Antonio Banderas says Melanie Griffith is his best friend.

Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith

Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith

Although the former couple divorced in 2015, they have remained extremely close and Antonio, 59, says Melanie, 62, will always be family to him.

He told Vulture: "I am not married with Melanie anymore, but she is my family. She is probably one of my best friends, if not the best friend that I have. My family is there, Dakota, Little Estella and Alexander."

Melanie has daughter Dakota, 29, with Don Johnson and son Alexander, 34, with Steven Bauer.

The actress tied the knot with Antonio in 1996 and the pair welcomed daughter Stella, 22, that year.

And Antonio admitted he was smitten by Melanie the first time he saw her, at the 1989 Oscars.

He recalled: "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.

"So, I said to Pedro Almodóvar, '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. I remember those years as very effervescent and really beautiful."

Despite the split, Antonio has previously vowed that he will love Melanie until the day he dies.

He said: "Even if we are divorced, she is my family and I will love her until the day I die. 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."