Even though her parents got a divorce, Dakota Johnson still refers her stepdad Antonio Banderas as “papi”

At age 35, the inexperienced Antonio Banderas unexpectedly became the father of children aged 6 and 10.

He now has a very different life after many years, yet he is still a member of their family.

Movie actor Antonio Banderas said it was unnerving to marry into a happy family of three while being inexperienced. He married a woman with two small children.

Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas met while they were still married to other people. Griffith was still legally wed to the actor Don Johnson, whom she had previously wed twice, in 1994.

Later, she developed feelings for Banderas, who was also her co-star in the 1995 romantic comedy “Two Much.” Technically, he was still wed to his first wife, the actress Ana Leza. But at that time, the couple was experiencing their separation.

On May 14, 1996, in London, a month after concluding their divorces, Banderas and Griffith remarried in a private ceremony.

The “The Legend of Zorro” star stated to AARP in November 2011 that he had “admired Melanie long before I met her” when asked what drew him to the New York native.

When Banderas first saw Griffith in the 1988 film “Working Girl,” he was awestruck by her beauty and said, “Wow, she’s so lovely, so amazing.” Later, he saw her on the red carpet at the Oscars, but he couldn’t remember her name:

“It’s Melanie Griffith, you idiot!,” remarked Pedro Almodovar. Tonight, she will compete for an Academy Award! We get married six years later!”

Banderas admitted they were both “unhappy” in their marriages when questioned about how they transitioned from their professional relationship to becoming romantically linked while appearing in “Two Much.”

Sometimes things don’t work out, and that’s just the way it is. But we were aware of our discontent. She was very lovely as a mother when I saw her with her children, the Spaniard remarked.

Banderas added that while it is common for co-stars to bond while filming and that most of the time, everyone cuts ties afterward, this cannot be said of him and Griffith.

They communicated regularly until they formally acknowledged their affections for one another. He said something that “was not simple” to do. The “Frida” actress had two small children from her previous marriages when she wed the Golden Globe Award winner.

Actor Steven Bauer, whom Griffith married in 1981 and divorced in 1989, was the father of her first child, son Alexander. Dakota, her oldest child, was born along with Johnson, to whom she was married from 1976 to 1989 and 1996 to.

Banderas became Griffith’s children’s “inexperienced” stepfather.
When asked how it was trying to become a stepfather to Griffin’s daughter and son, Banderas acknowledged that it was challenging since he had to reassure the children that he was there to stay:

It was challenging since the children had to accept me despite my complete inexperience. My 6-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy appeared out of nowhere. But as soon as the kids realized I would be staying, they behaved normally. They required a stable environment to grow in.

The “Spy Kids” actor started “building my relationship, providing them stability, little by little doing the father thing” after coming to that conclusion.

Banderas revealed that it took his stepchildren “less than a year” to “realize that I was not transient” when asked how long it took to alleviate their fears.

Soon after, his daughter Stella was born, which was overwhelming for him because he was still working on winning over Alexander and Dakota.

Banderas’s Career Had a Significant Impact on His Stepdaughter’s
Banderas put a lot of effort into getting along with his stepchildren, and it paid off because he was crucial to Dakota’s acting career. The “Fifty Shades of Grey” actress made her acting debut in 1999 with her mother in “Crazy in Alabama,” the directing debut of her stepfather. Sondra was played by Dakota in the movie.

She spent time with Banderas on set when she was a little child and recalls giving Madonna an Easter gift while they were filming “Evita” in Budapest in 1996.

Such memories are treasured by her stepdad as well, who once gushed: “She’s my daughter. I cherish her. I’ve been touring the globe while carrying her on my shoulders.

Banderas also shared Dakota’s adorable childhood nickname for him, which is a combination of his name and the term “daddy” from his home tongue:

“Dakota called me Paponio, a combination of papa, which is the Spanish word for “daddy,” and Antonio. My name is Antonio, thus I’m Paponio.

Sadly, after 18 years of marriage, Banderas and Dakota’s mother filed for divorce in June 2014. They issued a joint statement that read:

“We, Melanie and Antonio, have carefully and mutually decided to dissolve our nearly twenty-year marriage in a loving and courteous manner, honoring and respecting each other, our family and friends, and the wonderful time we have shared together.”

Griffith and Banderas ended their relationship amicably, citing irreconcilable differences as the cause of their split.

Dakota and her stepfather still have a loving relationship.
Years later, in a heartfelt speech, her daughter gave Banderas the Best Actor Award at the 2019 Hollywood Film Awards. Dakota became upset while praising her stepfather and used the nickname she gave him as a child:

“I came from a family with multiple marriages, and I was quite fortunate. I received a bonus father, who I later discovered was actually one of the most significant figures in my life.

The Texan added that Banderas “introduced one wonderfully magical young sister into our family” and “brightened their lives” by sharing his sense of “creativity and culture” with them.

Dakota said, choking up, “My stepfather! Suddenly, Antonio Banderas entered our life. We were amazed by his abstract English since he was so animated, witty, and engaging. She claimed that because of how much he “loved” her mother, her, and her siblings, their “lives were permanently transformed.”

Dakota was one of the “two persons” Banderas mentioned in his acceptance speech as the reason he chose them was because she has always called him “Papi” and still does, which he adores. The loving stepdad said to E! News Online that he “had no idea” that his stepchild would be honoring him with such a touching statement after the event:

“Everything was unexpected. Although I was aware that she would deliver the speech, I had no idea how she would go about doing it. She gave me no information.

The happy father said it brought back all the memories he had had with his blended family and that “it was a reinforcement” that the time he spent with Griffith was about the whole family rather than just them. All of them were worthwhile.

When promoting “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” an animated movie that will be released the same weekend as Dakota’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in February 2015, Banderas praised Dakota for her acting prowess.

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