Antonio Banderas gushes about Melanie Griffith: ‘fallen in love w/her many times’

This week’s Hello! Magazine has an exclusive and exhaustive interview with Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas. 49. The guy says so many positive, glowing things about his wife of 14 years, Melanie Griffith, 52, that I would think it was a put on if I didn’t known anything about him. Antonio loves Melanie to bits and he’ll tell you all about it. He also clears up rumors about Melanie’s stint in rehab last year, and presents it as if it wasn’t a crisis and she just made the independent decision to go after she necessarily used painkillers following knee surgery. I doubt it was as simple as all that, but Banderas is convincing me that he’ll stick with his wife and their family no matter what. He also says some very insightful things about the way that love changes over the years. At first I was kind of swooning about how he talks about his love for Melanie, but then I saw that he sort-of admitted that they were both with other people when they first got together. Melanie was with Don Johnson, who she married twice and has one of her three children with, and Antonio was with his first wife, Ana Leza, to whom he was married for eight years at the time.

(We get the magazine digitally through and it’s in flash format so we have to re-type segments if we want to quote them. I’m telling you all that because there’s no way I could do this article justice unless I spent an hour typing it all in. There’s a ton more in the print version and this is just a small segment.)

Let’s talk about Melanie. You’ve been together for 15 years, which is a lifetime in Hollywood.
“And in our case there were people who literally didn’t give us more than six months! But we love each other and above all we love our family. We’ve figured out how to get past obstacles – and some of them have been really tough ones – in our relationship; and if you get past those you only get stronger.

“If we’d given up – and I’m not the kind of person who does – we probably wouldn’t be together anymore. We keep moving forward, and each day we become even more united. I still love my wife, and the concept of family is very important to us. It gives us strength…”

Even before you had a chance to personally meet Melanie, you’d already taken note of her. Do you remember the first time you saw her?
“It was at the Oscars, but I didn’t know who she was. I was with the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar – we’d been nominated for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Melanie was nominated for Working Girl – and as soon as I got out of the car, I saw her.

“I didn’t recognize her because at that time I hadn’t seen the movie… I asked Pedro, ‘Who is that beautiful woman?’ She was gorgeous. She had on a cream coloured dress with pearls on it. I’ll remember that my entire life.”

Six years later you filmed Two Much Together.
“That’s when I finally met her…”

Admiring a movie star from afar and then ending up marrying her – it sounds like a plot from a Hollywood film.
“I was lucky from the very beginning, from the day we met. At the time we were having problems with our respective partners, and those relationships were pretty much over. We were both in very similar situations.”

On Melanie’s stint in rehab last year
“That has a very simple explanation. She hasn’t touched alcohol for years. As far as prescription pills go, she had a skiing accident in Aspen – I was there, we were skiing together – and she tore all the ligaments in her knee. She had an operation two hours after the accident, and had two operations over the next year. They had to give her painkillers. For someone who has been an addict, it was like falling into the same hole again, and Melanie was the one who decided to get treatment…”

It was reported that you’d given her an ultimatum [to go to rehab]
“I can’t give Melanie ultimatums. First, because I’m not like that. And second, because she wouldn’t let me.

It was also reported that you had divorce papers read. Did you ever discuss that?
“No, no. In 15 years we’ve never discussed that. We’ve had rough times like anyone has, and we’ve had fights. We’re a normal couple with ups and downs. But we’ve never gotten to that point. I’m happy with Melanie.”

So the last 15 years have been mostly positive?
“Despite our problems, we’ve had 15 years of emotional stability, and a big part of that is because of Melanie…”

Like energy, does love transform with the passing of time?
“It absolutely transforms into other things, and some things that you discover along the way are better than the first. Much better.

You once told me that it was wonderful to keep falling in love with your wife. How many times have you fallen in love with Melanie?
“I wouldn’t be able to count, but it’s a lot. There are days that I’ve fallen in love with her many times over, because of things that she’s done. For example, we have a real laugh taking photos. There have been times with our daughter that we couldn’t even take the picture because Melanie was cracking up. I’d look at her, so happy, so beautiful, so healthy, and for me it was a reaffirmation.”

[From Hello! Magazine, print edition, April 26, 2010]

A little later in the interview, like three pages later, Melanie comes in and echoes a lot of her husband’s statements about how great a love they have for each other and how much she admires him. She also talks about her kids (she has son Alexander, 24, with first husband Steven Bauer, daughter Dakota Johnson, 20, with second/third husband Don Johnson, and daughter Stella Banderas, 13, with Antonio), her mom Tippi Hedren, 80, (of classic horror movie The Birds), and rehab. When asked if she still feels the same about Antonio as when she first met him, she says “Yes, all that and much more. But I still feel the same passion I did at the start.” She adds that “Being with him has taught me a lot about passion for life.”

