Ana Leza Antonio
Above: November, 1996, Ana Leza and Antonio were at court in Los Angeles to try to settle the financial settlement of their divorce. According to mostly tabloid sources, the final details were not settled until June, 1997. Tabloids claim Ana received either $6 million or $8 million dollar settlement and their $3.2 million dollar home in Madrid


The relationship between Antonio and Ana Leza seemed happy; there were no rumors of affairs or fights. However, in April, 1995 the press announced the news that Antonio and Ana Leza had separated along with the information that he was seeing American actress Melanie Griffith.

There were early warning signs, but probably only those really close to the couple would have interpreted them correctly. In a 1993 Fotogramas, Antonio was questioned about his marital relationship. There was the following exchange:

F.: you've been married for six years with Ana Leza. How has your new professional situation affected your marriage?
A.B.: "I think that we're being very mature, that we're dealing with it pretty well. Anita is now in New York, in a master of performing arts, and each three weeks it's either she who comes to me or I who go there to see her. She will come now with me to Buenos Aires, to the shooting of Of Love and Shadows. We're dealing with it well. Besides, when we have been separated for a while, the meetings are wonderful."

So in 1993 Ana was already developing interests and commitments on her time independent of Antonio. Later after the breakup, Antonio would put a slightly different spiel on the separations to GQ:

"We had a great time together for a while. And what happened is, we were going like this"-he draws two parallel lines in the sand that suddenly veer off, forming a V. "Our lives started to get more separated. She wanted to spend more time in Spain, and I took the option of working hard on my career in other places and fields, and we didn't spend much time together.

"At the same time, she didn't really come with me as much as I would have loved-and I understand that, because she was probably trying to make a career in another way." But there was something else: Anita's mounting devotion to a branch of Buddhism. "She really, really got into that," Banderas says, pounding his fist into a foot-deep hole he's dug.

"She was spending a lot of time at the ashrams, and we didn't see each other so much." At which point, Banderas goes off the record to reveal other difficulties in the marriage, though much of it, he assures me, he will keep to himself.

GQ also spoke to Salma Hayek who remarked, "They were extremely different from each other. She's a very, very spiritual woman. Antonio's not very spiritual. He's into the work. That's his priority in life."

"Antonio has come to be a great figure thanks to his efforts and to making himself be submerged twenty-four hours a day in his work. His personality changed in this sense. On the contrary, Ana Leza, is a person in constant inner growth. She is very spiritual and in her there is evolving feeling for life. When a marriage grows in different directions, it is customary to separate." -- Salma Hayek, Tan Solo un Actor."

Antonio also realizes that his own work habits were a contributing factor to the split:
"I have to recognize that part of the problems we had were due to my own tough work schedule. Part of the time I was working, I could have spent with her. We were both trying to keep the flame alive."

Once Ana was practical, but now she is described as spiritual. Antonio was once described as ethereal, but now as being driven by his work. The observers are different as well as the times. Antonio has always been ambitious as an actor. In his mind, the two sides of him (spiritual and worldly) can coexist with no problem. But did he have problems adapting to a wife who no longer was as concerned practically for his welfare as her own spiritual growth? And was her type of spirituality at odds with his traditional upbringing? And if he did have dissatisfactions, would he have been able to talk to Ana Leza freely about them? It can be pretty hard to complain when you've been pre-empted by the Almighty in whatever form.

Tan Solo un Actor speaks briefly of Ana's reaction to the breakup: The paparazzis followed her as she left the apartment that she inhabited in New York with Antonio, but Ana didn't want to speak of the separation: "Ask Antonio on the matter. He is the star of this story, and it is he who should speak."

A little time later Ana Leza moved to a center of oriental meditation in the United States, where she became trained in the--happiness of the liberation--, by means of a philosophic methodology of Hindu (?) origin. -- Tan Solo un Actor


Ana Leza was reported (by the tabloids) as being resistant to divorce. The Globe (terribly unreliable) November 21, 1995 had an article about Ana Leza's filing of separation papers. Ana supposedly said in these papers (and remember she was looking for spousal support so bias is to be expected), Antonio was in a "zombielike trance" when he confessed to the affair with Melanie. Yet Antonio's also described as hot-tempered, taking her by her blouse, shaking her and then throwing her on the bed. Also, the article had Antonio's brother taking away Ana's Volkswagen, and Antonio refusing to talk to Ana on one hand and yet calling her mother and sisters repeatedly on another. In the papers supposedly, Antonio refers to "his mistress" who would explain things to Ana. Melanie is never referred to by name. Similar stories were run by The Globe and The Star, June 4, 1996 when Ana was seeking a financial settlement.

The story doesn't particularly ring true because of apparent contradictions and unlikely situations (such as Antonio referring to Melanie as "my mistress" and never calling her by name), but does offer a contrast to the much earlier story of Ana's tantrum run in The Star and other tabloid sources. This earlier story about Antonio and Ana Leza's confrontation has Ana as the one out of control. The story goes back to Seattle during the filming of Assassins. Ana supposedly trashed Antonio's hotel room and threw food (avocado-cream cheese specialty hamburger) and objects (ashtray) at him and out the window. She was supposedly accompanied by two hefty bodyguards. Hotel security had to be called. The comment was made that Antonio looked to be the one in need of a bodyguard. Antonio tried to shrug this off as "my wife has quite a temper". [No mention was made of her spirituality in this story]. There were supposedly a number of witnesses to Ana's outburst. The later story in which Antonio was described as a zombie had no witnesses.

