Antonio Banderas’ stepdaughter still calls him ‘papi’, even after he split with her mom

    Any man can be a father, but not every one of them can be a dad – and this is something Antonio Banderas experienced first hand when he married his second wife in 1996.

    At the age of 35, the actor found himself unexpectedly becoming the stepfather to two young children, a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old.

    Despite his initial inexperience, Banderas embraced the challenge, and over the years, he has become an integral part of their blended family. Keep reading to learn more about this heartwarming story!

    Love at first sight
    Banderas’ journey into blended family life began when he married actress Melanie Griffith. The two met while still married to other partners, but they eventually found love with each other.

    The Málaga born star admired Griffith long before they met, recalling his fascination with her beauty after seeing her in the 1988 movie Working Girl. Their connection deepened while working together on the film Two Much, where both stars were navigating unhappy marriages.

    Reflecting on their relationship, Banderas admitted, via People: “Things don’t work out sometimes, and that’s the way it goes. But we recognized that we were unhappy. I saw her with her kids, and she was so beautiful as a mom.”

    A blended family
    When Banderas and Griffith tied the knot in 1996, Griffith brought two children into the marriage: Alexander Bauer, her son with actor Steven Bauer, and Dakota Johnson, her daughter with actor Don Johnson. Banderas stepped into the role of a stepfather, but he has acknowledged that, at the time, the transition was challenging.

    “It was hard because the kids had to accept me, and I was totally inexperienced,” he told AARP. However, with time, he gained the trust of the children and became a stable presence in their lives.

    Describing the process of blending into the family, Banderas, now 63, continued: “As soon as the kids knew I was there to stay, they were fine. They needed solid ground in which they could grow.” Overcoming the initial hurdles, Banderas began establishing his relationship with the children, providing them with security and gradually taking on the role of a father figure.

    His commitment to the family was put to the test when his daughter Stella was born, adding a new dynamic to the blended family. Despite the challenges, the Spanish actor continued to foster a loving relationship with his stepchildren.

    Once a dad, always a dad
    One significant impact of Banderas’ involvement in his stepdaughter Dakota’s life was in her acting career. Dakota, who later shot to fame for her role in Fifty Shades of Grey, made her acting debut in Banderas’s directorial debut, Crazy in Alabama, in 1999. Banderas played a pivotal role in Dakota’s early exposure to the film industry.

    Banderas’ influence on Dakota’s career was evident when she presented him with the Best Actor Award at the 2019 Hollywood Film Awards. In her heartfelt speech, Dakota mentioned how important the actor has been in her life, stating: “He was so vibrant and fun and funny, and his English was abstract, and we found it amazing.” She affectionately referred to him as “Paponio,” a combination of “papa” (daddy in Spanish) and Antonio, per HOLA.

    Despite Banderas and Griffith’ divorce in 2014 after 18 years of marriage, the bond between Banderas and Dakota has continued to remain strong. At the Hollywood Film Awards, Dakota, now 34, praised her former stepfather, saying: “My stepfather! Antonio Banderas burst into our lives… He loved [us] so much that it changed our lives forever.”

    In response, Banderas dedicated the award to Dakota and expressed his love, stating: “She’s my daughter. I love her.”

    It’s clear that Banderas’ journey as a stepfather is another show of the transformative power of love and commitment within blended families. What a lovely story!

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