EntertainmentCelebritiesAntonio Banderas, happy with his new girlfriend Nicole

Antonio Banderas, happy with his new girlfriend Nicole


Antonio Banderas is an actor, singer, director and producer. But, above all, one of the best-known Spanish faces in the world, who earned the title of ‘latin lover’.

His first vocation: the theater

Jose Antonio Dominguez Banderas (Benalmadena, August 10, 1960) wanted to be a teacher like his mother, Ana, and began to study Teaching, but he stopped his career to enroll in an ‘amateur’ theater company that represented ‘ Jesus Christ Superstar ‘ in schools. . That experience made him think about going to Madrid to look for luck, but his mother convinced him to enroll in the Malaga School of Dramatic Art and Dance, where he spent three years.

When he finished his studies, the Madrid bug bit him again and this time he fulfilled his wish. There he began traveling through Spain with the work ‘ The History of the Tarantos ‘ until the company was dissolved. After that adventure, he got a role in the play ‘La hija del aire’ and it was on that stage that Pedro Almodovar discovered him, who proposed that he act in ‘Labyrinth of passions’ . It was 1982, the year in which his career would take off unstoppably, in the middle of the Madrid scene.

From Almodovar boy to ‘In bed with Madonna’

It was the same year that he would go to the San Sebastian Festival for the first time with Almodóvar but he would not do it “with all expenses paid.” He only had 350 pesetas in his pocket and had to hitchhike back to Madrid. And it is that the principles are usually hard. Antonio worked as an usher in a theater in Lavapies until he filmed ‘La corte del Pharaoh’ and ‘Requiem for a Spanish peasant’. And in 1986 Almodóvar recruited him again for ‘La ley del deseo’ and ‘Matador’. During the filming of the latter, he met Eva Cobo, with whom he would come to live in Madrid until Eva, shortly after, moved to Barcelona, ​​ending the relationship.

At the end of that same year, he met Ana Leza, also an actress, and on July 27, 1987, they were married in the Church of San Nicolas de Bari, in Madrid. At that time, Antonio had become a full-fledged Almodóvar boy. With the director from La Mancha he would shoot ‘ Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown ‘ and ‘ Atame‘.

In 1989 the awards would begin to rain and he would travel to the United States to shoot his first American film. Her name began to sound more and more, and became synonymous with ‘latin lover’. Madonna helped this to happen by saying in her documentary ‘In bed with Madonna’ that she was “the sexiest man in the world” and that she tried to seduce him even though he was married to Ana Leza. That only fueled the rumors of an idyll between the two artists, but the story stayed there, just a rumor.

The jump to Hollywood

In 1991 he made the leap to Hollywood, where he moved with his wife, and shot ‘Los reyes del mambo’, a film with which he surprised with his singing skills. A year later, he made his first appearance at the Oscars ceremony with Sharon Stone, to deliver the statuette for best special effects. He was the first Spanish actor commissioned to deliver an Oscar.

Later, ‘Philadelphia’ would arrive, together with Tom Hanks, ‘The House of the Spirits’, ‘Interview with the Vampire’ and ‘El Mariachi’, among others. His schedule did not have a single slot but in early April he made a break to take his brother Francisco Javier to Los Angeles. They had detected a brain aneurysm and had to perform a delicate intervention. Antonio wanted him to be operated on in the United States by the best specialists, and the intervention was a complete success. To celebrate, the two brothers returned to Malaga to spend Holy Week with their family and were even able to participate together in the procession of their land.

His wedding to Melanie Griffith

In December 1994, his sentimental life suddenly changed. Fernando Trueba signed him to shoot ‘Two much’ and there he met Melanie Griffith. A few months later, a British newspaper published that the couple were living a passionate romance and said that they could not even stop when they shouted “cut” and were in the middle of a love scene. Shortly after, they would not only confirm the romance but also ask their respective partners, Ana Leza and Don Johnson, for divorce.

In Cannes, during the presentation of the first film he shot in Hollywood as an absolute protagonist, ‘Desperado’, Antonio confirmed the painful separation but refused to talk about Melanie. However, a few days later, during an awards ceremony in Los Angeles, both would confirm their desire to start a new life together. Antonio would say of Melanie: ” I liked her smile and her endless legs. Then I fell in love with her understanding of her.”

