Antonio Banderas Refuses to Refer to Dakota Johnson as His Stepdaughter Even After Divorcing Her Mom

Raised in a loving environment, Dakota Johnson was fortunate to have her biological parents and her stepfather, Antonio Banderas, who played a significant role in introducing her to the world of cinema. Despite her parents’ breakup, they managed to maintain an amicable relationship, and Banderas became an important figure in Johnson’s life. Johnson expressed gratitude towards her “bonus dad” for his unwavering support as she succeeded in her career. The deep respect and affection between the stepfather and stepdaughter are genuinely heartwarming, even for the most skeptical individuals.

The extra dad- Paponio

Dakota Johnson once expressed her gratitude towards her “bonus dad” Antonio Banderas, whom she considers one of the most influential people in her life. Coming from a family with multiple marriages, Johnson was fortunate to have Banderas come into her life when he met her mother, Melanie Griffith, on the set of the film Two Much. Griffith had two children from previous relationships, and Banderas quickly became a part of their family.

Banderas seamlessly integrated into the family dynamic and, as Johnson recalls, his loving attitude towards their mother profoundly impacted the children. Over time, they started to see him as a second father and affectionately referred to him as “Paponio” — a combination of “Papi” and “Antonio.” Johnson credits her stepfather for injecting some Spanish liveliness into their otherwise stable lives. However, she emphasizes that Banderas also instilled a sense of discipline in the children, which was a crucial aspect of his role as a parental figure.

In 1996, the family welcomed another daughter, Stella, which meant Banderas suddenly became a father of three. As Alexander and Dakota entered adolescence, they began to assert their independence, but their stepfather remained firm in his role as a parental figure. Banderas recognized that his primary responsibility was not to be their friend but to ensure their safety. However, being in the public eye was another challenge for the family. While Melanie and Antonio’s youngest children struggled with attention, Dakota embraced her position in the limelight. Banderas was impressed by his stepdaughter’s maturity and wisdom.

A handbook to the world of movies

Kristin Callahan / Everett Collection / East News, © Crazy in Alabama / Columbia Pictures and co-producers

Banderas recognized Dakota’s acting potential early on and offered her a role in the film Crazy in Alabama, which he directed in 1999. Although the part only had a few lines, Dakota took her work seriously and even requested an acting tutor. Working alongside her mother and stepfather on the same set was an enjoyable experience for Dakota, but she also had to take care of her younger sister, Stella, who was very young at the time. The only downside for the young talent was balancing her acting duties with looking after her sibling.

While talent may not be inherited, Dakota believes that certain traits and qualities can be passed down from family members. She attributes her strength and dignity to her grandmother and her sense of humor to her mother. Her biological father taught her the value of respect, but her stepfather instilled vibrancy and brightness in her life.

Banderas introduced her to the Spanish language, flamenco, and jamón, and Johnson credits him as one of the greatest actors of our time. She only fully appreciated this as an adult when she pursued her own career in the industry. One of the things that impresses Johnson about her stepfather is his commitment to self-improvement — he never grows tired of striving to be better.

Above all, Banderas opened up the magical world of cinema to Johnson. He affectionately refers to her as his daughter and takes pride in her achievements as if she were his biological child. As he once recounted, he has even traveled the world with her on his shoulders. When Johnson first gained fame, Banderas offered his professional assessment of her talent and described her as a multi-faceted artist who simply needed the right opportunity to showcase her abilities.

The family remains intact.

In 2014, after nearly 20 years of marriage, Griffith and Banderas announced their divorce. However, unlike many other celebrity couples, their separation was truly amicable, and they remained devoted to their family. They continued to meet regularly to chat and celebrate milestones together. Banderas has expressed that when he looks at their children, he knows that their years together were not in vain. When asked about his feelings towards his ex-wife during a red carpet event, Banderas replied unhesitatingly, “I will love that woman until the day I die.”

Invision / Invision / East News

The divorce between Griffith and Banderas did not affect the relationship between the actor and the children. They continue to meet regularly, spend time together, and even attend events as a family. During awards ceremonies, they often deliver heartfelt speeches to honor each other.

One such occasion was in 2019 when Banderas won the Hollywood Film Award for his performance in Pain and Glory. Dakota presented him with the award, and he took the opportunity to express his love for his two daughters, including his stepdaughter. He dedicated the win to them, particularly highlighting how much he appreciated being called “Papi” by Dakota.

Invision / Invision / East News

According to Banderas, Dakota’s thriving career keeps her busy these days, making it challenging to find time for each other amidst their hectic schedules. However, despite their busy lives, there is one occasion when they always make time to reunite: Christmas. It has been a longstanding tradition for the family to celebrate the holiday together, and they have no intention of breaking it.


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