‘Working Girl’ star and four-time divorcee Melanie Griffith always considered herself to be a romantic, but life had other plans for her when it came to her many relationships.
There is no denying that Melanie Griffith has had a long list of star-studded partners. This included the likes of Antonio Banderas and Don Johnson. It seems like her personal life has been just as eventful as her acting career. Since then, the seasoned Hollywood star has opened up about what went wrong…
While many of us know Melanie Griffith for her tremendous acting abilities, one of the things that she’s also most well-known for is her long-term marriage to actor Antonio Banderas. In time, the relationship that Griffith had with Banderas would wind up being the longest (and healthiest) relationship that she would ever have. However, it would take years of struggle and heartbreak for the actress to get here. The story of her love-life is worthy of a movie unto itself…
Looks Can Be Deceiving
While kids her age attended school and enjoyed extracurricular activities like soccer practice and music lessons, Melanie was exactly where her mother wanted her to be – on a unique education program created by the Hollywood Professional School. Situated in Hollywood, California, Melanie attended a private school that enabled children who were interested in emerging in showbiz to study in the morning and work in the afternoon, and thus build up their resumes. She did so well in school that she ended up skipping a grade.
While at a shrink’s office, the first thing one gets asked about is her past – and Melanie sure had a lot to spill. For example, she could credit many of her failed marriages to the fact she was brought up in a broken home. Her parents divorced when Melanie was only 4-years-old, which resulted in her mother gathering all of her and her daughter’s belongings and leaving the place Melanie called home. Her father, advertising executive Peter Griffith, no longer took an active role in her life.
Growing Up Apart
Melanie was largely raised by her mother, Tippi Hedren (a famous actress) in Los Angeles after her parents divorced. She would frequently spend time moving back and forth between New York to live with her father and back to L.A. to spend time with her mother. Her father would later remarry actress and supermodel Nanita Greene. He had two more children with Greene, Tracy Griffith (who became an actress as well) and Clay A. Griffith, who became a set designer.
Rock N’ Roll Lifestyle
After marrying Johnson, Griffith thought she was entering a lifelong commitment with the man she loved ever since she was 14-years-old. Unfortunately, fate had a different idea of what this marriage would turn out to be like. The couple went from being innocent, lovestruck newlyweds to struggling individuals who had grown dependent on illegal substances and hard drinks. The addiction turned Melanie into a shadow of the person she used to be, losing her identity along the way.
Denial Almost Took Her Life
After her first trip to rehab, Melanie told Australian magazine New Idea that she realized she had an “addictive personality,” and that she was lucky to be alive, despite feeling disconnected from the people she met while in the facility. “I was never as bad as some people I knew… But I did do a lot of drinking and other substances,” she revealed in her interview. “I just thought I was having a good time,” she said bluntly.
Marriage Down The Drain
Don Johnson was her mother’s co-star in The Harrad Experiment, so it was only natural Melanie felt right at home with the actor she fell for, despite his influence that tossed her into a turmoil that would forever influence her life. While her romantic relationship was crumbling into pieces, Melanie decided it would be best to dive deep into her work. Unfortunately, that call, while proving to be professionally wise in retrospect, made her realize this marriage was doomed. After 6 months of marriage, the two filed for divorce.
Her Most Noted Role
In 1988, Melanie landed the role of Tess McGill in Working Girl, the movie that turned out to be her most successful and prominent one to this day. Working Girl earned Griffith an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and won her a Golden Globe. Griffith also claimed she tried to be romantic with Alec Baldwin on set, but the actor ‘wouldn’t go there’ with her. The Mike Nichols’ film ended up being her one of her only celebrated roles to date.
New Love, New Life
After her divorce, Melanie was conflicted with the fact her former husband became jealous of her career and the fact that she was outshining his. It was not until 1981 that she met the man who made her want to lead a different life. She moved to New York following her beau, Steven Bauer, who she met on the set of Army Now, a TV movie. The two married shortly after, but it was their split that drew her back to her drinking habits.
The alarming wake-up call concerning her substance addiction came on the set of Working Girl. The movie’s director, Mike Nichols, sat down to have a talk with Melanie and set her straight after she arrived at the set drunk one too many times. “I wasn’t very concerned about my future,” said Melanie in an interview she gave to Parade. The actress also admitted she turned to substances to calm her anxieties and fill a void she had ever since she was a little girl.
