Antonio Banderas On His Start in Hollywood & Wife’s Substance Abuse

Antonio Banderas spoke about everything from his start in Hollywood to his wife’s history with substance abuse in the November issue of AARP.  The handsome 51-year-old Spanish actor, who reprises his role in the new film Puss in Boots (out Nov. 4), said the secret to his long marriage with Melanie Griffith is that they had both experienced relationship failures before. Banderas and Griffith married in 1996 after meeting a year prior on the set of the comedy Two Much. They have a 15-year-old daughter together named Stella and Griffith has two children from two previous marriages.

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Banderas said he and Griffith have never hidden her addictions. The award-winning actress, who has struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for many years, had a relapse several years ago and was later treated in rehab. “She has overcome her problems beautifully. I didn't know she was so strong,” Banderas said of his wife. “It makes me love her even more, because she has been an unbelievable lion fighting, and she got it.”

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In a separate interview, Griffith told AARP that she began taking pain pills after a skiing accident and never stopped. She said her husband was very supportive of her, but both she and Banderas have differing views of her last relapse. According to Griffith, Banderas did not attend all the therapy sessions with her like he said. “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,” she said. “Addiction runs in my family but not in his."

In his exclusive interview with AARP, Banderas also spoke about his difficult start in Hollywood. He was living in New York and shooting 1992’s The Mambo Kings – which Banderas said was not the hardest part. “The problem was living in a place where I didn't understand anybody,” he said. Little did he know where his career would eventually take him. “I thought that I would do that movie [The Mambo Kings], go back to Europe,” he said, “and just have the story of what happened in America that I could one day tell to my grandsons.”