There have been some mild rumors of Banderas stepping out on Griffith, but if that was true they seem to have worked it out and to be going stronger than ever. It’s rare that a Hollywood couple speaks so candidly about their life and love, and I like how they admit they have problems that they’ve had to work out. It sounds like they’re happy and still in love after all this time.

Hello! has a whole photospread with Melanie, Antonio and their 13 year-old daughter, Stella. Antonio is looking hot and beardless – which begs the question: did he do the photoshoot before growing out that beard or did he finally shave it off? He did make a reference to the beard in the interview, and said “it isn’t that big a deal for me to grow an awful white beard for the role [in Zorba.]” So it sounds like the beard was grown post-interview and that it’s still there. Oh well.

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 3/20/10 Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren, Antonio

Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 3/20/10 Melanie Griffith, Antonio Banderas, The

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44 Responses to “Antonio Banderas gushes about Melanie Griffith: ‘fallen in love w/her many times’”

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  1. bite me says:

    really, you don’t remember what a scandal it was when Antonio left hiw wife for Melanie, it was great smut..anyway glad Melanie is rill working on her demons

  2. Q says:

    Sadly, big article on how enduring their love is = break-up in 6 months.

  3. wif says:

    Their Stella is a super-pretty little thing, isn’t she?

  4. Missmilly says:

    Sounds so great doesn’t it? I sure hope it’s real…gives us all hope, or at least me.

  5. DogBoy says:

    Yeah, Antonio’s fallen in love with her many times— like every time she changes her face.

  6. danielle says:

    She might be a very lovely woman – but her face scares me a bit. It always cracks me up that Antonio ended up with Melanie, because Madonna made a play for him around the Truth or Dare time and failed!

  7. TG says:

    @Q – I was thinking the same thing and reading to see who else was thinking that way. LOL

  8. lilred says:

    Maybe it’s just me but I can totally hear his voice/accent when I was reading that…Kind of cool but at the same time seeing “puss in boots” lol.

  9. lucy2 says:

    I’ve never quite understood their relationship, but it sounds like they are happy and in love.
    Q, that does always seem to be the way, doesn’t it? Hopefully it’s not for them, and I’m glad for her sake she has someone sticking by her through rehab and all.

  10. Neelyo says:

    Dammit, dogboy beat me to the punch line.

  11. benny says:

    I don’t know what it is about Melanie Griffith, but she kinda creep sme out. Maybe it’s because she always sounds retarded when she speaks. But I shouldn’t use that word. Ok, she sounds like she has a mental disability when she speaks.

  12. Joan says:

    Tippi should have recommended that Melanie go to her plastic surgeon! She looks great for her age while Melanie appears much older.
    At least they are frank about their up’s and down’s, I’ll give them that. I hope they’ll make it in the end.

  13. LindyLou says:

    @Q. I was thinking the same thing too! Divorce countdown is on!

  14. Q says:

    @Joan, Tippi looks better because she didn’t ruin her looks with years of drug abuse. Pictures of aging recovered addict stars should be the new anti-drug campaign.

  15. Maritza says:

    Melanie’s mom looks really great! It’s nice to see they still love each other after so many years. Antonio in one interview said Melanie had a Minnie Mouse voice that he has always loved.

  16. Simi says:

    She certainly ruined her looks.

  17. danielle says:

    Q – good point. Maybe drug campaigns should start using before and after pics of stars.

  18. Red Folder says:

    I know someone who has met Melanie G on lots of occasions through the years as he’s worked with her mom on her Shambala project.
    He’s said that Melanie G is awful in person and personality wise! Her face really looks like hell when not professionally done, she smokes like a chimney is very loud and really rude/mean. Said it always surprised him because Tippi is very old school classy, but Melanie treats everyone around her like s**t and talks down to people. He told me this about 2 years ago…so maybe she’s changed since then. . .also said that for ages no one could understand what antonio saw in her because of her awfulness. . . *shrugs* who knows?

  19. Amy says:

    I remember an interview on Charlie Rose after Antonio directed her in a movie. Antonio seemed SO genuinely passionate about her. I thought it was really sweet!

  20. Maddie says:

    Wow she sucked all the sexiness out of Antonio didn’t she.