Never The Same
All throughout the 90’s Griffith was offered one gig after another, some roles proving to be more successful than others. Her ambition caused her to work continuously on a variety of mainstream movies, such as Shining Through, A Stranger Among Us, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Born Yesterday, Nobody’s Fool, Milk Money, and Now and Then. However, it was on the set of Two Much that her life would never be the same again, meeting the man she later claimed was the biggest love she ever knew.
Couldn’t Stand Being Alone
After Steven Bauer and Griffith got hitched, the two went on to have a son together called Alexander. The two tried to stick it out mostly for the sake of their son, but it turned out to be harder than they both anticipated. The straw that broke the camel’s back was Griffith’s addiction, who later admitted to feeling lonely and depressed. “What I did was drink myself to sleep at night,” she said in an interview. “If I wasn’t with someone, I was an unhappy girl.”
Bouncing back from her failed marriage to Bauer, Melanie quickly found herself back in the arms of an old flame. After feeling disappointed with the way her life turned out and her last husband who let her down, Melanie sought comfort in familiar arms. She wanted someone she could rely on and know that no matter what, he would be there for her. She needed a man her knew her flaws and accepted her for who she is.
This was a very stressful time in Griffith’s life but she was struggling to cope. Besides having found mainstream success in Hollywood, something that is often already stressful enough, the actress also gave birth to her second child around this time. Dakota Johnson was the second child that Melanie had with Don Johnson. Her substance abuse issues and time in the limelight were really starting to have a negative effect on her and the pain she was feeling was becoming more apparent.
Cheats And Lies
Melanie ran back into the arms of Don Johnson after she was released from the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota. The couple reunited and claimed to be more in love than ever, which is why they decided to walk down the aisle once again in 1989. Later that year, Melanie gave birth to daughter Dakota. The marriage lasted longer than their previous one, but after several drunken and public outbursts and rumors of infidelity on Don’s behalf, the two divorced in 1996.
Instead of dwelling in the past and regretting her decisions, Melanie decided she is much better off channeling her inner self when she was handed the role of a free-spirited substance user in the film Another Day In Paradise. Her performance was so incredibly accurate, critics raved about her performance and argued about it being the best one of her entire career. Melanie was on a roll, but by the end of the decade, things changed for the skilled actress.
It’s All Relative
Melanie had one child with Don Johnson, named Dakota. She was born on October 4th, 1989, and made Melanie into a mother for the second time. Dakota’s big screen debut was during her appearance on the comedy-drama film Crazy in Alabama, where she acted alongside her mother. Unlike her mother, Dakota preferred to stay away from work until she was done with her studies. Once she graduated, the young actress could be spotted in films such as The Social Network and Fifty Shades of Grey.
She Had It Coming
After starring in several big screen films, Melanie thought she might mix things up by attempting to perform on stage. She auditioned for the role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway production of the musical Chicago, and immediately got the part. Ben Brantley, a New York Times theater critic, gave her a great review when he wrote that “Ms. Griffith is a sensational Roxie, possibly the most convincing I have seen… [the] vultures who were expecting to see Ms. Griffith stumble… will have to look elsewhere.”
Award For Worst Actress
Melanie was not one to quit while she was ahead, but unfortunately had a hard time finding prominent roles like before. In the early 2000s, the her career slowed down significantly. After starring in a few independent films like Forever Lulu and Cecil B. Demented, the actress was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress, which hurt her reputation as an actress tremendously. It wasn’t until 2003 that Melanie decided to give her acting career a start over.
Drink The Pain Away
Talking to Vanity Fair about what led her to turn to substances instead of seeking help, Melanie replied: “I was never loved unconditionally. Booze gives you a feeling, a physical sensation … a buzz inside your body that takes the place of something you should have had when you were a child.” As it turns out, this abuse started when Griffith was only 10-years-old, as she would drink wine “like a soft drink. I was medicating myself so I could escape my pain and insecurities.”
Getting Her Life Back Together
After Griffith split with her second husband, she spiraled downhill into an abyss of no self-control. She felt alone in the world and was unfamiliar with being single after being in relationships since she was 14 years of age. For the first time in her life, Melanie checked into rehab. This move came after Don Johnson convinced her it was the right move. He had been clean for five years by then and reconnected with his ex during her stay at Hazelden.
A New Perspective
Melanie had struggled with substance abuse throughout her life. It seemed as though this had become a consistent theme in her life and that she had spent most of her life in conflict with herself. However, after making it through rehab, the actress had a totally new lease on life. For the first time ever, she was seeing the world through sober eyes. This gave her a newfound joy and enabled her to be a better mother and role model for her children.
