Antonio Banderas is globally recognized as an actor and producer of Spanish descent. He has appeared in numerous works, starring alongside several A-list actors such as Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, among so many others.
On 18th May 2019, he received the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor award for his role in the Pedro Almodovar 2019 film, Pain and Glory. This was his first major award after getting nominated for others and winning none. With such remarkable strides in the film industry, one would be of the notion that Antonio had always wanted to be an actor but that was not the case.
A Football Injury Set Antonio Banders On The Path To Becoming An Actor
As a child, Antonio wanted to become a footballer and actively worked towards achieving this dream. Unfortunately, at the age of fourteen, he fractured one of his legs, a development that permanently halted his athletic ambition. This injury caused him to divert his interest and passion towards the performing arts. He subsequently joined the ARA School Theater in his hometown and later studied at the Malaga Superior College of Dramatic Arts. In 1979, he left Malaga for Madrid to expand his horizon in the field of acting, eventually earning a spot in the Spanish National Theater.
In 1982, Antonio Banderas began his professional acting career by appearing in a series of films produced by famous Spanish movie producer Pedro Almodóvar who holds the credit for putting him on the map. The popular filmmaker had noticed Banderas while he performed with the Spanish theatre, and cast him in a minor role in his 1982 comedy film, Labyrinth of Passion. He later became a regular face in Almodóvar’s films, appearing in the producer’s Law of Desire, Matador, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
Playing A Mentally Ill Patient Gave Him Worldwide Fame
It was his role in 1989 Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! as a mentally ill person who kidnapped an adult actress until she returned his feelings, which earned him global acclaim. Two years after this role, he made his debut on American screens in the 1992 drama film, The Mambo Kings. Banderas later landed his breakthrough role in 1993 as Miguel Álvarez in Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. He gained much recognition through the success of Philadelphia, eventually landing a role in the highly-rated adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire in 1994 where he shared the screen with multiple award-winning actors/producers, Brad Pitt, and Tom Cruise.
He subsequently played lead roles in the 1995 hits, Desperado and Assassins. A couple of years later, in 1998, Banderas played Zorro in The Mask of Zorro, and this role earned him a larger fan base. In 1999, he went on to make his directorial debut when he directed the not-successful comedy-drama film, Crazy in Alabama which starred his wife and daughter.
The Versatile Actor Has Showcased More Dynamic Skills & Expanded His Filmography
In addition to acting, Antonio Banderas has musical talents. He showed them off in the 2003 Broadway musical, Nine. His role in the musical drama earned him several honours, including a Tony Award for Best Actor, an Outer Critics Circle Award, and a Drama Desk award. He also voiced the lead character Puss in Boots in three of the Shrek series – Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010), boosting the character’s popularity.
The actor once again appeared in a Pedro Almodóvar film, this time it was The Skin I Live In. The following years saw Antonio star in numerous other films, including The Expendables 3, Thick as Thieves, The SpongeBob Movie, Security among others. In 2018, he played the famed painter Pablo Picasso in the television show Genius.
The talented actor has so far received two honorary degrees – one from Dickinson College in 2000 and a doctorate from the University of Malaga in 2010. He also earned a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 18, 2005. There is no doubt that his career has been an illustrious one so far and he is still in the business of making great movies. So, the recognition he gets is well-deserved.
Inasmuch as his career is a beaming success, the same cannot be said of his personal life. The Spanish hunk has been through failed marriages.
When His First Marriage Ended, Antonio Banderas Lost Property Worth €3.4 Million
When his career was just kicking off, Antonio Banderas got married to fellow actress Ana Leza in 1987. The two only went through a six-month period of dating before committing to themselves. Leza poured a lot of time into fine-tuning the English speaking skills of Banderas. He even credits her with translating the entire script for the movie, The Mambo Kings, his debut in American theatre which made it possible for him to perform exceptionally well in the film
In 1996, after a nine-year-old union, the couple divorced without a child. Ana Leza got their Real Madrid estate worth €3.4 million, €12,000 monthly alimony payments, and the rights to half of the films he made during their marriage. Antonio Banderas described the process as a business transaction, especially as the proceedings took eight days.
His Second Marriage Ended On More Amicable Terms
Before his divorce from Ana Leza, Banderas had met actress Melanie Griffith while they filmed side-by-side in Two Much (1995). Having been her staunch admirer before then, he seized the opportunity to kick off a relationship with her when his divorce was finalized.
The pair got married the next year, precisely on May 14, 1996, following a heated romantic affair. The couple, on 24th September of the same year, welcomed a daughter whom they named Stella del Carmen. However, after more than a decade together, they divorced in December 2015, citing irreconcilable differences. Antonio revealed in an interview that he will love Melanie until the day he dies.
As of 2019, the actor began a relationship with Nicole Kimpel, a Dutch consultant. She made her first public appearance with him at the Emmy Awards gala. The two are still together and were guests at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards.