Antonio Banderas doesn’t call Dakota Johnson his stepdaughter – he accepts her fully

Antonio Banderas is known as the Spanish heartthrob of Hollywood who has dominated screens for decades. But in his personal life, the heartthrob is actually a kind-hearted man who revels in being a father…

Even to those he did not biologically father. His relationship with step-daughter Dakota Johnson is a testament to his fatherly qualities.


While Dakota Johnson’s parents both kept friendly relationships with one another after their breakup, Dakota still ended up with a ‘bonus dad’ after her mother started a relationship with actor Antonio Banderas.

“I come from a family of many a marriage and I got very lucky. I got a bonus dad who I realized that, over time, is actually one of the most influential people in my whole life,” Dakota Johnson once said about her beloved bonus dad Banderas.

Antonio Banderas met Johnson’s mother Melanie Griffith on a set of a movie the two of them were working on together. Their decision to be with each other was immediate.


Griffith’s two children from her first marriage saw how much Banderas loved their mother and decided to accept him as their second father. They referred to him as, “Paponio” — a mixture of the words “Papi” and “Antonio.”

In 1996, Griffith gave birth to her daughter who she shares with Banderas. And suddenly Antonio Banderas found himself a father of three children. He began to realize that while he raised a toddler with Griffith, they were also raising two adolescents; Alexander and Dakota. He turned into a protective dad who knew he had to take care of all three children.

While Alexander and Stella did not like the attention their famous parents garnered them, Dakota took to the limelight with a flair.

Banderas noticed his step-daughter’s proclivity for attention and decided to test her acting skills. In 1999, he was directing a project called Crazy in Alabama and asked her to become part of it. The role of the little girl only had a few lines but Dakota took it seriously and demanded an acting tutor.


Johnson still fondly recalls the time of her first project. While acting skills are not something a person inherits, Dakota did learn a lot from her family. She says her mother gave her her sense of humor while her father taught her respect. And as for Antonio, he gave her a love for the brighter things in life, helped her understand Spanish, and instilled a love of flamenco and jamón in her.

Johnson considers Banderas a leader in the craft of acting. She shared that she only started appreciating how hard he works after she became an actor herself.

“Now, as a grown woman working in the same industry, I understand that Antonio is one of our finest artists in film, stage and television, in multiple languages,” Johnson admitted. “As an actor, director, writer, singer, his range is absolutely astounding. I can look back on his entire career, and time after time, his performances and endeavors as an artist have made an imprint,” she said.

As for Banderas, he thinks of Dakota as his daughter. He said once, “She’s my daughter, I love her. I’ve been with her on my shoulders, traveling all around the world.”

In 2014, after almost two decades together Melanie and Antonio called it quits. They promised to remain amicable and unlike most couples, fulfilled that promise. Banderas said years after their separation that, “I will love that woman until the day I die.” He knows that their marriage amounted to a lot of beautiful things and beautiful times together for them as a family.


In 2019, Dakota presented to her step-father a Hollywood Film Award for his role in Pain and Glory. He dedicated the award to his two daughters, saying, “I want to dedicate this to two people that I love, one is right here, Dakota, for something very simple, because you always call me papi, and still now you call me papi and I love that! You have no idea how much I love that!”

The bond that Dakota Johnson shares with her step-father even after his divorce from their mother is beautiful. It shows you family goes beyond what we think is ‘normal.’

Share this piece with others so they can enjoy this beautiful bond between father and daughter as well!