There’s no bad blood between Antonio Banderas and his ex-wife Melanie Griffith. The Pain and Glory star had nothing but kind things to say about his former flame while talking to Vulture magazine this week. “I am not married with Melanie anymore, but she is my family,” the 59-year-old actor said, matter-of-factly. “She is probably one of my best friends, if not the best friend that I have. My family is there, Dakota [Johnson], Little Estella and Alexander.” Antonio went on to recall how they first met and explain the ways their relationship has strengthened since divorcing in 2015.

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Antonio Banderas has nothing but love for ex-wife Melanie Griffith

Antonio first saw the Hollywood A-lister with his friend and director Pedro Almodóvar at the 1989 Academy Awards. “The first time I went to the Academy Awards after we got a nomination for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, we got on the red carpet and I saw this blonde woman and I knew her because I saw movies of her, but I didn’t remember [her name] at the time,” he said candidly.

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“So, I said to Pedro, ‘Who is she? Who is she? What is her name?’ Pedro said, ‘That’s Melanie Griffith!’ I said, ‘That’s it. Oh my God.’ Six years later [1996], I was married to her.” As a whole, the Genius star remembers those years as “very effervescent and really beautiful.”

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Antonio and Melanie at a Hollywood event in 1995

Melanie and Antonio famously ended their 19-year marriage in December of 2015. However, according to the Spanish star, the divorce changed nothing. “Even if we are divorced, she is my family and I will love her until the day I die,” he told People Now. “We have been in contact all these years and we managed to do a separation that is very elegant.”

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The good friends are forever bonded by their daughter Stella, now age 22, who they spend time with together. Meanwhile, Melanie shares her daughter Dakota Johnson, 29, with actor Don Johnson, and son Alexander, 34, with actor Steven Bauer. Antonio is now happily dating model Nicole Kimpel.

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