Melanie Griffith opens up about her ‘toxic’ relationship with Antonio Banderas


Melanie Griffith opens up about her ‘toxic’ relationship with Antonio Banderas

For over 40 years, Melanie Griffith has been gracing our screens with memorable roles in films such as Body Double and Working Girl. Raised in Hollywood by a movie star mother, Tippi Hedren, and Broadway actor father Peter Griffith, Melanie was pretty much born in the spotlight. With a Golden Globe win and an Academy Award nomination under her belt, the 62-year-old has proven herself as a truly successful and talented actress.

Of course, another thing the mother-of-three is known for, besides her impressive career and undeniable beauty, is her complicated love life. However, out of all three husbands (and four marriages), her most famous relationship was with renowned Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, who she was married to for almost two decades before their split.

Since then, the now happily single actress has been enjoying the time she has working on herself and her health. She has also opened up about her and Banderas’ 18-year picture-perfect love story, what went wrong, and her surprising current relationship status with all three of her exes.

Hollywood icon

The lovely and talented Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated actress Melanie Griffith has stunned the world with her incredible career for over four decades. Known especially for her critically-acclaimed portrayals in films like Body Double, Something Wild, and Working Girl, Griffith has become a lasting and well-known name in the world of Hollywood.

Hollywood icon

However, her successful career is not all she is recognized for, she is also known for her highly-publicized love life, including four marriages to three different, equally famous men.

Catching his eye

Griffith’s most recent and longest relationship was to the Spanish Hollywood heartthrob Antonio Banderas, who she was married to from 1996 until their surprising divorce in 2015. The two movie stars first crossed paths at the 1989 Academy Awards in 1989. Although Griffith was married to Miami Vice actor Don Johnson at the time, and Banderas was married to his wife of just two years Ana Leza, Griffith still managed to catch the eye of her future husband.

Catching his eye

He was enamored with the Working Girl actress from the moment he saw her. “I saw this beautiful woman with a cream dress, with pearls,” he recalled. “The first thing he asked me way my age,” Griffith later admitted. “I said, ‘That’s the rudest thing anyone has asked me first.’ But there was something about him.”

On and off-screen romance

Six years after Banderas first fell for Griffith, fate just so happened to throw the pair together again as they were cast alongside Daryl Hannah in the 1995 romantic comedy, Two Much. Although both actors were still married to their spouses, they couldn’t help but feel a connection, especially after spending so much time together at work.

On and off-screen romance

“It was very fast and very compulsive,” Banderas explained. “But at the same time, we were tied at the time. We tried as much as we could to be respectful. We just thought this may be one of those, you know, infatuation moments that we have when we shoot movies because we got to play together a couple, so let’s just go home.”

Starting a family

Eventually, there was no denying that there was a strong spark between Griffith and Banderas. Despite Ana Leza harshly accusing Griffith of “stealing” her husband, the two actors left their previous significant others behind so that they could walk down the aisle and make their relationship official.

Starting a family

Just four months after tying the knot on May 14, 1996, the Hollywood pair welcomed a daughter together, Stella Banderas (now 22). Stella was Banderas’ first child and Griffith’s third, her first being son Alexander Bauer (now 33), who she had with ex Dylan Bauer, and her second being 50 Shades of Grey actress Dakota Johnson (now 29), who she had with Don Johnson.

In the way

Despite the newlyweds often appearing together at red carpet events and Hollywood parties looking joyful and perfect, the truth was that not many people expected the couple to last at the time. One of the most famous of these non-believers of their lasting marriage just so happened to be the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna.

In the way

The singer allegedly fell hard for Banderas while starring together in the 1996 musical drama film, Evita, just months after he had married Griffith. Apparently, Madonna had also made her feelings quite clear to the actor, but unfortunately for her, his new wife got in the way of her plan to win over her co-star’s heart.

Getting banned

When rumors spread about Madonna and Banderas, the press accused Griffith of being afraid of the pop star taking away her man. The drama got so bad, that Griffith, who was pregnant at the time, got banned from visiting her husband while he was working on the Evita set.

Getting banned

“Madonna was after him publicly,” the actress later told Larry King. “I was pregnant when he was doing Evita. The press made a big thing about how Melanie’s watching over Antonio and she won’t leave him alone with Madonna because she’s afraid that Madonna’s going to steal him.” She continued, “I was hurt because I was banned from the set. They didn’t let me go on the set.”

Turned down

Luckily, Banderas stayed faithful to his new wife and mother of his future daughter, and nothing ever happened between him and Madonna, although the pop star admitted later on that she would have been happy if it had.

