Both had been married previously, so, when they wove their lives together, they were wise enough to try to keep at least one part separate. During the first years of their marriage, they decided to keep their incomes in individual accounts.
This meant that they agreed to keep their earnings from 1996 to 2004 completely separate so that each earner would hold onto their own income. So, it wasn’t a prenup, it was more like a way to make the sad circumstance of a divorce a little less complicated.
A New Man on Her Arm
When Melanie met Antonio Banderas on the set of 'Two Much' (1996), it was love at first sight, with a quirky introduction. Melanie said, “He asked me how old I was. That was the first thing he said to me.” She adored him because he was funny like that. Antonio spotted her six years earlier saying, “I saw this beautiful woman with a cream dress, with pearls.” When they finally met, the couple fell passionately in love. Melanie called it quits with Don, while Antonio’s divorce with his wife in Spain was pending.
“It was very fast and very compulsive, but at the same time we were tied at the time,” Antonio said. “We tried as much as we could to be respectful.” They married in London that same year. Their daughter, Stella, arrived a few months after the wedding. Melanie had found her man. She wore his name like a badge. “Antonio” was inked inside of a heart and tattooed on her upper right arm. He would give Mel one of her longest and most stable relationships.
Antonio Turned Her Life Around
After they married and Stella was born, Melanie’s home life and career life seemed to be coming together. Her performances in 'Lolita' and 'Celebrity' turned critics’ heads with praise in her favor. And at home, Antonio lifted her spirits. Just being around her new hubby taught her wonderful life lessons. She learned about family, from a Latino perspective, and those loving bonds. She dove into philanthropy with Banderas. In 2002, the Stella Adler Angel Award celebrated their work.
Banderas' constant love and support was the key ingredient. She divulged later that she could not have done it without his steady support. Together, it seemed, they could achieve everything in life. At the time, Antonio put it like this, “We love each other, and above all, we love our family. We’ve figured out how to get past obstacles . . . and if you can get past those, you only get stronger.”
A Return to Rehab
Alas, the marriage could not fix everything. Sadly, Melanie checked into rehab once more in 2000. Her career hit a slump in the late 1990s with a TV series that didn’t even make it to air and movies that flatly flopped. With the support of Antonio, she found herself checking into a California clinic to be treated for painkiller dependency. “It’s a battle that never ends,” she said. “And you have to take it one day at a time, just like they say.”
But this time, in her ongoing struggle to find inner happiness, she had the strong support of a loving man on her side. In a recovery journal, Melanie wrote, “Overcoming addiction is tough but it can be made easier if you have someone that can offer support.”
The Dependency Took a Toll on the Marriage
After it all, Banderas admitted that he would have left Melanie if she had succumbed to her habit. Melanie said, “He’s always been extremely supportive of me in situations where other people might have run away.” But he was there for her. On particularly tough nights when she could not sleep because she was not taking anything, she said he would hold her close.
Overcoming the addiction and its toll on their marriage fortified their love and prompted them to reevaluate their matrimony. They renewed their vows, in a way, by undoing the financial separation clauses. Signing a new agreement, they combined all their assets. It was a romantic notion that would come back around.