Melanie Griffith: ‘I knew not to ever let somebody take advantage of me’

Eva Longoria's Hollywood Star Ceremony Post-Luncheon

I’ll always have affection for Melanie Griffith because of Working Girl, which is one of my favorite movies. I can’t help it, I just *like* her and want her to do well and find happiness. Melanie turns 61 years old this month, and she sat down with InStyle to talk about ageing, motherhood, dating and divorce. I don’t think I’ve actually sat down and thought about this before, but Melanie has been divorced four times! Two of those divorces were to the same man, Don Johnson, but still. She’s lived a lot of life, and I was mostly charmed by this InStyle interview, except for some somewhat problematic comments about abuse and harassment:

Whether Working Girl was the proto-film for the #MeToo era. “That’s f–ked up. I didn’t even think about that. But it was one of those amazing, amazing experiences in my life. And people still love it so much. They tell me how much it meant to them and how it changed their lives. And a lot of women my age and younger say, ‘I saw that movie, and it gave me encouragement to do what I wanted to do.’ ”

Her mother, Tippi Hedren, was abused & harassed by Alfred Hitchcock. “She was mentally abused and tortured by him, so I knew not to ever let somebody take advantage of me. And I wasn’t stupid. I’m not saying any of those girls are stupid, but I was aware of what was possible. I’m sure that I had the suggestion of ‘I want to sleep with you, come over,’ but I knew better. 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. I think I always had that. I was a tough chick. I wouldn’t do something if I didn’t want to do it.”

All of her ex-husbands: “All of my husbands, my three husbands — I love them all so much, and we’re all very close.”

She doesn’t want to get married again: “I really don’t think it’s relevant for anyone anymore. 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? 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.”

Would she try dating apps? “No, Jesus. Tinder or something would just be so tacky, I think.”

[From InStyle]

“She was mentally abused and tortured by him, so I knew not to ever let somebody take advantage of me…” Yeah, but that’s the thing: it’s not your choice, it’s not something you can claim agency about. You can’t say “but if I do this or that or if I’m simply tough enough, then men won’t harass me or abuse me.” Tons of strong, tough women are abused, and Melanie should know that because her mom was one of them. Tippi didn’t “let” Hitchcock harass her. He was the pervert, the abuser, the harasser, and she was his victim. As for the rest of it – she sounds like she’s in a good place in her life now. I’m happy for her.

Global Gift Foundation USA Women's Empowerment Luncheon And Speaker Panel In Support Of The Eva Longoria Foundation

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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69 Responses to “Melanie Griffith: ‘I knew not to ever let somebody take advantage of me’”

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  1. Renee2 says:

    Didn’t she move in with Don Johnson when she was 14?? And didn’t she take Tatum O’neal to an orgy when she was 11?? I think that she is remembering things as she wants to and not as they were.

    • Obvious is Obvious says:

      Yeah, she needs to calm down with the “advice”. She’s not the one to be giving it. She’s had a pretty weird past.

    • Queenb says:

      “And didn’t she take Tatum O’neal to an orgy when she was 11?”

      Wait, what???

      • Renee2 says:


        ETA: I just looked it up and apparently it was an opium orgy and it was when Tatum was 12, my mistake

      • Antanina says:

        “Melanie Griffith lured her into an opium-fueled orgy when the Paper Moon actress was just 12, Tatum claims, adding that the two had a sexual encounter that night.” – apparently its all in her autobiography.

    • Miss M says:

      Tatum O’Neal was eleven and she was 18?! 😳
      She is re-writing her history…

    • Redgrl says:

      Well, someone mentally abused her to make her self-hate so much she did that to her face!

    • Dizzy says:

      I don’t know anything about the Tatum O’Neal rumour, but if you read “I’m With The Band”by Pamela Des Barres, you’ll find out all about the beginning of Melanie’s relationship with Don Johnson. She was 14 and he was over 20. Kind of creepy.

      • FhMom says:

        And that qualifies as being taken advantage of, despite what she says.

      • Ali says:

        Coincidentally I just finished that book. And yes it’s creepy… there was quite a bit of underage goingson that wouldn’t fly today though I’m sure it’s still happening.