One obvious misrepresentation in the supposed court papers is the exaggeration of Ana Leza's impact on Antonio's career. It's true she helped with his English and early on sacrificed her own career for his. But she had reprioritized her life the last two years of their marriage. On Hard Copy, Divorce Attorney Raoul Felder (a high-profile HC regular whose latest client was Anthony Quinn's wife. Ana Leza's lawyer was not he but Patricia Phillips) said totally erroneously: "People love him on the screen as a tough guy. But you're not a tough guy with your own wife who's created you. She's created this gentleman. She created this image on the screen. " What rubbish! Antonio was an already established star in Spain when he met Ana in 1987. He made Matador in 1986, and arguably his greatest acting performance, Law of Desire, was released in 1987 . One of the tabloid stories [The Star] also had Ana claiming in the court papers that

"I played an indispensable role in Antonio's entree to the Hollywood elite. In that exclusive community, it is very important who an actor is married to. Hollywood was very impressed with our marriage and that I was always by Antonio's side."

This statement seems pretty insubstantial and untrue on all counts. Steve Kemetko, a pretty knowledgeable Hollywood reporter [E!], didn't know who Ana was back at the 1994 Oscar pre-show. Plus, the fact that so much of the "gossip" about Antonio in the U.S. prior to his affair with Melanie, centered on speculation that he was gay, seems to indicate that Ana wasn't making much of a public impact as his wife. [It was absolutely amazing how quickly that gossip ended, once Antonio was seen with Melanie!] Antonio's reported reply to Ana's statements was that the marriage was on the rocks because she had started to live in a religious retreat in New York State. "During the last two years of our marriage, Ana had no role in my career."

While Ana Leza had filed for legal separation in the fall of 1995 in California, in the Spanish media there was notice in early 1996 that Ana was avoiding any legal proceedings at least in Spain. She did not show up for hearings and avoided being served by court papers by changing her residence constantly. According to Paulo, "The judge has recently sent her a warning, saying that if she doesn't go to the audience at a certain day, the trial would go on without her, and she could not argue any more before the court in this case."

As colorful as the tabloid stories are, in reality neither Antonio nor Ana Leza have spoken much to the media about their break up. (and certainly never to the tabloids). So what news we have is mostly gossip and interpretation of the court papers. However, Antonio did speak about the reported court allegations of Ana back in Hello!, November 25th, 1995. This gives a little perspective on that time and the state of Antonio's mind at the breakup.


The marriage between Ana Leza and Antonio was dissolved the month before Antonio and Melanie married May 14, 1996. The divorce was not publicized which was one of the reasons Antonio's and Melanie's wedding was able to be such a surprise, although the tabloids had a large number of pre-nuptial stories the week before the wedding. The money settlement was to drag on for over a year later, apparently finally being settled in June, 1997.

Despite a tabloid story (The Star-July 23, 1996), there was no threat of bigamy charges nor a Spanish police probe into Antonio's divorce and subsequent marriage. However, there were some questions among the Spanish media about the validity of Antonio's wedding to Melanie Griffith in Spain because of the speed of the divorce. According to Paulo, the Spanish court trial about the divorce was stopped, because of Ana's behavior ( changing her home address to avoid citations). Hola! published an article indicating that the Antonio's and Melanie's marriage was recognized in Spain but hasn't legal validity nor further legal consequences there [which seems to mean that property would not be jointly held] . For Antonio's marriage to be fully valid in Spain, the Supreme Court must give a sentence called "exequatur" . This document is given in one year or a bit more, from the moment in which the person asks for it . That should mean that by now all questions of legal validity have been settled.

Ana and Dalma Villarreal

Sooner or later, with Melanie or without Melanie, it was going to happen."

(his split with Ana Leza) There is no connection between the break-up with my wife and my relationship with Melanie. NY Daily News, Aug 15 95

Several sources state that Ana's new boyfriend is an artist (or a film editor) named Dalma Villarreal (on left). They are both interested in a form of yoga. Ana's current home is said to be Los Angeles, where she was/is talking acting lessons.

This is quite old information and may be obsolete by now. I have seen no recent updates on Ana Leza.



Even though Ana and her lawyer were to continue to push for the best financial settlement possible, there was also evidence that much of Ana Leza's bitterness was over by the time Antonio's daughter Stella was born. In Los Angeles, where she resides she stated at that time, "I desire for him the same as for any other person that has the experience of having a child, that he be very happy and that he enjoy something so marvelous." Semana went even further in that Ana included Melanie in her well-wishes: "That he be very happy and that he and Melanie enjoy to the maximum something so marvelous.

Other comments from Ana Leza: "Yoga has helped me much ..I believe that thanks to this technique I've recovered the emotional stability and found the force that I began with again.

"I know very clearly what I want: demonstrating my qualities as an actress and triumphing in my profession. I have more force than ever. Every day, I attend drama classes and am doing well.

"I desire for Antonio the greatest happiness.

"During my marriage with Antonio , having children was one of our greatest desires. But we kept postponing it for the sake of Antonio's career...

"Who wouldn't feel badly after a matrimonial separation. But life goes on, and it's full of marvelous things ..."

Semana: Some months ago, coinciding with the wedding of Antonio and Melanie, you spoke of becoming a mother. Do you still think the same?

"I have many projects and that is one of them. Yes, I want to be a mother, and the day that the child arrives will be very well received."

According to Semana, Ana doesn't blame anybody for their matrimonial failure.

This Chapter appears to be closed.

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