They had one of the longest lasting and perhaps strongest relationships in Hollywood. But now Melanie Griffith is divorcing Antonio Banderas, whom she has loved since 1995.
In many ways Melanie has lived the stereo-typical Hollywood life, and not always the good one. She’s grown up in Hollywood thanks to being Tippi Hedren’s daughter.
She fell in love with Don Johnson, her first husband, at the age of only 14. She already had alcohol problems at that age, more due to boredom than any other reason it would appear.
She married Don Johnson, and then split from him after just six months. Then she married Steven Bauer, with whom she had her first child. When that relationship had run its course, she went back to Don Johnson to give it another shot and this time they lasted almost seven years, having daughter Dakota Johnson together.
Finally she met Antonio Banderas on the set of Two Much and ended up leaving Don Johnson for him. Antonio left his first wife for Melanie in return. Clearly there was something very strong going on between these two. Once their respective divorces had been finalized they married each other pretty much right away.
Antonio once admonished that they had been given no more than six months together by others. Nobody seemed to believe that there was anything substantial between this somewhat unlikely couple. They had to defend their love many times throughout the years. But they persisted for 18 years. In Hollywood this is not easily achieved.
But they had problems. Melanie went to rehab several times during their marriage. She once said that whilst Antonio was always there for her, supporting her as best he could, he also didn’t really understand what was happening to her and could never be truly there. She came from a family with a background of substance abuse, he did not.
Melanie’s problems certainly put a strain on their relationship, but Antonio stood by his wife many times. On the other hand he has been accused of cheating on Melanie several times in the past few years. And his current girlfriend Nicole Kimpel was apparently already in the picture before Melanie ended up filing for divorce due to irreconcilable differences in June last year.
One can’t help but feel sad about the end of their marriage. They’ve been through a lot together and weathered many storms against the outside. But in the end it seems to have been too much. According to their statement, they decided to thoughtfully and consensually separate, promising to do so in a loving and friendly manner with respect for each other, their family, friends and the time they had together.
So far they have kept it amicable. Melanie did ask for spousal support in her divorce filings and, oddly, full physical, but shared legal, custody of their then 17-year old daughter. Now that Stella has turned 18 this seems somewhat of a moot request. According to one report, at least, Melanie also wants the couple’s three dogs. Given Antonio’s globetrotting career that frequently takes him to Europe, this might actually be the better arrangement for the dogs.
Not long after filing for divorce, Melanie went on record saying that she was doing fine and felt happy. She looked it, too. But she has been undergoing a laser-removal treatment to have the heart shaped tattoo removed that contains Antonio’s name and used to adorn her upper arm in a prominent position.
Antonio recently went on record saying that it had been an intense year after the divorce was announced. He’s still be working together with Melanie, because she was cast in a movie he directed. Their professional relationship is certainly not over yet. But he also said that he always loved Melanie, still does and always will.
That hasn’t stopped him from moving on with Nicole Kimpel, however, who is twenty years his junior.
He is not denying their relationship either, because an interviewer congratulated him on falling in love again and finding happiness once more, for which Antonio thanked him. The two have been seen in public as well, so whatever secret there might have been before Antonio separated from Melanie, it’s a secret no more.
Given her history of substance abuse, the most important thing to wish Melanie is strength.
She is a formidable woman in her own right; she has her mother to lean on and three children, who seem to be supportive of her. No divorce is ever free of pain and sadness, so hopefully the divorce will continue to go smoothly for her and perhaps sometime soon she will find happiness again with someone else.