It has been 18 years since Hollywood couple Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas tied the knot, and they have now officially split. Griffith, 56, has filed to end her marriage to 53-year-old Banderas, citing irreconcilable differences. However, the split between Griffith and Banderas reportedly took place months ago. The two reported drifting apart due to conflicting schedules.
This will be Griffith’s fourth divorce. She was married to actor Don Johnson twice. In 1976 she and Johnson were married when she was only 14 years old. Johnson was 22 and already divorced twice. Griffith was then married to Steven Bauer from 1982 to 1987. They had one child together. In 1989 she married Johnson again and they had one child together; actress Dakota Johnson. Dakota is set to star in the upcoming film 50 Shades of Grey. In 1996 Griffith left Johnson, who was battling substance abuse. She began an affair with the already-married Banderas, whose wife at the time was actress Ana Leza. They met and fell in love in 1995 on the set of the film Too Much.
In a statement to ABC News, Griffith and Banderas noted that they had consensually and thoughtfully decided to end their near 20-year marriage in a friendly and loving manner, with honor and respect for each other and their family and friends. Yet reports indicated that Griffith and Banderas split months ago, after having drifted apart. They were reportedly waiting for the right time to announce the split. It was Griffith who filed the paperwork, and she is seeking custody of their daughter Stella, who will be turning 18 in September.
Over the years the marriage has endured a number of challenges, including Griffith’s bout with addiction. She entered a rehab facility twice during the marriage for addiction to painkillers. In 2009 she underwent a surgical procedure for skin cancer. Griffith is the daughter of legendary actress Tipi Hendren, who was best known for her role in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds.
Banderas and daughter Stella were seen together on Wednesday enjoying lunch at the Beverly Hills restaurant Matsuhisa On Thursday Griffith attended the AFI tribute to Jane Fonda. She posed happily alongside Eva Longoria and was wearing her wedding ring.
Rumors of marital problems surfaced in 2012, but friends of the couple noted that all was well between the two actors. This was reportedly after Banderas was captured on video dancing with actress Mallika Sherawat in Cannes. Griffith was later seen not wearing her wedding ring.
In recent years, Banderas’ popularity was revived through the success of his comical Puss in Boots voice over. Puss in Boots is a character from the film franchise Shrek. The popularity of Puss in Boots lead Banderas and the animated character to their own feature film, which was released in 2011.
In the film industry, a marriage lasting nearly two decades can be considered a commendable feat. With their daughter Stella being nearly of age, the timing may have been ripe for Griffith and Banderas to drift into separate directions and make the split.
Opinion by Janet Walters Levite