Life is often easier for the rich and famous, but sometimes they just have to put up with life’s misfortunes like the rest of us. So it is for Hollywood A-list couple Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffiths, who appear to have lost their long-running battle against planning officials in the town hall of Marbella. As a result, a large slice of their garden, running from the sea front up to the edge of their pool, will be made accessible to the public. That will make it impossible for the couple to enjoy their pool with any privacy.
Bandera’s has been fighting to keep his property intact almost since he bought it. The Mask of Zorro star, 48, and his actress wife Melanie bought the six-bedroom villa, called La Gaviota, near Marbella, in 1997 for £5million, only to discover that it had been built with an ‘illegal’ building licence, that the Andalusian High Court ruled in 2003 should never have been granted.
Giving up part of the property to public access may be a concession that Banderas has to make to get the property legalised. Last year he was ordered to knock down an entire wing of his mansion, a decision that he has appealed.
Spanish media baron has problems too
Bandera’s isn’t the only big cheese with pool problems in Spain. Spanish media baron Pedro J. Ramírez, owner of the Spanish daily El Mundo, also recently lost a court case to keep his pool private. A court ruled that Ramírez’s pool, at his waterside house in the Costa de los Pinos (Son Servera) urbanisation, Mallorca, was built on public land. But unlike Bandera’s, it looks as if Ramírez can pull strings. The Ministry of the Environment, which usually pounces on property near the coast with alacrity, is doing all it can to ensure that Ramírez’s pool stays private. The Spanish press reports that instructions to look after Ramírez come straight from La Moncloa, Spain’s equivalent to No. 10.
As well as owning one of Spain biggest newspapers, Pedro J. Ramírez is also famous for marrying clothes designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, and being caught on film in a Max Mosley style setup with a prostitute.