Shahbandar was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1946. Shahbandar was born into an aristocratic Baghdad family.
Shahbandar was a flight attendant.
Shahbandar was married to Noureddine al Safi, an Iraqi pilot and manager of Iraqi Airways. They have two children. Shahbandar's son is Mohammad Saffi (b. 1966).
In 1983, Shahbandar met Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein forced Shahbandar to divorce her first husband. In 1986, Shahbandar was married to Saddam Hussein in secret. In the late 1980s, Shahbandar appeared in public with Saddam Hussein.
Kamel Hana Gegeo, Hussein's valet, food taster and friend, introduced Samira to him. Hussein's secret marriage took place while he was married to Sajida Talfah, his first wife. Sajida was extremely jealous and angry when she found out about his mistress, and her brother Adnan Khairallah complained. Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein's son with Sajida, was angry over his father's mistress, took it as an insult to his mother, and believed that his status as heir apparent was threatened. In October 1988, during a party, Uday Hussein murdered Kamel Hana Gegeo in front of horrified guests. While Saddam Hussein declared that his son Uday Hussein would go to trial for murder, Gegeo's parents and Sajida begged that Uday Hussein be pardoned.
In 2002, Shahbandar's son Mohammad Saffi, a resident of New Zealand and a flight engineer with Air New Zealand, was detained in Miami, Florida, due to lack of a student visa.
As of 2004, Shahbandar was acknowledged as the wife of Saddam Hussein by United Nations.