Dakota Johnson & Stella Banderas: How The Half-Sisters Really Get Along

The Johnson, Banderas, and Griffith clans are without question Hollywood royalty. The multiple generations of influential actors are all the more admired for their work in the industry because of their continued friendship even after marriages have ended and circumstances shifted.

Melanie Griffith is the daughter of Tippi Hedren and a mother to three — daughter Dakota Johnson from her marriage to fellow actor Don Johnson; son Alexander Bauer from her marriage to Steven Bauer; and Stella Banderas, daughter from her marriage to Antonio Banderas.

After being married three times — twice to Dakota's father, Don — Melanie Griffith tied the knot with Antonio Banderas in 1996. Stella del Carmen Banderas Griffith was born that same year and the couple would stay together until 2015. Stella's half-sister, Dakota, has risen through the Hollywood ranks, with box-office hits and lots of publicity, yet the sisters' relationship has remained much of a mystery. What exactly is going on between these stunning half-siblings?

In 1999, Dakota Johnson and Stella Banderas starred in a film together

The sisters made their big screen debut playing — you guessed it — sisters in the 1999 film "Crazy in Alabama." The movie was a family affair, directed by Antonio Banderas and starring their mother Melanie Griffith as their movie mom.

In the following years, the half-sisters were seen at Antonio Banderas' movie events, including 2002's "Spy Kids" premiere, where a bright-faced Dakota Johnson was seen posing next to mom, Melanie, while Antonio poses next to young Stella. Flash forward to 8-year-old Stella, smiling beside big sister Dakota at the 2004 Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, then appearing all dressed up on the red carpet beside her family at the 61st and the 63rd annual Golden Globe award ceremonies.

While Dakota would go on to follow in the footsteps of her famous parents, Stella pursued other creative avenues as she came into adulthood. In comparison to Dakota, who was regularly in the media circuit, Stella has made less frequent appearances.

You won't see Stella Banderas on Dakota Johnson's Instagram feed

From an outsiders' perspective, the lack of public outings and the sparse social media engagement between the two could suggest that the two aren't very close. However, it's also possible that the siblings simply keep their relationship private.

In 2016, their younger half-sister, Grace Johnson, posted a photo of herself, Dakota, and Stella posing cheek to cheek and smiling. The caption read: "Happy belated birthday to both of my magical sisters." The following year, Stella shared a polaroid of herself and Dakota dressed up in pajamas and heels while in Aspen, Colorado at Christmastime. In the snapshot, both of them strike a dramatic pose, Stella cradling an electric Omnichord instrument while her sister holds a mic.

With Dakota's status as a highly sought-after working actor, her Instagram feed suggests that she uses the platform primarily for her career and political interests. While she has nearly 5 million followers, as of this writing, her page is completely devoid of personal family photos. In fact, she only has nine posts on her feed.

The half-sisters give Antonio Banderas fashion advice

In November 2019, Dakota Johnson presented her step-father with an award at the Hollywood Film Awards, while Stella walked the red carpet in support of their father. In the speech to her stepdad, Dakota spoke about how much their patchwork family means to her.

"I come from a family of many a marriage and I got very lucky," she said (via E! News). "I got a bonus dad who I realized that, over time, is actually one of the most influential people in my whole life." She continued, saying, "When I was six years old, my mother married a man who brought an unbelievably bright light, a whole new world of creativity and culture and one remarkably magical little sister in to our family." When Antonio accepted the award, he dedicated it to both of his daughters, Dakota Johnson and Stella Banderas.

Banderas is not only thankful for his daughters — he looks to them for advice in at least one area: fashion. In an interview with Fashionista, Antonio Banderas shared how his fashion-forward daughters are always working together to get him to dress more stylishly. 'They want papi to be more trendy, and sometimes I get caught in old patterns that I have for whatever reason," he revealed. "Today, for example, they wouldn't like me because I'm wearing cowboy boots." It would seem that sisters are collaborating behind the scenes to help their Hollywood father stay on top of the latest fashion trends.

Melanie Griffith says both of her daughters are unique

For Melanie Griffith's birthday in August 2021, Dakota and Stella Johnson surprised her with golden balloons spelling out "mama." Griffith captioned the photo she shared on Instagram, "I love my daughters." In September of that same year, Griffith posted a sweet shot of young Dakota and toddler Stella smiling sweetly at the camera "Happy National Daughters Day."

It's obvious Griffth is proud of her girls. In an interview with OK! magazine, the actor talked about the sisters growing up, sharing their many talents, "[Dakota's] an amazing artist and paints beautifully. ... [Stella is] smart, writes beautifully, plays the piano and is a fabulous athlete." Griffith continued, saying, "I know everybody loves their kids and thinks they are unique, but mine really are!" The two women are both regularly featured on their mother's Instagram feed, along with their fathers, which suggests they are all as close as they seem.