Forever On My Arm
However, when Melanie and Antonio met, they were the embodiment of true love. As if it was not obvious enough, Melanie inked her hubby’s name on her upper right arm and framed the bold letters with a heart shape. The two were so in love and it seemed as though if any of Griffith’s marriages could make it, this would be the one. They had a daughter together, Stella, and it seemed like, despite Melanie’s troubled past, this relationship was the one that was going to stick.
Becoming A Mother Again
Melanie had already managed to raise two children in her previous relationship with Don Johnson. Although the path of motherhood had been a difficult one for her to adapt to, she had learned a lot of the lessons she needed to be a good mother to Stella. However, the actress admitted later in life that she never would have been able to do it without the constant love and support that she received from Banderas. Together, it seemed like the couple could achieve anything!
For Love Or Money
For the first years of their marriage, Melanie and Antonio made the decision to keep their finances apart. Melanie had already tied the knot twice before, and although this third marriage seemed much more promising, life had taught the actress that one can never be too careful. The two even made an effort to make sure that whatever earnings they may have made between ’96 and ’04 would remain in the hands of whoever worked for it, a call many found odd.
In Sickness And In Health
In the year 2000, Melanie had another relapse. But this time, it was Banderas who held her hand as she entered the rehab center. It has been a decade of pushing through, but something in her life triggered the emotion of craving that familiar feeling. This time, however, her addiction was directed toward prescription painkiller medication. Banderas stood by as his wife who struggled to find inner happiness but knew he loved her too much to let her go through the process alone.
For Better Or Worse
Giving a joint interview for Primetime in 2002, the couple told Diane Sawyer that the relapse caused tension in their relationship, but they bounced back. By the time 2004 came, Griffith and Banderas had a change of heart and realized their love was too strong to worry about cash flow. After confiding with their legal counselors, the happy couple signed an agreement that altered their financial situation, making what was his hers and vice versa. It seemed like the right, romantic idea at the time – but then the inevitable happened.
In June 2014, Melanie had had enough. She filed for divorce from the man she called her husband for 18 years, and to this day admits it was one of the hardest things she ever had to do. Although the two remain good friends to this day and had a dignified divorce settlement, Melanie still aches to this day about giving her all to a marriage that ended up exactly like her previous ones. Thinking back about her marriage, Melanie explained to Porter Magazine why this relationship was doomed from the start.
Lost A Lover, Gained A Friend
After splitting up with the Shrek star, Melanie sought company in a different way. She made an effort to work out on a regular basis, and on one fateful day, she met Khloe Kardashian through the gym trainer the two share. Khloe thought it would be a good idea to have her mother, Kris, and Melanie meet, since they had similar interests and thought they could hit it off. As it just so happened, the two became best friends in no time.
Cancellation After Cancellation
Melanie always favored branching out of her comfort zone, so she made an effort to challenge herself professionally quite often. Unfortunately, not all attempts ended on a positive note, which is exactly what happened to the once-movie star who tried her luck at the WB sitcom Twins and other TV series called Viva Laughlin. The two shows were both short-lived and canceled after only a few episodes. She also acted in a Banderas-produced pilot for a show titled The American Housewife, which did not get picked up.
Call it a midlife crisis or whatever other names you want, but Melanie was convinced in her decision to go under the knife 20 years ago. In an attempt to go back to her more youthful look, the Working Girl star went ahead with her scheduled facelift – but by the time she was recovered from the numbing anesthesia, her doctor unveiled a face she no longer recognized. While her skin prior to the surgery might have had the occasional wrinkles, the one she had now felt inhumane.
Griffith understood there was not much to be done and that she had to deal with the consequences, convincing herself that despite turning out much different than she anticipated, she still resembled her old self. The media, on the other hand, was not as kind. As if her pulled face was not enough, the star revealed she has also been injecting Botox into her face, hoping it will stop the aging process she found herself obsessed with. The comments regarding her looks hurt, but she was not about to stop.
It was not until 2017 that the star candidly admitted she was done with the constant criticism and realized it was time to go back to being her old self. She went under the knife again to reverse the facelift she had back in the day and for seven years now has been dissolving the Botox, praying it will assist in providing her with a more natural look. During her interview with Porter Magazine, she looked already much closer to her former self and said, “Hopefully I look better!”