    • CheckThatPrivilege says:

      Oh, gosh, how awful. Poor Tatum was horrifically let down by the so-called adults in her life, not just her dad but her religious-fanatic mom, too who Tatum said beat her and had an adult friend who molested her when she was six. The accusation against Melanie is horrific. I hope Tatum has found peace and happiness after all she went through.

    • Rebecca says:

      That’s what I was thinking. She wasn’t taken advantage of – except by Ryan O’Neal and Don Johnson. A 14 year old girl can’t possibly be mature enough yet to deal with an older man.

  2. Sheda says:

    She’s unrecognizable.

  3. Smee says:

    I like her sunglasses.

  4. Gaby says:

    I think her mother may have influenced these thoughts a little. Telling her to be strong so she wouldn’t suffer the same. A lot of victims blame themselves, consider themselves weak for being put in those situations. She might even consider any harassment or abuse that happened to her (if they did) wasn’t really abuse. Were things she was willing to do, so no problems, but they might have been an abuse of power or coercion and she simply doesn’t see it.

  5. Myrtle says:

    I do hope she’s happy now, but those strange, self-consciously soft focus photos from the InStyle article are hard to look at. Gratefully, she’s finally fixed her horrible plastic surgery botch but the woman in those photographs bears little, if any, resemblance to Melanie Griffith. Let her rewrite history if she likes, the truth is written all over her face. I’m probably projecting but she makes me feel sad.

  6. Spicecake38 says:

    Just looking at the header photo and before reading the headline,I thought that was a photo of Joan Rivers.

  7. Shannon says:

    I get what she’s saying, but the wording was problematic. Her mom served as a cautionary tale, as moms tend to do LOL, myself included. But the whole, “I’m a tough cookie” think is kind of dead and tired to me. I’m a tough cookie, too. I mean, I can be a b!tch from hell, but it didn’t keep me from being raped. So I kind of wish that line would die and go away.

    • Guest says:

      I think that’s one of the reasons I’m a bitch from hell…NOW…after rape. Sometimes I feel like, okay, just come at me…I have so much rage you really WILL make my day cause then I’ll have every reason to punch, kick and scratch your eyes out…..

  8. ST says:

    Amazing how no one is allowed to have their own truth anymore. Everyone calls bullshit on everyone else.

    • Yup, Me says:

      You can have your own truth AND that truth can be rooted in bullshit at the same time. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. But if you are secure in the fact that your truth is YOURS as defined by YOU, then having others call bullshit shouldn’t rock your world or stop you living.

  9. adastraperaspera says:

    She had a very unusual upbringing–especially that period shown in the documentary about the lions they had as pets. I’ve always liked her as an actress.

    • Wasabi says:

      Yah. And then the lions attacked her and ripped her face.

      • adastraperaspera says:

        The articles about her stepdad making them live with the lions are so scary. Apparently there was a film he was making where dozens of people working on it were, like Melanie, sent to hospital with injuries from lion attacks. Unbelievable he was allowed to do that.

  10. Nancy says:

    She’s had a couple “lovers.” Ha. Who talks like that!! I guess a thrice divorced women in her 60’s who wants us to know she’s still hot. Don’t think about it too much, grosss!!!

    • Redgrl says:

      What’s gross about being sexual when you’re older? Please explain.

      • Nancy says:

        Nothing. When she said she was not in a relationship, but had lovers, it felt unnecessary to say. A little TMI for me.

      • Cojii says:


      • Trashaddict says:

        Kinda age-ist Nancy. How uncomfortable does that make you, she didn’t even go into detail. Would it bug you if Angelina Jolie said that (in fact, she did). I watched a BBC show with an older couple kissing. How often do you even see that portrayed? I almost cheered.

    • Natalia says:

      Yeah, what’s gross about it? I currently have the hottest Hottest lover I’ve Ever had. Expand your mind. 🙄

      • Nancy says:

        AHHHHHH. I always say it wrong. I think she probably has hot sex! My comment was only who cares. She’s not in a relationship, but wanted to let us know about her “lovers!” Don’t take it so seriously…or at least what I say, don’t take seriously, I’m just teasing on her comment, so dramatic she is.

