Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith divorced after being together for 19 years and raising their daughter and her children because she felt “stuck.”

Their grown daughter dropped her mother’s last name.

On their new rare photo, the exes looked so adorable with their beautiful daughter.

Antonio Banderas, 62 in 2023, and his ex-wife, Melanie Griffith, then 65, shared a daughter, Stella, then 19, who’s inherited her parents’ creativity. “The Mask of Zorro” actor once described his daughter as a natural writer.

He said she started reading books from a very young age, but also loved being behind the camera and the attention that came with it. Antonio shared that if he could have a second life, that would be the point where he would like to step into.

Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, and daughter Stella at the premiere of "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams" in Hollywood, California, on July 28, 2002 | Source: Getty Images

The star speculated that maybe his daughter was his second life. Although the actor and Melanie weren’t romantically involved anymore, they still showed up for Stella as seen on the actress’s March 11, 2023, Instagram post, where she wrote:

“Surrounding our Stella with love ♥️.”

The rare images of the trio showed the former couple of 19 years sandwiching their only daughter. Fans were pleased to see the parents and their daughter looking so happy with one person commenting about the duo being “a real class act.”

The follower felt not everyone was able to be decent to one another after breaking up, and they admired that in Melanie and Antonio. Someone else praised Stella for being pretty, noting how she was a “Spanish-American beauty.”

A third person thought it was great to see the mother and father with their child. While someone else praised them for being able to remain divorced but still come together for the sake of their child, and ironically Antonio was there to assist Melanie when she needed him the most.

How Did Antonio and their Children Help Melanie Beat Substance Abuse?
In 2011, Antonio discussed his 1996 marriage to Melanie, who had two other children, Alexander and Dakota. The first child she shared with Steven Bauer and her daughter was from her union with Don Johnson.

When the actress married Antonio, he welcomed her children as his own, before Stella was born. The star confessed that Melanie sometimes struggled with substance abuse, but challenges like that strengthened their bond.

Stella’s father said he’d admired her mother long before their first meeting. The actor recalled seeing her in “Working Girl” while in Madrid, and was struck by her beauty, thinking she was special.

During the night of the Oscars, he was there for 1988’s “Women on The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” and saw her on the red carpet. However, he couldn’t remember her name, and the director of the movie, Pedro Almodóvar, was the one who recalled it.

Almodóvar noted how she was nominated for an Academy Award, and then six years later Antonio was married to her. He actually met her when they co-starred in 1995’s “Two Much,” at a time when they were both unhappy about their individual relationships.

The actor saw her as vulnerable, generous, sweet, intelligent, and funny. He even got to see her with her children and thought she was a “beautiful” mother, and confessed that connecting with a co-star was normal.

Usually, one would delete everything when the filming was done and go home, but in their case that didn’t happen. They called each other all day, and then one day they chose to confront what was happening to them, despite it not being easy.

Melanie Griffith, Dakota Johnson, Alexander Bauer, and Antonio Banderas at the "Batman & Robin" Los Angeles Premiere on June 12, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Antonio admitted that becoming a stepfather wasn’t easy because Melanie’s children had to accept him and he was inexperienced in the role. He found himself with a 10-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter, before Stella joined almost instantly after the marriage.

However, when the children realized he was a permanent addition, they were okay with him. The star felt like they needed a solid place to grow in, and when that clicked for him he gave them security by cementing his relationship and started doing the father thing in small steps.

It took less than a year for Melanie’s children to acclimate to him and by 2011 they called Antonio by his name or “Papa” and “Paponio.” By then, Alexander was an adult living in New York while Dakota was an actress, and Antonio and Stella’s mother had been together for 17 years.

The actor said the secret to having had a lasting marriage was that they’d had past failures. They’d spoken about how love was a rush in the beginning, and how they weren’t going to make the mistake to look back all the time.

They wanted to create different universes and look ahead, and when the initial spark died out, it evolved into something better. The former couple found warmth in family and value in their home, and the initial spark came back.

Antonio and Melanie were patient in crisis and knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. However, they had many issues like everyone else, but never hid it, and were open about the actress’ addictions, which she overcame.

The actor said he hadn’t known she was that strong, and it made him love her more. He described her as an “unbelievable lion” that kept fighting and won, before revealing that her last relapse was three years before, and it bonded them.

The whole family, children included, partook in therapy when Melanie went back for treatment. The unique experience was rewarding for all involved, and Antonio felt it was best to not pretend with children because they were smart.

He felt they saw through the lies and if things weren’t spoken about openly, a dark place was created. The star felt that darkness was carried by the children for the rest of their lives, into their marriages and their own offspring, but the bond he had with Melanie surpassed all else.

Why Will Antonio Love Melanie till His Death?
Sadly, in 2014, Melanie and Stella’s father separated with the actress confessing that the “marriage fell apart because I was stuck.” The “Pain and Glory” star once noted how although Melanie was no longer his wife, he considered her his best friend.

Antonio said, “I love her and will love her until the day I die,” because she was his family. While all was now well with the blended family, despite Antonio and Melanie’s divorce, in 2021, Stella made a drastic change in her life.

Why Did Antonio & Melanie’s Daughter Drop Mom’s Last Name?
In 2021, Stella filed to legally change her name from Stella Del Carmen Banderas Griffith, by dropping “Griffith.” Melanie’s daughter explained that she wanted to shorten her name by removing the extra last name.

Melanie Griffith, Stella del Carmena, and Antonio Banderas at the Starlite Charity Gala on August 4, 2012, in Marbella, Spain | Source: Getty Images

Antonio’s youngest child said she didn’t generally use her mother’s last name. Therefore, dropping it would match with what she typically used on a regular basis.

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