Antonio Banderas on How Life Changed After Having a Heart Attack: 'It Opened My Eyes' (Exclusive)

The veteran actor is sharing how the harrowing experience altered his outlook.

Antonio Banderas is reflecting on how a potentially life-threatening moment changed his outlook.

ET's Lauren Zima spoke with the 59-year-old Spanish actor at the Hollywood Film Awards on Sunday night, where he discussed his 2017 heart attack and the ways it has altered his perspective and his acting.

"I think, for us actors, everything that happens in your life is gonna affect your career," Banderas said on the red carpet. "I don't believe those people that say, 'No, my career and personal life are two different things.' In my case, no."

"You know, the food for an actor is life," he continued. "Obviously, this event was very dramatic when it was happening. It opens my eyes in a different direction and establishes an order of priorities that was different than before. So yeah, it changed my life and probably is going to change my acting." 

Last week, Banderas dropped by Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where he revealed that his longtime girlfriend, Nicole Kimpel, saved his life when had his heart attack. She'd bought some aspirin just hours before the episode, which proved incredibly important.

"The next morning, when I started having the symptoms and I clearly knew what was going on, she put one of those aspirins inside on my tongue and that saved my life," he recalled on the show. "So, I had a second chance, and some stuff changed in my life since then."

On Sunday, Banderas was on hand to accept the Hollywood Actor Award for his role in his new film, Pain and Glory, in which he plays Salvador Mallo, a director on the downward slope of his career who's wrestling with his past. Presenting the award to the veteran film star was none other than Dakota Johnson, his former stepdaughter. He was married to Johnson's mother, Melanie Griffith, from 1996 to 2015.

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Prior to the ceremony, Banderas told ET that, although he knew he was getting the award, he doesn't like to prepare speeches, but the family who attended will share the special moment with him.

"I prefer, actually, to improvise. I don't think, when you receive an award, to read is proper," he said, adding, "I have the family here, so they may get a little bit of the shine."

While accepting the award from Johnson, Banderas shared a story concerning becoming an actor. He explained that when he was 19, he was working at a theater in Spain and a man came up to him and told him he should get into acting because he had a "romantic face." That man turned out to be director Pedro Almodovar, who has worked with Banderas on eight films, including Pain and Glory.

Banderas also thanked Johnson, sharing how much he loves that she calls him "Papi." He also gave a sweet shoutout to his daughter whom he shares with Griffith, Stella Banderas, who was also in attendance, stating that "no matter how many movies I've done, she is my best production."

Check out ET's full chat with Banderas at the awards show above.


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