Turned down

“I wished,” the singer said about being in a relationship with Banderas. “I had a big crush on him, but he was with Melanie Griffith. She never left his side,” she told Howard Stern during a 2015 interview.

The split

Sadly, despite trying desperately for their marriage to last, Griffith and Banderas’ relationship eventually came to an end in the summer of 2014, when they announced their “loving and friendly” split. By 2015, the former Hollywood It couple were divorced.

The split

Although it shocked many longtime fans and followers of their very public romance, an insider source claimed that the pair “had issues for years,” which apparently only got worse as Banderas continued to spend a great deal of time traveling abroad for work.

Feeling stuck

Griffith opened up in 2017 to Porter Magazine about the real reason why her and Banderas ended their relationship after 18 years of marriage. According to her, it had nothing to do with her ex at all.

Feeling stuck

“I think part of the reason my marriage to Banderas fell apart was because I was stuck; nobody else is to blame,” she explained. “It’s just that I personally got stuck and I won’t let that happen again, I want to enjoy life, I want to do whatever I want to do.”

Still in love

Despite no longer being romantically involved, it certainly seems like Banderas and Griffith have maintained a close friendship. During a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, the actor admitted that he still has great respect, and love, for his ex-wife. “I will love that woman until the day I die,” he proudly stated.

Still in love

“Melanie is my dear friend and she just texted me,” he said following his nomination and loss for an Emmy for his role in Genius. “She was really sorry that I didn’t win. So we’re going to see each other this week because she’s still my family and my kids’.”

Amicable exes

Griffith certainly seems to feel the same about her ex-husband, often proving that her and Banderas just might be the friendliest exes in all of Hollywood. In 2016, just a year after their divorce, the actress shared a very touching birthday post to her former hubby writing, “I will always love you.”

Amicable exes

The Working Girl star has also stated that she looks back at their marriage fondly and has no regrets whatsoever. “Starting a family with Banderas was more exciting than playing a part in a story,” she said. “You have to live your life and not just play somebody else all the time.”

Moving on

Although Banderas will always have a place in his heart for his wife of 18 years, he has moved on and has found love again. Since his and Griffith’s break in 2014, the Spanish actor has been dating 38-year-old banker Nicole Kempel, who is 20 years his junior.

Moving on

Banderas has been tight-lipped about a possible future proposal to his girlfriend, but he did tell Entertainment Tonight that if it were to ever happen, it would be a private occasion.

Not relevant

Griffith, on the other hand, hasn’t been in a serious relationship since her divorce from Banderas. “I really don’t think it’s relevant for anyone anymore,” she said, when asked about how she felt about getting married again one day. “But especially if you’re 60 and you have four kids and you’re living the life you’ve always wanted. Then why get married?”

Not relevant

She continued, “It’s like, I would love to fall in love and have a romance, a relationship, but I haven’t. I keep looking. I’ve had a couple of lovers but not a relationship.”

Best friends

As for her current dating life, the blonde icon claimed that she is “shy with men now” and “very reticent.” She confessed, “I don’t go on dates, nobody has asked me on a date. I go out with girlfriends.”

Best friends

One of her most famous friends is matriarch of the Kardashain-Jenner household, Kris Jenner, who Griffith became close with after meeting through Khloe Kardashian, who she shares a gym trainer with. According to Griffith, Jenner has even been trying to set her up with men although she usually turns her down, saying that she finds it too “weird.”

First husband

One of the reasons why Griffith isn’t exactly looking to jump right back into the world of dating again could be due to the fact that she has been married four times prior, and is ready for a break.

First husband

Of course, it all began with her first husband, the Miami Vice heartthrob Don Johnson, who she met when she was just 14 and he was 22 on the set of The Harrad Experiment in 1973. The controversial couple went on to get married a few years later in 1976 – although the marriage only lasted a few months.

Meant to be

Griffith and Johnson ended up reuniting, and remarrying in June 1989, before welcoming their daughter Dakota later that year, and divorcing in 1996 prior to marrying Banderas. Looking back on her and Johnson’s relationship, the Something Wild star still believes their relationship was meant to happen.

Meant to be

She describes her and the her first ex as “imprinted on each other” adding, “It was sort of a natural karmic thing for us to get back together and to have Dakota.” Today, Griffith and Dakota – who reached fame herself after starring in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, are each other’s biggest supporters, and closest friends.

Second shot

Between Griffith and Don Johnson’s two marriages, from 1981 to 1989, she was married to actor Steven Bauer, known for his role as Manny Ribera in the 1983 crime-drama Scarface. She met Bauer after starring together in the 1981 made-for-television movie, She’s in the Army Now, alongside Jamie Lee Curtis.