Dakota and Stella are occasionally spotted together

In the public sphere, half-sisters Dakota Johnson and Stella Banderas have been seen out and about running errands — whether getting smoothies or doing some Christmas shopping together. Spotted in Los Angeles on a few different occasions, the Hollywood beauties are typically photographed looking dressed-down and makeup free, comfortable enough with each other to grab a casual lunch or some dinner whether they're in the city of angels, New York, or jet-setting outside the U.S. Several instances placed the sisters in Aspen, Colorado, where their mother Melanie Griffith previously owned a home. It would seem the pair get up to typical sister things when they're together.

How often they see one another is left up to speculation as social media and paparazzi pictures leave much of their relationship to the imagination. Nevertheless, any familial mention in the press or witnessed in red carpet interactions have been positive and amicable.

Dakota has called Stella her 'remarkably magical little sister'

Being the A-List family that they are, the Johnson-Banderas sisters, often including their younger sister Grace Johnson, have been photographed at various fashion shows, red carpet events, and award dinners together. In July 2013, for example, Dakota Johnson and Stella Banderas caught the Viktor & Rolf show during Paris Fashion Week, dressed in complementary black and white outfits with stunning cut-out details (via Time).

Flash forward to 2015, and the pair were photographed beside their mother Melanie Griffith and grandmother, Hollywood darling Tippi Hendren, on the red carpet of the Elle Women in Hollywood awards, as reported in Us Weekly. In 2018, Grace, Dakota, and Stella were photographed at the Gucci Cruise show in Florence, Italy. All three sisters wowed with their variety of Gucci looks in the very front row. The following year, both Dakota and Stella showed up to support Antonio Banderas at the Hollywood Film Awards, where Dakota presented him with his award and praised her half-sister, Stella. In her speech, she said, in part, "When I was six years old, my mother married a man who brought an unbelievably bright light, a whole new world of creativity and culture and one remarkably magical little sister [Stella] in to our family" (via Hola! magazine).

Like Dakota, Stella does not use her mother's maiden name

In September 2021, Stella Banderas Griffith, as she was then known, filed for "Griffith" to be removed from her legal name, according to Page Six — a move that caused some speculation of familial discontent However, Stella quickly explained that she simply wanted a shortened name. Court documents obtained by Page Six also quoted Stella saying, "I typically do not use 'Griffith' when referring to myself or on documents. So, dropping the name would match my regular use."

Stella's Instagram handle remains @stellabanderasgriffith, suggesting the filing has little bearing on Stella's connection to her mother or her sister — she's still a Griffith at heart (and on Insta), if not on all legal documents. Stella's half-sister, Dakota Johnson, also does not go by the last name Griffith. It can be argued that Stella's choice to drop their mother's maiden name is not much of an indicator of the sisters' relationship with one another, but simply a personal and stylistic choice.

Stella and Dakota understand the importance of prioritizing mental health

Dakota Johnson rose to fame with her breakout role in "The Social Network" alongside the likes of Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake. Since then, she has gone on to star in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" franchise and several other films. In 2022, she starred in the Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen's "Persuasion."

Dakota's half-sister, on the other hand, has taken a different route. Stella Banderas hasn't appeared in a film since 1999's "Crazy in Alabama." Instead, she touts herself as a "multimedia storyteller," according to her Instagram bio. Stella is a graduate of the University of Southern California and said she is a yoga and reiki practitioner as well as a naturalist, writer, and perfumer (via Hola! magazine). She has also modeled, even appearing on the cover of Glamour.

Having modeled for Madhappy, the lifestyle apparel brand, Stella talked about the importance of mental health: "Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of any aspect of your health and of your body" (via The Local Optimist). Stella's half-sister Dakota has similarly been open about her mental health in interviews. In a 2020 interview with Marie Claire, she revealed, '"My brain moves at a million miles per minute. I have to do a lot of work to purge thoughts and emotions, and I am in a lot of therapy."

Dakota Johnson and Stella Banderas are involved in wellness pursuits

Both Stella Banderas and Dakota Johnson have dipped their toes into the wellness industry. Outside of her acting accolades, Dakota signed on as the creative co-director of Maude, a modern sexual wellness brand, Vogue reported. Dakota explained her reasoning behind joining Maude to Vogue, saying, "Sexual wellness is essential to all humans. It is so important that every human feels included in and able to access this form of self-care, and that the conversation around sexual health is destigmatized. ... Maude is focused on making sexual care a part of your wellness routine."

Stella, meanwhile, is the founder of Light Bound, a fragrance and home accessories brand. According to the company, "She created Lightbound with the intention of cultivating a space that offers handcrafted products and recommendations that nourish the three homes; the soul, the body, and the earth."

Both Maude and Light Bound, cater to people looking for cruelty-free and sustainable products, suggesting that the half-sisters are like-minded in their entrepreneurial ventures.