"I am not married with Melanie anymore, but she is my family," Antonio Banderas said of his ex-wife Melanie Griffith

Antonio Banderas has some heartfelt words to share about his ex-wife Melanie Griffith.

The Pain and Glory actor, 59, gushed about Griffith, 62, during an interview with Vulture in which he recalled how they met and the depth of their friendship after their divorce in 2015.

“I am not married with Melanie anymore, but she is my family,” Banderas said. “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.”

The two married in 1996 and had daughter Stella, 22, later that year. Griffith shares her daughter Johnson, 29, with actor Don Johnson, and son Alexander, 34, with actor Steven Bauer.

Banderas recalled seeing Griffith while at the 1989 Academy Awards when he was with his friend and director Pedro Almodóvar.

Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas
| Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Children's Hospital Los Angeles

“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,” Banderas said.

He continued, “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, I was married to her.”

“Everything happened in those years really fast. My life was fast and fascinating if I actually see it in retrospective,” Banderas said. “I remember those years as very effervescent and really beautiful.”

RELATED VIDEO: Antonio Banderas Talks Co-Parenting With Melanie Griffith & Reveals If He’d Ever Get Married Again

Griffith and Banderas ended their nearly two-decade-long marriage in December 2015. Since then, the two have remained friends, wishing each other happy birthday and spending time together with their daughter Stella.

In April 2018, Banderas said their divorce didn’t change a thing when it came to caring for one another.

“Even if we are divorced, she is my family and I will love her until the day I die,” he said while speaking to People Now. “We have been in contact all these years and we managed to do a separation that is very elegant.”

“Our kids are enjoying that and that is very important for both of us. Our kids are priority number one,” he added.

Pain and Glory is in theaters on Oct. 4.