Misery Loves Company
Speaking of her relatively recent friendship that has been blossoming with reality star and momager Kris Kardashian, Melanie explained their mutual grounds, saying: “We’ve both been divorced a couple of times, we’ve had a few kids and we’ve had situations in common – life-changing ones. I’ll be having a [bad] day, the lowest of the lows, and she’ll come over, sit on my bed and be right there with me.” However, it is interesting to know if Kris shares Melanie’s latest expressed feelings towards romance.
Big Heart, Big Pockets
Melanie is not only a softie when it comes to her romantic relationships. The remarkable actress also believes in giving back to the community, which is why she assisted in organizing a 5k walk to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. The goal was to raise enough in order to support the opening of a new state-of-the-art pediatric inpatient facility. Melanie also participated in the hospital’s 2012 Noche de Niños gala and presented the Courage to Care Award.
Dealing With Disappointment
Despite announcing their divorce was a friendly one and even making the effort to appear side by side in Bandera’s 2014 film Automata – a premiere that took place amidst their divorce proceedings – Melanie ended up feeling hollow after this last divorce. After four failed marriages and mothering three children, she admitted to feeling very pessimistic about future relationships, claiming that more than ever, she just wants to make it on her own. However, her experience has taught her something that she wishes to pass on.
The Academy Award nominee attended her daughter’s New York premiere of How To Be Single, where she was asked what her best advice is for women learning how to be single and make it on their own. To everyone’s surprise, Melanie Griffith’s answer was the farthest thing from what all expected. Her surprising advice became a highly-discussed topic on social media and was mentioned several times in online magazines like US Weekly and People – it almost seemed as though she had become an entirely different person.
I Do – Not!
The 60-year-old actress replied: “Don’t get married! There’s no need… You don’t need to get married to have a child anymore, it’s not like there’s a stigma on a child, and getting married, you either go through the whole bulls**t of a prenuptial, or if you want to get divorced and you don’t have a prenuptial, then you wish you had a prenuptial.” But that was not all Melanie had to say, as if the this statement was not a shock enough as it was.
Marriage Is Archaic
Griffith then revealed she was serious about following through with her advice, too. That is why she never intends on tying the knot ever again. Marriage has brought a whole other side of Melanie, one she did not like or recognize. “Why not enjoy the person and have a good time and do whatever?” she asked, “live together, don’t live together — but marriage seems archaic to me.” Then, Melanie gave her marriage to Banderas as an example.
Time To Herself
Porter Magazine published a revealing interview with Griffith, who opened up about her recent divorce: “I think part of the reason my marriage to Antonio fell apart was because I was stuck; nobody else is to blame. It’s just that I personally got stuck and I won’t let that happen again, I want to enjoy life, I want to do whatever I want to do.” As for what she’s seeking in life now, Melanie replied she is shy with men now and dedicates most of her time to friends.
While filming Two Much, Melanie was introduced to co-star Antonio Banderas. There was no denying there was an instant connection the day the two met on set, especially since the dynamic duo didn’t exactly go through extensive attempts to hide what was going on when the cameras were off. Banderas was only just breaking into the industry and making a name for himself in the Hollywood scene, but more importantly, Banderas was still married. Meanwhile, Griffith’s relationship history hadn’t proven itself so successful just yet.
She Didn’t Have What It Takes
Melanie might appear to be an outgoing person with a bold personality, but the truth is she is painfully shy – a characteristic that proved to be a serious setback as she chose a profession that would require her to always be in the spotlight. After years of modeling, she realized she was not cut out for facing the camera and posing in awkward angles, so she called it quits in favor of pursuing a career as an actress.
Like Mother Like Daughter
Following the footsteps of her actress mother, Melanie was only 9-months-old when she made her first debut in front of the camera. She was cast in several commercials on television and booked modeling gigs that would land her her first film appearance on Night Moves in 1975. With her golden locks and bright baby blue eyes, it’s not hard to understand why even as a child she had no problem turning heads. Melanie was on a path towards fame – one she would grow to despise.
Less Than Happy Birthday
Griffith’s mother, the distinguished actress Tippi Hedren, worked with director Alfred Hitchcock, who fell madly in love with her. Tippi did not return his feelings, so Hitchcock reached out the only way he knew how – by sending her four-year-old daughter, Melanie, a spooky birthday present she will never forget. You can imagine little Melanie’s look of surprise as she unwrapped a gift in the form of a wooden coffin containing a wax replica of her very own mother.