Madonna has kept no secrets about her long-standing crush on Antonio Banderas, but the Spanish actor had no idea she was majorly pining for him until she called him up and told him herself.
During a new interview with Banderas on SiriusXM's "The Jess Cagle Show," Cagle brought up Madonna's 1991 docufiction film, "Madonna: Truth or Dare," during which the pop star privately obsesses over Banderas: "Is that man beautiful or what?" she asks her entourage. "My God. There must be something wrong with him. No one is that perfect."
In the footage filmed 30 years ago, cameras followed Madonna as she met Banderas at a party, where she hoped to "make Antonio fall madly in love with me." Unfortunately for her, "I finally get to meet him and he's married," she says mournfully as the cameras show his then-wife, Ana Leza.
Although Madonna's inner circle knew she was crushing, Banderas had no idea that she was genuinely flirting with him, nor did he know he would be shown in the film at all — until she called him up.
"She called me one morning," Banderas recalled. "I thought someone was just making a joke at me. Because I picked up my phone in my hotel room and it was Madonna. I couldn't believe it."
The reason for the call? She wanted to give Banderas a heads-up about the now-completed film. "She said, 'Listen, I want to show you this documentary that you are in,'" he continued. "And I said, 'What? What documentary? What are you talking about?'"
Madonna offered to remove the scenes if they bothered him, but he said he didn't mind. (Ultimately, as Cagle pointed out, the exposure is what introduced much of America to Banderas in the first place.)
The one-sided attraction was still going strong, however, even after Banderas split from his first wife and then married Melanie Griffith. The two wed in 1996, the same year that he was cast to co-star alongside Madonna in "Evita." Several years later, Griffith would allege that Madonna had banned her from the film's set because she was still holding a candle for Banderas, even though he was married with a pregnant wife.
"Madonna was after him publicly," Griffith told Larry King in 2002. "I was pregnant when he was doing 'Evita.' ... So the press made a big thing about how Melanie's watching over Antonio and she won't leave him alone with Madonna. I was hurt because I was banned from the set."
That version of events is consistent with Madonna's, who told Howard Stern in 2015 that she'd never slept with Banderas: "I wish. I had a big crush on him [but] he was with Melanie Griffith. She never left his side."
Banderas and Griffith divorced in 2015 but remain on a good terms. In 2018 Banderas firmly declared, "I will love that woman until the day I die."
RELATED: See photos of Antonio Banderas with Melanie Griffith