It's been almost five years since they parted ways but he still considers her his family and the love he has for his family will never lessen.
Some relationships last a lifetime even when they change their form. Fate has strange ways of bringing people together, and the bond formed is so strong that it can't be broken no matter how many hurdles they face. Whether it's platonic or romantic, love is strong irrespective of the kind of bond they share. And the kind of relationship actor Antonio Banderas has with his ex-wife, Melanie Griffith is a testament to this. The couple got divorced after 20 years of marriage but he still holds her close to his heart despite the separation.
The first time Banderas saw the Working Girl actress was at the Academy Awards ceremony. He was attracted to her from the first time he laid eyes on her and it didn't take too long for her to feel the same way about the Spanish actor.
"The first time I went to the Academy Awards after we got a nomination for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, we got on the red carpet and I saw this blonde woman and I knew her because I saw movies of her, but I didn’t remember [her name] at the time. So, I said to Pedro [Almodóvar], 'Who is she? Who is she? What is her name?' Pedro said, 'That’s Melanie Griffith!' I said, 'That’s it. Oh my God.' Six years later, I was married to her," he told Vulture.
Banderas said that he found it exhausting to have a social life in Hollywood and instead stayed home mostly once they got married. "I could understand her and when we went out, for me, it was a lot of work. A lot of work to have to talk, to talk, to talk," he said.
Those initial years went by fast, the actor said. "My life was fast and fascinating if I actually see it in retrospective. I remember those years as very effervescent and really beautiful. I am not married with Melanie anymore but she is my family. She is probably one of my best friends, if not the best friend that I have," he said.
That is not the only time he called her his best friend. In another interview with People, the Pain & Glory actor spoke about her in endearing terms. "Melanie is not my wife anymore, but I think she is my best friend. I love her and will love her until the day I die. She’s my family," said the 59-year-old.
When they had met, Griffith had children, Dakota Johnson and Alexander Bauer, from her previous relationships, and they had another child together, Stella. Dakota, 30, Don Johnson and Griffith's daughter, still considers herself close to Banderas and continues to address him as their father.
"I was there because I love their mother and I am totally taken with their mother and they were the most important part of what she came with," he told People. "Very soon they understood that. They called me Paponio, a mixture between Papa and Antonio," he said.
While they split up in 2015, they continue to do family holidays together. For him, their early time together as a family as five were the "beautiful years." As a couple, they had decided that their children should have a stable childhood instead of hopping around the world with their parents.
"Melanie decided to stay home when I was working outside the United States to give them the life they deserve to have like everybody else," he says. "It was not fair for them just to be traveling all around the world. I think now that it was very interesting because they knew other realities."
Now, while he lives in London with his girlfriend, Banderas still feels just as much as home in Los Angeles since that's where his family lives. "I love to see them," he added.