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Why Antonio Banderas Calls Ex Melanie Griffith His ‘Best Friend’

Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith quickly became one of the most iconic Hollywood couples after tying the knot in 1996. They ended up separating in 2015, but Banderas recently revealed that there is still a lot of love between the two actors. 

“Melanie is not my wife anymore, but I think she is my best friend,” he recently admitted to People magazine. “I love her and will love her until the day I die. She’s my family.” As sad as we were to hear about the couple’s split a few years ago, we’re glad to know they don’t hold any grudges against each other. 

Banderas shared the kind words about his ex-wife while promoting his film, Pain & Glory, which reconnected him with longtime friend and director Pedro Almodóvar. It was thanks to one of their previous films together, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, that Banderas first caught a glimpse of Griffith up close. “We got on the [Academy Awards] 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,” he explained. “So, I said to Pedro, ‘Who is she? Who is she? What is her name?’ Pedro said, ‘That’s Melanie Griffith!’ I said, ‘That’s it. Oh my God.’” 

That starstruck moment happened back in 1989, six years before the pair actually met on the set of Two Much in early 1996. They were married and welcomed their daughter, Stella del Carmen Banderas, 23, that same year. Banderas also became step-father to Griffith’s two children from her previous marriages, actress Dakota Johnson, 30, and Alexander Bauer, 34. 

“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 revealed. “Very soon they understood that. They called me Paponio, a mixture between Papa and Antonio.” 

How sweet is that? It’s no wonder they’ve all stayed so close even after he and their mother went their separate ways. The five of them all still even spend holidays and special occasions together. 

You can catch Pain & Glory in theaters now or log into your Netflix account for Banderas’ other recent film, The Laundromat, which co-stars Gary Oldman and Meryl Streep. 

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