Second shot

Shortly after completing the film, Griffith and Bauer tied the knot and welcomed a son together, Alexander Bauer, in 1985. However, after reconnecting with ex Don Johnson, the two called things off and divorced before the ’90s even began.

Famous mother

Griffith’s famous mother, iconic actress of the ’60s Tippi Hedren, has a rocky relationship history of her own and was married three times. Griffith is very close to her mom, who is now 89, and claims to have learned many valuable lessons from her over the years – especially in regards to how she should be treated.

Famous mother

Hedren has admitted to being “mentally abused and tortured” by director Alfred Hitchcock, who catapulted her into fame by making her the leading lady of two of his most popular films, The Birds and Marnie. “I knew not to ever let somebody take advantage of me,” Griffith said, adding that she was always “aware of what was possible” in the industry.

Valuable lesson

The Body Double star learned from her mother’s horrifying experience with Hitchcock to always stand up for herself, especially during the earlier years of her career.

Valuable lesson

“If I think back, there were things that were asked, and I would just say, ‘No, I’m not doing it that way,’ but you had to be strong and know what you wanted.” She added, “I think I always had that. I was a touch chick. I wouldn’t do something if I didn’t want to do it.”

Staying fit

Today, Griffith is focusing less of her energy on finding a romantic partner, and more on herself and her health. The 61-year-old has found a new passion for fitness, and is often sharing her impressive workout routines and showing off her strong abs and slim physique with her many followers on Instagram.

Staying fit

The actress has been working on her fitness with Beverly Hills-based celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson for the past seven years, who she calls “kind of my therapist.”

Making a comeback

Although her acting career has seemed to slow down from her earlier years, Griffith is still is appearing in the occasional on-screen role every now and then, proving that she is just as talented as ever.

Making a comeback

Her most recent performances were in the 2017 films Pirate of Somalia, a biographical drama starring Al Pacino, and James Franco’s dark comedy The Disaster Artist. She also recently appeared in an episode of the popular Showtime series, SMILF.

Next chapter

The 61-year-old has been enjoying single life, and is embracing all of the time that she has for herself now that her children have all grown up. She is also looking forward to her next chapter in her life, and is even considering writing a memoir.

Next chapter

“After getting divorced and, in a way, finishing up with my kids, I have time and the chance to reboot and revitalize my career,” she said. As for her exes? She is still friends with all three of them. The actress gushed, “All of my husbands, my three husbands, I love them all so much, and we’re very close.”

Still family

And Melanie does abide by her words. In late 2018, Banderas was nominated for the prestigious Emmy award. However, he ended up going home empty-handed. Although he had the support of his girlfriend, Banderas told in the interview following the ceremony that his ex-wife also offered her sympathies.

He said that she is his “dear friend” and just sent him a text. In it, she said she “was really sorry” he didn’t take home the coveted award. He told the interviewer they were going to see each other that weekend, because to Banderas, “she [was] still family.”

Falling in love again

Although the actress isn’t looking to get remarried any time soon, she isn’t ruling out falling in love again. In a 2018 interview she said that she “would love to fall in love,” with a relationship and a romance is definitely on her radar.

However, it seems that it’s just not happening for her right now. She does “keep looking,” as she says, but she isn’t in a hurry. She said she had “a couple of lovers,” but nothing she could call a relationship.

Celebrating life

But it seems Melanie does keep her focus on enjoying her life as much as possible. She posted some enviable posts about a recent trip to Spain with some friends on her social media account.

Instagram: Melanie Griffith

In general, it seems Griffith is all about celebrating life as best she can, with her account filled with beautiful scenery images of places she’s been, pictures of her beloved children, and pictures of her surrounded by friends. It seems Griffith is happy with the way things are, right now.

Turning 62

The stunning actress recently celebrated her 62nd years on this earth, in a private party thrown by her daughter, Stella. Although Dakota was missed during the celebrations, it’s clear that Griffith’s relationship with her family is close and warm.

Dakota apparently feels the same way towards her grandmother, Griffith’s mother, Tippi Hedren. She brought her to the premier of her recent horror movie, Suspirio, in a gesture to Hedren’s roles in the Hitchcock thrillers.

Erasing the ink

But apparently, some things need to be left behind. Griffith’s arm tattoo, baring Banderas’ name Antonio inside a heart, was a very large token of the two’s love for each other. She got it in the late 1990s, when the two got together.

It seems that Griffith didn’t want this black reminder on her arm any longer though, because she got the name removed in late 2014, a little bit before the two announced their split. A few years later, she removed it entirely, leaving her arm bare, fit for a fresh start.