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
ANA LEZA AND ANTONIO APART
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.
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:
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."
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
"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.
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.
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
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."
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."
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."
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.
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."
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
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
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.
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
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."
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
or later, with Melanie or without Melanie, it
was going to happen."
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
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.
is quite old information and may be obsolete by
now. I have seen no recent updates on Ana Leza.
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.
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
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.
desire for Antonio the greatest happiness.
my marriage with Antonio , having children was one of
our greatest desires. But we kept postponing it for the
sake of Antonio's career...
wouldn't feel badly after a matrimonial separation. But
life goes on, and it's full of marvelous things ..."
Some months ago, coinciding with the wedding of Antonio
and Melanie, you spoke of becoming a mother. Do you still
think the same?
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."
to Semana, Ana doesn't blame anybody for their matrimonial
Chapter appears to be closed.
to Ana and Antonio Together