  21. Novaraen says:

    Whoa…the picture in the bottom right corner looks like she is holding a “real baby” doll. Kinda creepy looking little baby…and I don’t usually say that about babies.

    Oh and good for Melanie and Antonio!

  22. Mairead says:

    Ruh-roh. “The Curse of Hello!” strikes in 3-2-..

  23. Linda says:

    Oh, my face hurts when I look at her.

  24. Crash2GO2 says:

    Does anyone else feel we can retire the “sucked the sexiness/hotness right out of him” phrase please? It belongs in the most overused of phrases along with the previously overly abused phrase “I just threw up in my mouth a little.”

  25. snapdragon says:

    poor melanie – she used to be so pretty until she started messing with her face. and that heart tattoo is so, so cheap looking.

  26. voiceover says:

    @bite me: I don’t remember that scandal. Must have been really bad. I know divorce is an everyday occurrence, and that people’s marriages don’t always work out, but I don’t understand why people don’t just come clean, leave their marriage/get a divorce, and be honest before jumping into bed with someone new.

  27. Raven says:

    Red Folder, I used to work with a man like that. He was a complete horse’s ass–cheap, nasty, thoughtless, rude. His second marriage was to a wonderful woman–attractive, a psychologist and pilot, very nice. I never figured out what she saw in him.

  28. DD says:

    wow I guess we’re all thinking the same, and I am expecting a break up announcement in 5, 4, 3, 2, …

  29. Kelaa Khaa says:

    @bite me I too remember the scandal and Antonio’s wife, who I believe is spanish, was really p.o.ed at the time.

    this link has a good photo and a brief history of the situation.

  30. Kelly says:

    I’ll always have a spot for Antonio; Im sure some of that lovely cheese must be fake, but I’ll buy it for now. That’s old skool class. I dont know what Melanie does to deserve it, she’s always seemed so friggin high maintenance and talent free to me but then Im not married to it. Takes all sorts.
    Their daughter has a great face. She has that slightly peculiar animal look from her dad. Werewolfy but in the best possible way.

  31. boo says:

    Wait, wasn’t that kid just born? Crap.

  32. Henriette says:

    Well, maybe he falls in love with her again and again… but he also cheats on her again and again.

  33. boo says:

    Crash2GO2 – Can we add, “with that being said” to your list? Please?

  34. ogechi says:

    ”I’d look at her, so happy, so beautiful, so healthy, and for me it was a reaffirmation.”

    Ladies did you hear that??? What does your guy say abt you?

    • trish says:

      I had to read the bit about Melanie looking healthy twice. The years of substance abuse took their toll and the surgery did nothing to erase the damage done. I have also read that she is awful to others, and they fight and scream at each other even on set. It is not a relationship i would want personally.

  35. Lita says:

    Ogechi, if only my man would do a magazine interview maybe I’d find out! (really, my husband is the greatest out there). It’s nice to see people happy – even though their life hasn’t been easy together. Because that’s real.

    I can’t bring the cynicism here – 15 years *for Hollywood* is like an eternity in the rest of the world. And all the times nasty things have been said and supposed about them – they’re still together and happy. Yay for crazy love.

  36. SammyHammy says:

    I used to think he was hot, but when he fell in love with her I lost all respect for him. I’ve seen her interviewed before and I think she is borderline mentally retarded-I mean she can barely string a coherent sentence together. There’s got to be something wrong with a man who goes for someone that obviously stupid.

  37. Johnthing says:

    Mel looks like a delinquent child standing next to her mother. That tatoo!

  38. missy says:

    I cant even look at Melanie any more, her lips are hideous.

    Q is right
    anytime celebs start publicly gushing over each other its only a matter of time before the separation announcement.

  39. Richi says:

    OH he I love the beard look of AB!!!

  40. Oenix says:

    May be it’s the law of opposite attraction? The stereotypical “Icy blond with Hot latin? Plus he might be attracted to her pedigree. Don’t under estimate what effect that has on people. As for similarities – they BOTH chain smoke like chimneys. Well – best of luck to them!!!

  41. bubbles says:

    I wonder what she laces his coffee with!?

  42. Shay says:

    What happened to Melanie’s nose? It looks like it’s caving in.
    And Brad Pitt has started a horrible trend with his scraggly beard. Eek!

  43. judy says:

    His first wife couldn’t have kids and they were fighting about that , either ouldnt or wouldnt have them. So when he was making the movie with Melanie they fell in love and she left that has been Don Johnson and he left his wife and because they were catholic and do not believe in divorce his family went nuts.