      • Redgrl says:

        @nancy – thanks for answering. But that’s not what your original post said. And what’s wrong with an older person having lovers? Still don’t understand.
        @natalia – right on!

      • Nancy says:

        OMG. You’re killing me. I was mocking her being hot. This women who has tried to freeze her face in time. I don’t find It necessary to talk about one’s love life. Nothing less, nothing more. Except, I will try not to make cutsie comments on people I barely recognize or know simply waiting for my husband to come home for breakfast which he has. Sorry folks.

      • Jaded says:

        I’m 65, Mr. Jaded is 69, we’re both really fit, happy and have loads of hot sex. I guess that makes me gross too.

    • Patty says:

      I agree it is gross, you don’t see old people porn because it’s true, leave Nancy alone and stop bullying her you old assholes! Go have sex then! You all are fucking being judgmental on age differences between people, but trash someone is see old people having sex as gross.

      • Nancy says:

        Lol. Thanks Patty! I honestly wasn’t saying old people are gross. I was saying she is. I tried to explain several times and then went to have a good day with my family. You’re a sweetheart to come to the defense of a larger by the minute preggo! ❤

  11. Shutterbug says:

    OK, so I guess she’s forgetting the part where she was involved in a sexual relationship with then 20-year-old Don Johnson – while he was living with super groupie Pamela Des Barres – when she was just fourteen years old!

    • Cee says:

      OMG imagine being Dakota Johnson and basically realising your father is guilty of statutory rape! Marriage years later doesn’t take from the fact that Don Johnson should have been a better man and stay away from a 14 year old.

    • Stumpycorgi says:

      I was thinking of that, too. If you google pictures of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith from that time, it’s really disturbing. BTW I love Miss Pamela and her books!

    • perplexed says:

      Why didn’t her parents disapprove of the relationship? That’s probably why she doesn’t think anything strange happened. Someone should have stepped in to end the relationship. If the parents thought this was normal, I’m almost (I said almost) wondering if this was not considered odd back then?

      On Google, there are photos of them out and about like this is normal, so I have no idea what the thought process was back then. He’s being photographed with her like he doesn’t fear jail time, so were statutory laws in effect at that time?

      • Shutterbug says:

        Don’t quote me on this, but I am pretty sure they play down the early days of their relationship as nothing more than infatuation/a teenage crush on Melanie’s part. Don Johnson was in a live-in relationship with Pamela Des Barres at the time – Melanie be-friended them both and they all used to hang out together – until Pamela figured out what was actually going on with these two!

        The story is detailed in I’m With the Band by Pamela Des Barres. Funnily enough, Pamela remained close friends with both Don and Melanie for years after all of this happened – and is possibly still friends with them even today.

  12. HadleyB says:

    She got together with Don at 14! She had no choice in the matter at that age… doesn’t she realize that?

    I think she doesn’t realize she IS a victim and he is a disgusting piece of trash.

  13. minx says:

    Melanie must think people don’t remember anything.

  14. perplexed says:

    She had a weird past, but I think she might have been referring to the transactional nature of Hollywood. Maybe that’s where she feels she wasn’t taken advantage of — she knew when a man was probably going to ask for a sexual favour in return for a role, and she said no.

    The Don Johnson stuff was weird (given that she was 14 when the relationship started) but I don’t think a transaction took place, and since she went on to marry him and have a child by him, she probably doesn’t see it as being taken advantage of. That said, I do think what he did was wrong — I’m just talking about her mind interpreted the event.

    • Anna says:

      Right. Melanie pretty clearly sees “being taken advantage of” as sex for a role or something similar. That doesn’t change the fact that her relationship with Don Johnson was highly problematic and likely would be considered rape today. But she’s choosing not to see it that way.

  15. Jane says:

    I agree with her.

    I was letting people take advantage of me by believing their lies when I knew it wasn’t true.

  16. SD says:

    Well put, thanks Kaiser.

    Perverts gonna pervert.

    Rapists, abusers and harassers are that way, regardless of their victim’s strength, personality or actions.

  17. Marty says:

    Her face, my goodness.

