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Banderas, Griffith announce 'loving and friendly' split

LOS ANGELES -- Hollywood power couple Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith announced the end of their 18-year marriage Friday, saying they had agreed to divorce “in a loving and friendly manner.”

The pair, who dismissed rumors of marital strains two years ago, said they were happy for the 'beautiful time” they had spent together.

“We have thoughtfully and consensually decided to finalize our almost 20 years (of) marriage,” the Spanish and U.S. actors said in a joint statement.

The decision was taken “in a loving and friendly manner honoring and respecting each other, our family and friends and the beautiful time we have spent together,” added the statement, signed “Melanie & Antonio.”

Griffith filed for divorce in Los Angeles citing “irreconcilable differences” for the split, according to documents published by the TMZ celebrity news website.

It is the second divorce for Banderas, who was previously married to Spanish actress Ana Leza for eight years, divorcing in 1996, the same year he married Griffith.

The couple dismissed rumors of strains in 2012 after Banderas was seen dancing with Indian actress Mallika Sherawat in Cannes, and Griffith was seen without her wedding ring, People magazine noted.

A source told People at the time that they seemed “very happy, mutually supportive, loving.”

Golden Globe-nominated Banderas, 53, is known in the United States for movies including the “Shrek” franchise and 1998's “The Mask of Zorro.” He also featured in several Pedro Almodovar movies.

Fifty-six year-old Griffith, who was nominated for an Oscar for 1988's “Working Girl,” has three previous divorces. Her former husbands include actor Don Johnson, to whom she was married twice.

Griffith is seeking custody of the couple's 17-year-old daughter Stella, according to the legal petition, dated Friday and published by TMZ on its website.

The actress is seeking sole physical custody and joint legal custody, with visiting rights for Banderas, the document shows.

Griffith — the daughter of Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock's “The Birds” — is also seeking unspecified financial support from the actor.

The date of their separation was not specified in the document, which seeks dissolution of marriage, as opposed to legal separation or nullity of marriage.

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