Happy birthday Antonio Banderas! As the Spanish Zorro actor turns 54, HELLO! Online takes a look at what the stars have in store for Antonio and you...
It's funny how you can know someone for years, and then suddenly realise that there is much about them that is a mystery to you. Even our closest companions have aspects to their character that it is easy for us to overlook or to forget. You are now seeing a familiar subject in a fresh light. This is causing you to process some unfamiliar thoughts and ideas. An agreement needs to be renegotiated. This is causing you to understand an old arrangement in a different way. It need not be the problem you fear it is.
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Already a star in his own country, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas was barely able to speak English when his agent told him to "string four sentences together" and meet up with an American film producer in London.
The actor did just that, and scored his breakthrough role in 1992's The Mambo Kings, for which he famously learned the script phonetically. He recalls: "I returned to Spain thinking, 'That's something to tell the grandchildren'."
Antonio's path to fame wasn't a particularly direct one. His mother wanted him follow family tradition and become a teacher, and, though he denies talk that he once considered a future as a priest, he also studied at a Malaga seminary. His true dream was to be a professional footballer, but a broken foot in his teens put an end to any hopes in that direction.
Deciding to focus on acting, the youngster eventually enrolled in a local drama school. Then, one week before his 20th birthday and with only £60 in his pocket, Antonio decided to head for Madrid. "The idea came in a flash, and the decision, like everything I've done in my life, was made in a matter of seconds," he explained to HELLO! magazine.
For a while, he lived the life of a starving artist, sleeping on friends' sofas while trying to make a living. But eventually he joined the National Drama Centre, a move which, he says, marked the start of his career. He was earning £5 a night when budding film director and future Oscar-winner Pedro Almodovar offered him a role in his 1982 low-budget comedy Labyrinth Of Passion.
Over the next decade, Antonio became a star in his country through Almodovar films such as Law Of Desire and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It was on the set of the latter that he met his first wife, Ana Leza, whom he wed in 1987, nine months after they fell in love.
Though he'd gained fame by catching Madonna's eye when they starred together in the 1991 film In Bed with Madonna, it was actress Melanie Griffith who would eventually capture his heart. He says he had always admired the Working Girl star, and will never forget the moment her first saw her in person at the 1989 Oscars.
"I remember she was dressed in white with pearls. I'll always remember that and I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I'd ever seen in my life." Six years later, after starring together in Two Much, the pair then both still married - he to Ana, she to Don Johnson - split from their spouses and tied the knot.
After 18 years of marriage, Antonio and Melanie recently filed for divorce.
In a statement, the pair said: "We have thoughtfully and consensually decided to finalize our almost twenty years marriage in a loving and friendly manner honouring and respecting each other, our family and friends and the beautiful time we have spent together - Melanie & Antonio"