  18. FluffyPrincess says:

    First, what Melanie doesn’t seem to realize is that she had the LUXURY of saying no. She was the daughter of a very famous Hollywood actress. Even if someone threatened not to give her any jobs — her mother could still open doors for her–get her into auditions, interviews, ..etc.

    Second, what would have happened if she didn’t get those acting jobs? Would she have starved? Been homeless, have to work some low paying job just to pay rent? No, she would have lived a nice life regardless. So her “tough girl” remarks don’t really mean that much when no matter which way you turn, if you fall, it’s always going to be a soft landing.

    Her surgery is starting to catch up to her, but maybe all that inside is starting to show on the outside. I have a good friend who knows Tippi Hedren quite well, and says that Tippi is lovely, gracious and charming, but not Melanie. Each time my friend encountered Melanie they were shocked by how different she is from Tippi. Apparently, Melanie is rude, has zero class, quite crass, loud and smoked like a chimney and flicked her ashes wherever–inside and out.

    • perplexed says:

      I don’t really think she’s discounting that others don’t have her luxury.

      I think she’s simply saying that she knew what was possible of what could go on because her mother had given her a warning. In a way, that is an admission of having the luxury of a heads-up. She’s simply pointing out the reality of what her existence was like — that she had a mother who warned her of the dangers. Basically, I think she’s giving credit to her mom for letting her know what could potentially happen to her if she wasn’t aware of her surroundings.

      I don’t even like her that much, but I think her words are truthful to her reality in terms of having the benefit of her mom’s knowledge in terms of fending off sexual harassment. It does help if someone warns you of what’s out there and to know to stay away from that.

      • Fluffy Princess says:

        Everything you say is true. Yes, her mom warning her and probably giving her first-hand accounts of what can/has/did happen to her and has value–BUT, when Melanie came around to start acting, was the “casting couch” something that no one else knew about? No. Any mother/father/parent figure probably had some similar advice for their child(ren) who wanted to go into show business. “Watch out for the casting couch, don’t let people take advantage, etc.”, BUT very few have high level *connections* to get them through the hard times or getting bad mouthed with the intention of de-railing/stopping a career. THAT was Melanie’s ace in the hole, and that was always there for her, so being “brave/tough” is easier when the landing/fall out will never be one of ruin. Not so for others. 🙂

  19. Bella says:

    I honestly thought a pic was of Joan Rivers shortly before she died. I was shocked it was Melanie.

  20. Tai says:

    Wonder why she said she has 4 kids? She has 3: Alexander (Bauer), Dakota (Johnson) and Stella (Banderas)

  21. Silo says:

    I actually thought this was Candy Spelling.

    Melanie Griffith is so far removed from a normal view on anything. She was taken advantage of from an early age and probably thinks its normal. People from certain areas do have a warped view of what’s normal.

    This reminds me of a girl in high school who was 16 and brought her 24 year old boyfriend to the prom. Everyone though this was normal and so cool. Even teachers and her parents thought this was ok. They did marry and later divorce, but I always thought, even as a kid, that this was really creepy. And they started dating when she was 15. I would never allow my daughter to date a man that age at 15. Even today on FB years later, no one thinks that that was a weird improper relationship. Then again, I did grow up in an area that has backward views. People develop an odd view of the world when they are surrounded by like-minded people.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I remember an interview Melanie did along time ago in which she said a lot of her friends in school were having sex with their boyfriends at that age, so she didn’t think anything about it.

    • Anna says:

      Agreed. Melanie Griffith had a warped view growing up of what is “normal” and should not be speaking out about it now. She does not seem to realize that it is possible to be taken advantage of and/or raped within a relationship because if she did, she would have to acknowledge herself as a victim in some capacity.

  22. FF says:

    Why would she admit to being taken advantage of? If she took a 12-year old Tatum O’Neill to a place where there would be drugs drinking and sex (which looks a lot like pimping to me) she was taking advantage of others as well as being a victim of statutory rape herself.

    She’d probably carry on believing there was nothing wrong with that. And frankly, she doesn’t have to, just know that it still adds to the fake normalisation of underage rape, that’s all.

    Thank God, times are changing and people can see how messed up that is.