Antonio Banderas is the sexy cover boy for this months AARP magazine. I can imagine retired ladies sitting in their condos in Boca, fanning themselves at both Antonio’s inviting stance on the cover, and the sweet honest things he says about his wife in the interview. Antonio, 51, has been married to actress Melanie Griffith, 54, for 15 years and they have a daughter, Stella, who is almost 15. Last year Antonio and Melanie talked openly to Hello! Magazine about their issues as a family when Melanie needed to go to rehab for a painkiller addiction. Antonio made it clear that they had problems, but that they were ultimately solid and remained tight as a family and as a couple. He said “There are days that I’ve fallen in love with her many times over, because of things that she’s done.”
In this latest interview, it’s more of the same from Antonio. He’s so honest about what they’ve gone through that it’s refreshing. He also talks about how they fell in love with each other when they were both with other partners, and how he’s tempted to cheat too. I was so impressed with this interview.
A: I think we were both unhappy with our different relationships at the time. I wouldn’t put anything on the shoulders of the other persons. Things just don’t work sometimes, and that’s the way it goes. But we recognized that we were unhappy. And I saw this sweet, vulnerable soul, funny, also very smart and generous. I saw her with her kids, and she was so beautiful as a mom. It happens sometimes that you connect with your costar. It’s normal. But at the end of the movie, it’s just “delete” — you go home and it’s good-bye. But it didn’t happen. We kept calling each other on the phone all day long. And then one day we had to actually confront it. And we did. It was not easy.
Q: That’s a long time for a Hollywood marriage. What’s your secret?
A: The secret is that we had failures before. And love at the beginning is a rush. It’s big, full of energy, beautiful. But it doesn’t last like that. Melanie and I talked about that a lot. Are we going to make the mistake of looking back for that thing all the time? Or are we going to look ahead and create universes that are different? We made the second choice. That thing at the beginning disappeared, but it became something better. We discovered the value and warmth of family, and what is home — that we can be stronger together. That thing that you thought was gone comes back again, and you fall in love again. Even in crisis, we have been patient enough to detect that at the end of the tunnel was a light. We have had as many problems as anybody. We’ve never hidden it. We’ve been open about addictions, in the case of Melanie. She has overcome her problems beautifully. I didn’t know she was so strong. It makes me love her even more, because she has been an unbelievable lion fighting, and she got it. The last [relapse] was three years ago, and it just welded us.
Q: When she went back into treatment? How did that weld you?
A: The whole family participated. We did all the therapies together — the kids, everybody. It was a very unique experience, not only for Melanie. It was very rewarding at the end.
Q: Many people want to keep these kinds of problems from their kids.
A: The pretending is the worst, because kids are so smart. They can see through all of those things, and if you don’t talk openly about problems, it creates a very dark place. They carry that through the rest of their lives, to their marriages, to their kids.
Q: Who decided to be open with them? You or Melanie?
A: Melanie. She was the one.
Q: Can we talk about fidelity and recent instances in the news of men behaving badly? Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards, Tiger Woods — what is going on?
A: It has always happened, and it’s not just in Hollywood or in Washington. Is it in our genes? Are we monogamous or not? Have we been trying to put men on a path that is not natural? I think men are drawn to the hunting — the psychological reaffirming of themselves in their manhood.
Q: So how do you deal with temptation when you’re in a marriage?
A: It’s a very, very personal issue how you deal with that. [You have to ask yourself ] if you are willing to damage what you have — your kids, your family, your friends. How do you deal in your sexual life with your wife? How rich can you make it in order to not have to look for something outside your marriage? What other things can you do, in your home? What are the things that you may tell her, or are you going to be always lying? There may be people who don’t even allow themselves to watch a movie and say to their wife, “Ah, that actress is sexy,” because their wife may get very upset. I think that you should be able to be honest with your wife: “I should be able to tell you that, yeah, sometimes I walk into a party and I feel there are women there that are very beautiful. And you shouldn’t be upset. In the same way, you may see a guy who’s very attractive.” The question is, how much will you stretch that? It’s all about balance in life. We all need water, obviously, but I’m not going to drink the pool. [Laughs.] I think it’s very important that you know exactly where the limits are.
That was so insightful and eloquent. I really enjoyed reading that and imagining Antonio saying it in his sexy voice! It’s even more impressive when you realize that he only started to learn English in 1992. He’s had plenty of practice, and he’s learned to express himself so beautifully. I get the impression that he hasn’t always been faithful to Melanie, and we’ve heard rumors to that effect, but that whatever happened he’s faithful now and he’s really learned his lesson.
On another issue, Melanie’s addiction to painkillers, that seems to be so common lately. I’ve had at least two friends who have been addicted to them after getting prescriptions for legitimate pain issues. My friends didn’t realize that they were dependent on the medication and that it was causing so many other issues with their bodies until well after they were addicted.
Photo of Antonio alone is from a photocall yesterday in Rome. Other photos are from July and August of this year. Credit: WENN.com