Are Antonio Banderas and Dakota Johnson related? Their sweet relationship explained

10 July 2024, 16:11

Are Antonio Banderas and Dakota Johnson related?
Are Antonio Banderas and Dakota Johnson related? Picture: Getty

By Sian Moore

Antonio Banderas has been a part of Dakota Johnson's life since she was just five years old.

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It was 1989 when Dakota Johnson's parents – Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson – decided to rekindle their relationship and tie the knot for a second time after their first marriage had failed.

That same year, the couple welcomed their first child: Dakota. But in 1994 they would file for divorce once more, citing irreconcilable differences.

Fast forward to 1996 and Melanie walks down the aisle to the film star she'll spend the next 18 years married to: Antonio Banderas.

“I got a bonus dad who I realized that, over time, is actually one of the most influential people in my whole life,” Dakota said.

Here's the full story of their stepdad-stepdaughter relationship...

72nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
72nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals. Picture: Getty

Antonio Banderas marries Melanie Griffith and becomes Dakota Johnson's stepdad

Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas first crossed paths at the 1989 Academy Awards.

Six years later they would star alongside each other in the 1995 rom-com Two Much – but they were both married to other people at the time.

"We tried as much as we could to be respectful," Banderas told ABC News in 2002. "We just thought this may be one of those, you know, infatuation moments that we have when we shoot movies because we got to play together a couple, so let's just go home."

But that 'infatuation moment' would develop into a relationship, and then a marriage the next year.

Dakota remembers welcoming the actor into her life, telling the audience at the 2019 Hollywood Film Awards: "When I was six years old, my mother married a man who brought an unbelievably bright light and a whole new world of creativity and culture."

Four months after Griffith and Banderas said 'I do', the couple welcomed their first child together, Stella del Carmen Banderas Griffith, half-sibling to Dakota and Alexander Bauer.

Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith with daughter Dakota Johnson
Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith with daughter Dakota Johnson. Picture: Getty

Dakota Johnson has her acting debut in Antonio Banderas' directorial debut, Crazy in Alabama

The 1999 comedy-drama Crazy in Alabama was Dakota Johnson's first film gig and Antonio's debut in directing – and Dakota even got to work alongside mum Melanie, too.

It might have been her first time acting in front of the camera, but Dakota was no stranger to being on a film set.

Johnson told Architectural Digest that she had visited her stepdad on the set of Evita in 1996 and even delivered an Easter basket to Banderas' co-star, Madonna!

Antonio Banderas directing 'Crazy in Alabama'
Antonio Banderas directing 'Crazy in Alabama'. Picture: Alamy

Antonio Banderas calls Dakota Johnson his daughter

Talking about Dakota, Antonio told Us Weekly in 2020: "She was 5 when I met her, when she became my family. I almost changed her nappies. She’s my daughter, I love her."

The actor added: "I’ve been with her on my shoulders, travelling all around the world."

Banderas also revealed the sweet nickname Dakota came up with, telling Vulture: "Dakota called me Paponio, which is a mixture between Papa, which is 'Daddy' in Spanish, and Antonio.

"I am her Antonio Papa, so Paponio."

23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards
23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards. Picture: Getty

Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith split – but Dakota Johnson still calls Antonio 'Papi'

Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas filed for divorce after 18 years of marriage in 2014, but it didn't change Dakota's relationship with her 'bonus dad'.

Dakota's Hollywood Film Award speech in 2019 (see below) showed just how much she still treasured her stepdad – a speech that recipient Banderas didn't quite expect, either.

"It was all a surprise," the actor told E! News.

"I mean, I knew that she was going to give the speech, but I had no idea whatsoever how she was going to just do her speech, she didn't tell me anything."

Banderas revealed: "I knew that it was a confirmation that all of those years that Melanie and I spent together, they were years that was not only just about Melanie and me, they were about the family. They were worth it all."

When Banderas accepted the award, he gushed about Dakota continuing to use that special name.

"I want to dedicate this to two people that I love, one is right here, Dakota, for something very simple, because you always call me Papi, and still now you call me Papi and I love that!" he said.

[LEGENDADO] Dakota Johnson no Hollywood Film Awards 2019 - ET Canada

Antonio Banderas and stepdaughter Dakota Johnson reunite in 2024

Antonio had a very special visitor recently in Malaga, who stopped by his theatre company to say hello.

Dakota visited her stepdad at the Teatro del Soho CaixaBank, a theatre which the actor recently invested in.

Banderas shared the reunion on social media, captioning the photo: "Happiness: Dakota in Malaga!"

The pair are still clearly very close, with proud stepdad Antonio zooming into a photo of Dakota sitting by his side amongst the theatre cast.

Too sweet!