Melanie Griffith’s life has been a wild one. The renowned actress, daughter of Tippi Hedren, made her cinematic debut at the age of 12 and has since appeared in countless major projects.
While Melanie Griffith’s career progressed, her personal life became increasingly public. She’s been married three times, including to Antonio Banderas, and has three children.
Melanie Griffith’s children from her previous two marriages, Alexander Bauer and Dakota Johnson, had a difficult childhood, especially given that they had to deal with a mother who was in a bad position at the time…
Melanie Griffith was a great force in the 1980s. She was erotic and sexual in a manner that European actresses aren’t always and that American actresses virtually never are. And she could act, though I don’t believe Melanie ever fulfilled her full potential.
I adored her in Working Girl and Paradise!
She was born in New York City on August 9, 1957, to parents Peter Griffith and Tippi Hedren, well remembered for her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Griffith’s life has been fantastic in retrospect. At the same time, it’s been heartbreaking. The famous actress, known for portraying strong-but-sexy heroines, has been in a car accident, struggled with alcohol issues, and gone through three divorces.
She was exposed to the pressures of a life in show business from the beginning of her existence. Tippi, her mother, was, as previously said, a superstar, and her childhood was luxurious even by Hollywood standards.
Griffith’s mother married agency and producer Noah Marshall when she was seven years old. The pair decided to produce a lion film after returning from a vacation to Africa. An animal trainer suggested that they let a huge cat into their house to get to know it better.
Melanie Griffith grew up with a pet lion, living with them in Los Angeles, California, in the 1970s.
“I grew up with lions, tigers, and two elephants,” Griffith explains.
Neil, the family’s pet lion, lived with them. Life Magazine photographed Hedren laying on Neil’s back during the unusual incident. The lion even slept in Melanie Griffith’s bed under blankets.
“It was stupid beyond belief,” Griffith subsequently said.
Even though she was not involved in any issues with Neil, things did not go well in another encounter years later.
Met Melanie Griffith featured in her first ad when she was 14 years old, before she turned one. She proceeded to perform commercials and modeling work for a few years until making her uncredited debut in Extra! at the age of 12.
She made her film debut at the age of 14 in The Harrad Experiment, when she met her first major love. On set, Griffith met actor Don Johnson, and the two fell madly in love. Their age gap was, however, quite contentious at the time. Don Johnson was 22 at the time, eight years Melanie’s senior, but their love for one another remained undaunted.
“I thought he was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen,” remarked Griffith.
Her mother feared for the two due of her daughter’s age, but she ultimately caved. Melanie Griffith moved home with Don Johnson when she was 15, and the two married on her 18th birthday.
“They were two beautiful, wonderful people, and here, my daughter was showing signs that I had never seen before in her, with an older man, and there was just sheer panic,” Tippi Hedren, her mother, said in a statement.
Griffith and Johnson married in Las Vegas in 1976. After only six months of marriage, the couple divorced. They would subsequently renew their romance, exchanging vows a second time in 1989.
Melanie Griffith lion mishap
Melanie Griffith’s promising acting career began in the 1970s, when she appeared in films such as Night Moves and Joyride.
Melanie Griffith starred in the 1981 film Roar. Even though her mother and stepfather reared lions for the film, things went horribly wrong on the set of Roar. Being in front of the camera was extremely risky, and Melanie was hurt as a result.
She had been mauled near the eye and was afraid of losing her sight. According to a New Yorker article, she required plastic surgery, while her mother Tippi Hedren developed gangrene and required skin transplants.
Melanie Griffith told The Guardian that the lioness “didn’t mean to hurt me.” I just forgot to be cautious after seven years of growing up around lions. You never know how safe you are, because a single strike might burst your skull like a ping pong ball.”
Melanie Griffith survived the terrifying ordeal. She continued to appear in films, but without any live wild animals. She acted in a number of films, including Body Double, Something Wild, and The Working Girl, for which she received an Academy Award nomination in 1989.
Melanie Griffith also found love for the second time in the 1980s. She married actor Steven Bauer in 1981, and they had a son, Alexander Bauer, four years later.
Dakota Johnson is Melanie Griffith’s daughter.
Their marriage lasted until 1989, when they divorced, and Griffith found love again in Don Johnson. They divorced again in 1996, after welcoming daughter Dakota Johnson, who is now an actress, in 1989.
“You have to understand that we have a tie, and I love him,” Melanie Griffith explained, before adding:
“I’ll always admire [Don Johnson].” But just because you love someone does not mean you can live with them.”
Dakota Johnson and Melanie Griffith are both actors.
Dakota Johnson rose to prominence after appearing in Fifty Shades of Grey and The Social Network. However, because her parents separated when she was seven years old, she had a difficult upbringing. She moved around a lot, attended many schools, and was even homeschooled for a bit.
From an early age, she was frequently seen with her parents on film shoots. It inspired her to pursue a career as an actor, which she accomplished.
Dakota Johnson’s youth, on the other hand, was fraught with difficulties due to her familial status. As a result, she began going to therapy at the age of three.
“The whole shebang,” Dakota Johnson said to Vogue. “All the help you can get.”
Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas’ marriage
“I was so unmoored and discombobulated all the time, I didn’t have an anchor anywhere, and I never learned how to learn the way you’re supposed to as a child.” ‘Why do I have to get to school on time?’ I wondered. What’s the sense of spending six months in Budapest while your stepfather films Evita and you go to school in your hotel room?’ I was a catastrophe, and for a long time I feared there was something wrong with my head. Now I understand that it just functions in a different way.”
Dakota Johnson’s upbringing may have gotten her off on the wrong foot. But then a new individual entered her life and altered everything. She needed an anchor, as she indicated. That’s exactly what she got from her stepfather, Antonio Banderas.
Banderas divorced Ana Leza, whom he’d been married to for nine years, in 1996, the same year Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson divorced. He had long liked Melanie Griffith after seeing her in Gone Girl and on the Academy Awards red carpet.
“The first time I went to the Academy Awards after we got a nomination for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, we got on the 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,” Banderas said in an interview with Vulture.
“So I asked [director Pedro Almodóvar] who she was. What is her name? ‘Can you tell me her name?’ ‘That’s Melanie Griffith!’ said Pedro. ‘That’s it,’ I replied. Oh my goodness.’ “I married her six years later.
Dakota Johnson’s marriage to stepfather Antonio Banderas
The two met while filming the comedy film Two Much in 1995, and they had one actual thing in common. Both were dissatisfied in their marriages, and Banderas and Griffith understood one other’s predicaments.
Antonio Banderas instantly felt an attraction to Melanie Griffith when working together. He thought she was funny, generous, sweet, and beautiful, and after Two Much, the two stayed in touch. In May 1996, the two tied the knot and welcomed daughter Stella later the same year.
Not only did Antonio Banderas become a father to Stella, but the well-respected actor also became a stepfather to Alexander – from her second marriage to Steven Bauer – and Dakota Johnson.
For both Alexander and Dakota, Antonio Banderas became vital, as they finally got a stepfather who was there for her all the time.
In the beginning, however, Banderas explained that it was difficult for the children to accept him because they didn’t know how long he’d stick around.
“I was totally inexperienced. Suddenly I had a 6-year-old girl, a 10-year-old boy, and Stella came along almost immediately,” he told AARP. “I was, ‘Oh, my God!’ But as soon as the kids knew that I was there to stay, they were fine. They needed solid ground in which they could grow. As soon as I realized that, I started establishing my relationship, giving them security, little by little doing the father thing.”
Changed Dakota Johnson’s life
Dakota and Alexander realized that Antonio Banderas was not a temporary man. He took on the role of their stepfather and helped them in any way possible.
For Dakota, this was especially important. Her childhood had been more than stressful and uncertain. In Banderas, she got a stepfather that taught her many things, including “true passion and discipline.”
In 2011, he revealed that the kids call him “Paponio, “which is a mix of “Papa” and “Antonio.”
During an award ceremony in 2019, when Antonio Banderas received the Hollywood Actor Award, Dakota Johnson and Melanie Griffith presented him with the trophy.
”I come from a family of many a marriage, and I got very lucky,” Johnson said in her speech.
”I got a bonus dad who I realized that, over time, is actually one of the most influential people in my whole life. When I was six years old, my mother married a man who brought an unbelievably bright light, a whole new world of creativity and culture, and one remarkably magical little sister into our family.”
”He loved my mother, and my siblings and I so big, and so fiercely and so loud, that it would change all of our lives together,” Dakota added in her speech.
Strong bond to this day
The relationship between Antonio Banderas and his stepchildren continued to be strong even after he and Melanie Griffith divorced in 2014.
Even though Melanie Griffith and Antonio aren’t married anymore, their family bond will forever be strong. As of today, Banderas is in a relationship with Nicole Kimpel. But as soon as he is in Los Angeles, he makes sure to spend time with his stepchildren and ex-wife.
The divorce between the two in 2014 wasn’t dramatic at all, for which his stepchildren were very grateful, Banderas explained.
He added that he will always cherish the time he and Melanie had together – and that he always will love her. And regarding his stepdaughter, Dakota Johnson, he is like her biological, very proud father.
“I remember those years as very effervescent and really beautiful. I am not married with Melanie anymore, but she is my family. She is probably one of my best friends, if not the best friend that I have. My family is there, Dakota [Johnson], Little Estella and Alexander,” Antonio Banderas told Vulture in 2019.
”I met her when she was five years old,” he added. “I followed every single step of it. I’m so proud of her. I saw her the other day in Toronto, and she looks — as I said in the social networks when I put a picture of her and myself, I put there, ‘My radiant Dakota.’”
Melanie Griffith today
At 65, Melanie Griffith is happily single. Her last appearance on the big screen was in 2020, when she had a minor role and co-starred alongside her daughter Dakota in The High Note.
Today, she devotes her time to her family, and according to BestLife, Melanie is currently writing her memoir. And there will probably be a lot to pen down – including her battle against cancer.
The actress was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2010, and eight years later, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer.
Doctors had to remove a cancerous cell on her nose, the whole event took a toll on Melanie.
“It’s a scary thing when you’re an actress and you depend on your face for work,” the actress told InStyle and continued:
“But I realize I have to put a Band-Aid on it, and it’s fine. I just look like a dork.”
Luckily, everything went fine in the end – Melanie is now a loud advocate of cancer and also supports the efforts of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
You can say what you want about Melanie’s looks and her turbulent life, but she does seem to have a really sweet soul!