antonio banderas heart attack

Antonio Banderas opens up about heart attack and what being close to death revealed

The 'Pain and Glory' star got candid about his life-changing health scare.

Antonio Banderas had a major perspective shift after suffering from a heart attack in 2017. The 59-year-old actor got candid about the personal experience on Variety and iHeart's The Big Ticket podcast this week. Among various life changes, he revealed that his recently-opened theatre company in Málaga, Spain, the Teatro del Soho CaixaBank, was a direct offspring of his health scare. The idea for the new venture, which holds a school for 600 students, came to him right after he had the attack.

antonio banderas soho theatre©GettyImages
Antonio Banderas opened his new theatre in Spain

“I came [to] the conclusion that I had to do the things that I want to do, that I don’t want to die thinking, ‘I should have done that or I should have said that,’” the Genius star said. “Money in the bank became kind of a very Machiavellian [scheming] intellectual thing.”


Opening up further, Antonio said that “when you get close to death, only the essential things remain. Things that you thought at some point that were very important, they disappear.” Clearly the things that matter to him came into focus, blurring all of the other stuff.

“Movies became an enormous accident in my career, an accident of over 112 movies, but the thing that I fell in love with in my profession is the theatre… seeing actors on the stage, a group of people just telling stories to another group of people. I just love that ritual,” he said.

“There was something there, very specific, very beautiful that has to do with civilization, with the possibility of these people reflecting in front of others about ourselves,” he elaborated on his true love - the theatre. “You can make them laugh, you can make them cry, you can go to many different places.”

Prior to his heart attack, Antonio previously admitted that he was “living life in a not nice way.” He explained: “I'm not a drinker. I was a smoker, which was probably one of the most stupid things I have ever done in my whole life. I was very lucky, after all." Following the incident, the Desperado star underwent a procedure to put three stents in his arteries, AP News reported in March.