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Don Johnson Was With Another Woman the Night Before He Married Melanie Griffith

The couple married, divorced, and then married again.

Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson kept the tabloids busy for decades with a somewhat-scandalous on-again, off-again romance that spanned more than 20 years and two rounds of marriage, including the first that began with a Las Vegas wedding when Griffith was just 18. At the time, Johnson was said to still be dating other people. He even admitted later that he was in bed with another woman the night before he married Griffith for the first time. Read on for the details on their troubled initial marriage—and what convinced them to give their relationship a second go.

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Griffith and Johnson met when they were 14 and 22, respectively.

Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson in 1972
Frank Edwards/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Griffith first met Johnson on the set of 1973's The Harrad Experiment, in which he was cast as the student of a sex education teacher played by Griffith's mother, Tippi Hedren. When they became an item, Johnson was 22 with two annulled marriages behind him, while Griffith was a 14-year-old high schooler.

In a 1975 People article posted to the website of photographer Mary Ellen Mark, the actor looked back at their earlier relationship noting that he was "skeptical only because of her age" and admitted he "did feel a little strange picking her up after school." Although he rejected the idea that they had snuck around behind Hedren's back, he notably "did not make the same claim" of faithfulness as Griffith, who said that being in love with the older actor had saved her the "pain and heartbreak of going out with a lot of boys."

By age 15, Griffith had left cuddling pet lions at her mother's house behind to shack up with Johnson in Laurel Canyon. She soon launched an acting career of her own with his encouragement. They got engaged on her 18th birthday, although People reported that the couple regarded "the diamond ring as more of a friendship band and [had] no wedding date in mind."

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Johnson spent the night with someone else before getting hitched to Griffith in Vegas.

Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith in 1975

Despite thoughts of marriage, there was trouble in paradise for the young couple. "It just wasn't working for us, but we couldn't split up," Griffith admitted to People in 1989. By then they were speaking publicly about the drug and alcohol abuse that had marked their earlier years, along with Johnson's involvement with other women. In the same article, Johnson confessed that he had been with another woman the night before he and Griffith tied the knot in January 1976.

"I had been with Marjorie Wallace most of the night," he said. Wallace was a model and former Miss World whose company he was enjoying before a surprise call led to him becoming a married man. "Melanie called at about 4 or 5 in the morning," Johnson explained. "We professed undying love and flew to Las Vegas and got married."

The marriage lasted less than a year.

Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith in 1989
Robin Platzer/Images/Getty Images

By that July, they had split, leaving Griffith with little more than the pear tattoo she had gotten on her rear end in honor of a troubling nickname for Johnson: "Père," the French word for father, per Rolling Stone. "We thought it might work better if we were married," she recalled of their Vegas wedding. "It didn't. I got married in order to end the relationship."

Next, Griffith became involved with Ryan O'Neal, before marrying her She's in the Army Now co-star Steven Bauer, with whom she had a son, Alexander, in 1981. Johnson also became a parent, fathering son Jesse with Andy Warhol film actor Patti D'Arbanville.

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They were each in a better place the second time around.

Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith in 1995
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

In their years apart, both Johnson and Griffith's careers grew. While he found success with the hit television series Miami Vice, she enjoyed a string of big-screen hits with Body Double (1984), Something Wild (1986), and Working Girl (1988), the last of which earned her a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. She also entered rehab for alcoholism at the encouragement of Johnson—with whom she had again grown close to after guest starring on Miami Vice in 1987, according to People.

The two became romantically involved again, breaking up Johnson's fling with Barbra Streisand and ending Griffith's crumbling marriage to Bauer. Boasting to People in 1989 about their new "Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle" of days spent happily jogging together near their Aspen home, the pair also announced that Griffith was pregnant—with future Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson.

The couple married that June for the second time. Although Hedren predicted that time it would "be till death do us part," they remained together only five years before filing for divorce again in 1994, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split, according to The Los Angeles Times. The exes still get together however, often to support their children's endeavors.

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Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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