Don Johnson “hand-raised” dozens of lions and tigers with his ex-wife Melanie Griffiths
The ‘Miami Vice’ star, 71, helped Melanie, 64 and his ex-mother-in-law Tippi Hedren, 91 - nurse lion and tiger cubs at Shambala Preserve, the sanctuary she founded
30 November 2021
Don told the hosts of ‘The Jess Cagle Podcast with Julia Cunningham’:
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“We hand raised those lions and tigers. Probably between Melanie and I, we hand raised 20 or 30 lions and tigers. And when they get to be teenagers, which is around six months old, then we would take them out to the reserve. But yeah, we would raise them, bottle feed them and then move them over to regular cat food. I got pretty good at working with the wild cats."
Along with the lions and the tigers, Melanie and Don raised Dakota Johnson, 32, who herself is now an actress with with credits in movies such as ‘50 Shades of Grey’ and ‘The Social Network’.
Dakota previously spoke of how her grandmother’s reserve was still active, but smaller, but admitted it was "psycho" to begin with.
She said: “She has 13 or 14. There used to be like 60 cats, and now there’s just a couple. By the time I was born they were all in huge compounds and it was a lot safer. It wasn’t as totally psycho as it was when they first started.”
Tippi’s animals famously featured in a Life magazine feature in 1971, showing Neal, a lion who made her home his own, such as cuddling with the family and getting into Melanie's bed. It was stupid beyond belief."
Along with Dakota, the actor has four other children; Jesse Johnson, 38, whose mother is model Patti D’Arbanville and three kids with his current wife Kelley Phleger, a 21-year-old daughter named Grace, and two sons Jasper, 19, and Deacon, 15.