent in those aged 15-45 years old.
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