In November 1995 he lived through a very bitter moment. Ana Leza, her still wife, filed a lawsuit for assault against her in a Los Angeles court and accused him of wanting to bribe her with 30 million pesetas (180,000 euros) to get rid of her. Until the end of April 1996, he did not obtain a final divorce. Banderas had to pay Leza approximately 721,000 euros per year.

After closing the story with Ana, Antonio and Melanie secretly married on May 14, 1996 at the Marylebone civil registry in London. Melanie was wearing a gold ring with a large diamond, valued at around 114,000 euros, which Antonio had given her three days before the wedding. That year, they also had their daughter, Stella del Carmen, who was born on September 24 in Marbella, and they decided to live between Los Angeles and the city of Malaga.

96 was a year of ups and downs, as he experienced a wedding, a birth, but also a new and painful episode with his ex-wife. He claimed the houses in Madrid and New York, half of his fortune, and Antonio’s financial adviser announced that the actor was on the verge of bankruptcy, unable to pay taxes due to not having enough cash due to the Leza’s request.

Professional successes and personal bitterness

In 1997 the good news returned: he was nominated for the Golden Globes for his role in ‘Evita’, a film he shot with Madonna; He began filming ‘La mascara del Zorro’, and on a personal level, he embarked with his brother Javier to compete in the Copa del Rey sailing. A couple of years later, he would go so far as to buy the Bribon I, the ship with which King Juan Carlos competed. And it is that Antonio is passionate about sailing, and also about motorcycles. Melanie gave him a Harley Davidson and later he created his own team, the Jack & Jones Team by Antonio Banderas.

The actor has never lacked projects beyond celluloid, above all, solidarity ones. Among others, he created the Diavolo Foundation, which donates money from advertisements, reports and films to different solidarity organizations; he is a UNICEF ambassador and collaborates with Intermon-Oxfam and Save the Children, among other NGOs.

In 1998, he launched himself as a director with the movie ‘Crazy in Alabama’, in which Melanie, her daughter, Dakota, and Stella del Carmen intervene, but which did not obtain much critical success. And in 2006 he would direct again. The film was entitled ‘The way of the English’.

2008 would arrive with bad news for Antonio. His father, Jose Dominguez Prieto, former police commissioner, would pass away after a long illness. And 2009 would not be an easy year either. Melanie would enter a rehabilitation clinic for the third time to try to overcome her addiction to alcohol, something that she would achieve successfully and once the bump was over, the actor would confess: “The real heroine of the rehabilitation success was Melanie. She put our love and our family to alcohol. She is a magnificent woman.”

In 2010 he would shoot ‘You will meet the man of your dreams’ with Woody Allen and in 2011 he would meet again with Almodovar to shoot ‘The Skin I Live In’. But one of the latest and most anticipated Banderas productions is titled ’33 days’; in it he plays Pablo Picasso during the creation of Guernica. A very special role for this man from Malaga who had the opportunity to give life to his brilliant countryman, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.  

2014 is revealed as a great year in terms of professional recognition for the actor from Malaga, since he was awarded the Honorary Award of the Sitges International Festival. In February 2015 he received the Goya Honorifico, after having been nominated for best actor four times. He had never won the precious award.

The divorce

Rumors of a sentimental crisis between Antonio and Melanie began to grow stronger. They tried to deny them until in the spring of 2014, during the Cannes Film Festival, the actor from Malaga not only came without his wife, but was also seen having a great time with a spectacular blonde: one of the Kimpel twins, Nicole, from 34 years old and of Dutch nationality. For Melanie, those pictures were the straw that broke the camel’s back and she filed for divorce. Antonio Banderas cried at the San Sebastian Film Festival when remembering Melanie.

Melanie hired the lawyer Laura Wasser, the best matrimonial lawyer in the US (she charges 600 euros an hour), with a view to making her divorce as advantageous as possible for her. Antonio Banderas’s fortune was estimated at the time of separation at around 40 million euros. Melanie, in addition to a pension, wanted half of her assets. During the 18 years of marriage they acquired important real estate: the house in Los Angeles, the one in Aspen, an apartment in New York and the house in Marbella that, one day, belonged to Encarna Sanchez. In total, the four farms exceeded 10 million euros when they were purchased, but their value has increased over the years to almost triple.

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