Antonio Banderas is talking openly about his issues, marriage and what drew him to Melanie Griffith initially in the AARP The Magazine’s November issue.
Making the cover, Antonio Banderas discusses wife Melanie Griffith and remaining faithful in a Hollywood marriage amidst the Schwarzeneggers and Weiners of the world.
He tells the magazine he was involved with Griffith’s recovery, but in a separate interview she tells the magazine “That’s all in his head.” However, they seem really in love and have a strong marriage and deep respect for each other.
AARP.org interview from The Magazine- November Cover Star Antonio Banderas
On the secret to a successful marriage:
Antonio B: “The secret is that we had failures before. And love at the beginning is a rush. It’s big, full of energy, beautiful. But it doesn’t last like that. Melanie and I talked about that a lot.”
“That thing at the beginning disappeared, but it became something better. We discovered the value and warmth of family and what is home—that we can be stronger together.”
“Even in crisis, we have been patient enough to detect that at the end of the tunnel was a light. We have had as many problems as anybody. We’ve never hidden it. We’ve been open about addictions, in the case of Melanie. She has overcome her problems beautifully. I didn’t know she was so strong. It makes me love her even more, because she has been an unbelievable lion fighting, and she got it. The last [relapse] was three years ago, and it just welded us.”
On participating in Griffith’s treatment for addiction to painkillers:
Antonio B: “The whole family participated. We did all the therapies together—the kids, everybody. It was a very unique experience, not only for Melanie. It was very rewarding at the end.”
On the importance of being open with their children:
Antonio B: “The pretending is the worst, because kids are so smart. They can see through all of those things, and if you don’t talk openly about problems, it creates a very dark place. They carry that through the rest of their lives, to their marriages, to their kids.”
On avoiding high profile infidelity (like that of Anthony Weiner and Arnold Schwarzenegger):
Antonio B: “It’s all about balance in life. We all need water, obviously, but I’m not going to drink the pool. [Laughs.] I think it’s very important that you know exactly where the limits are.”
“It’s a very, very personal issue how you deal with that. [You have to ask yourself ] if you are willing to damage what you have—your kids, your family, your friends. How do you deal in your sexual life with your wife? How rich can you make it in order to not have to look for something outside your marriage? What other things can you do, in your home? What are the things that you may tell her, or are you going to be always lying?”
On his chemistry with Griffith in 1995’s Two Much:
“Antonio B: I saw this sweet, vulnerable soul, funny, also very smart and generous. I saw her with her kids, and she was so beautiful as a mom.”
“It happens sometimes that you connect with your costar. It’s normal. But at the end of the movie, it’s just ‘delete’—you go home and it’s good-bye. But it didn’t happen. We kept calling each other on the phone all day long. And then one day we had to actually confront it. And we did. It was not easy.”
On deciding to make LA his home:
Antonio B: “I met Melanie and had to make a decision about where we were going to live. She had two kids, and they had two different fathers in America. It would have been very difficult if we moved to Europe, because those kids needed to visit their parents. The kids cannot pay the price of whatever love story was happening between Melanie and me.”
“I didn’t have kids. So it was clear: I am the one.”
On transitioning his success in Spain to the U.S.:
“I had done a lot of films with the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, and one of them, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, was nominated for an Academy Award. I came to Los Angeles for the awards show, met some agents, and was eventually asked to read for The Mambo Kings. I thought that I would do that movie, go back to Europe, and just have the story of what happened in America that I could one day tell to my grandsons.”
Melanie Griffith on her husband, Antonio Banderas
On Banderas’ comment that her recent stint in rehab “welded” them:
GRIFFITH: “I’m sorry to say, that’s in his mind. I started on pain pills when I hurt my knee skiing and just kept taking them. The kids knew; Dakota and Stella called me on it. Antonio was in London at the time. I went away to rehab for three months; it took 10 days just to detox. We had two family weeks there, but we didn’t follow through.”
“Antonio was supportive to the extent that he can be, but if you’re not an alcoholic or drug addict, and you find out that your wife is a bad one, it’s hard to deal with. As long as I’m okay, he’s okay. I wish he would go to a meeting with me or to Al-Anon, but it’s very foreign to him. Addiction runs in my family but not in his.”
“I don’t mean that against him. I would like him to do more, but it’s a difficult thing to have happen in any family, and in that way he has been totally by my side. He really is the greatest guy.”
On how they keep their marriage going:
GRIFFITH: “We’re willing to change with each other, let old things die and new things be born. But it’s a constant endeavor.”
On what first attracted her to Banderas:
GRIFFITH: “Everything, really. His way. He’s very funny. The first thing he asked me was my age. I said, ‘That’s the rudest thing anyone has asked me first. ’But there was something about him. Still is. I just love him.”
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