Rare facts about the astonishing Melanie Griffith

Melanie Griffith’s life has been quite a rollercoaster. The iconic actress, daughter of actress Tippi Hedren, made her debut on the screen at age 12, and since then, she’s starred in several big productions.

While Melanie Griffith’s career progressed, her private life garnered significant attention. She’s been married three times – including to Antonio Banderas – been in rehab, and raised three children.

Melanie Griffith’s children from her first two marriages – Alexander Bauer and Dakota Johnson – had a challenging upbringing, especially considering their mother’s struggles during that time.

Melanie Griffith gained significant recognition in the ’80s, particularly for her sensual and provocative roles. She displayed acting prowess in films like “Working Girl” and “Paradise,” yet some feel she never fully realized her potential.

Born on August 9, 1957, in New York City to parents Peter Griffith and superstar actress Tippi Hedren, she was exposed to the pressures of show business from a young age. Her mother’s fame and extravagant lifestyle added to this exposure.

When Griffith was seven years old, her mother married agent and producer Noah Marshall. They even welcomed a pet lion, Neil, into their home, documenting their extraordinary life in magazines.

Although Griffith didn’t face any issues with Neil, her childhood encounter with exotic animals didn’t end well in later years.

Griffith began her career early, appearing in commercials and modeling gigs. By age 12, she made her uncredited debut in “Extra!” At 14, she appeared in “The Harrad Experiment,” where she met her first major love, actor Don Johnson, despite the controversy surrounding their age difference.

“I thought he was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen,” Griffith said of Johnson.

Her mother feared for the two because of her age but eventually gave in. At 15, Melanie Griffith moved in with Don Johnson, and on her 18th birthday, the two got engaged.

“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,” her mother, Tippi Hedren, recalled.

Griffith and Johnson tied the knot in Las Vegas in 1976. And, after just six months of marriage, the two split. However, they would rekindle their romance later on, exchanging vows a second time in 1989.

Melanie Griffith’s life took a turn in the 1970s when she started her promising acting career, starring in films such as “Night Moves” and “Joyride.”

In 1981, Griffith starred in the film “Roar.” Despite her mother and stepfather raising lions for the film, things turned dangerous on set. Griffith was mauled near the eye, fearing she might lose her sight. She required plastic surgery, while her mother, Tippi Hedren, contracted gangrene and needed skin grafts.

Griffith attributed the incident to forgetting the dangers of living with lions after years of familiarity. Despite this scare, she continued her acting career, avoiding live wild animals. Her roles in films like “Body Double,” “Something Wild,” and “Working Girl” earned her acclaim, with the latter garnering her an Academy Award nomination in 1989.

In the 1980s, Griffith found love again, marrying actor Steven Bauer in 1981. Their relationship produced a son, Alexander Bauer, but ended in divorce in 1989. Griffith then reunited with Don Johnson, marrying him again before divorcing in 1996, after welcoming their daughter, Dakota Johnson, in 1989.

Dakota Johnson, now a prominent actress known for her roles in “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “The Social Network,” experienced a turbulent childhood due to her parents’ divorce. Moving frequently and undergoing homeschooling, she faced challenges but found solace on film sets, inspiring her own acting aspirations.

Despite her turbulent upbringing, Dakota sought therapy from a young age, recognizing the importance of support. Her childhood difficulties eventually led her to forge a strong bond with her stepfather, Antonio Banderas.

In 1996, the same year Griffith split from Don Johnson, Banderas also divorced his wife. He admired Griffith for years and became a supportive figure in Dakota’s life, providing stability amidst her family’s upheavals.

“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 told Vulture. “So, I said to [director Pedro Almodóvar] ‘Who is she? Who is she? What is her name?’ Pedro said, ‘That’s Melanie Griffith!’ I said, ‘That’s it. Oh my God.’ Six years later, I was married to her.”

The two met while filming the comedy film Two Much in 1995, and they had one actual thing in common. Both were unhappy in their marriages – and Banderas and Griffith recognized each other’s situations.

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.

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, at 65, 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!