Don Johnson married Melanie Griffith twice, in 1976 and 1989, before divorcing for the second time in 1996

By Helen Murphy
November 27, 2019 12:50 PM
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Don Johnson is praising daughter Dakota Johnson‘s acting chops.

During a recent interview with The Guardian, the Knives Out star, who turns 70 next month, was asked how he felt when his daughter told him she wanted to be an actress. Don shares Dakota, 30, with ex-wife Melanie Griffith.

“That’s a story in itself,” he said. “I didn’t know that she wanted to do it. She hadn’t shared that with us. So she’s 18, I think, at the time and I’m going: ‘Okay, I’ll just keep my eye on her and reach out and catch her.’ Ha ha, that’s the last I saw of Dakota.”

“She has the goods,” the actor added. “She’s a wonderful actress, and in some ways better than her mother and me.”

The Miami Vice star and Griffith, 62, first married in 1976, before divorcing and then remarrying in 1989. They divorced again in 1996.

Dakota Johnson with dad Don Johnson
Jim Spellman/WireImage

Don, now married to schoolteacher Kelley Phleger, previously told PEOPLE that he maintains a positive relationship with his ex-wife.

“We’re close,” he said of the Working Girl actress in May 2018. “I think when you have children with someone that if you’re smart you say, ‘Okay, this isn’t about us anymore. This is about someone else.’”

Dakota has been closely following in her famous parents’ footsteps. The actress broke out after starring in the Fifty Shades franchise, and has since been seen in films including Suspiria, Bad Times at the El Royale and The Peanut Butter Falcon.

Melanie Griffith and Dakota Johnson
Jason Merritt/Getty

“I was surprised,” Don previously told PEOPLE of Dakota’s success. “When Dakota was about to graduate high school I went to her and I said, “Okay, so what are we thinking about colleges here?’ And she said, ‘I’m not going to college. I’m going to be an actress.’ And I went, ‘Well, that’s very interesting because I’ve never seen you take an acting class. I’ve never seen you do a play.’”“Little did I know, Dakota was in the background watching mom and dad all those years,” he added. “She was learning her craft.”

During his interview with The Guardian, Don also commented on Dakota’s relationship with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.

“He’s a lovely man, I’ll tell you that,” the Watchmen actor said. “But it’s not my place; they have their own thing. It would be like asking Chris Martin: ‘How’s Don’s relationship with his wife?'”

Griffith previously told PEOPLE that she is also a fan of Martin, saying, “I love my daughter’s boyfriend. I think that they’re an awesome couple.”

Knives Out is in theaters now.