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Arnold Schwarzenegger Reflects on Revealing His Child with the Housekeeper to Maria Shriver: A Heartbreaking Conversation

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mildred Baena
(Myspace; Leon Neal/Getty)

Arnold Schwarzenegger reflects on the moment he told his family about his affair.

Arnold, the 75-year-old actor, speaks up about his Hollywood career, his term as California governor, and his personal issues in the new Netflix docuseries Arnold.

At one time, Schwarzenegger recalled his wife Maria Shriver and their children that he had an affair with their maid Mildred Baena and had a son with her, Joseph Baena, now 25.

“Maria and I went to counseling once a week,” he remembered in the docuseries, “and in one of the sessions the counselor said, ‘I think today Maria wants to be very specific about something. She wants to know if you are the father of Joseph.’ And I was like— I thought my heart stopped, and then I told the truth.”

“‘Yes, Maria, Joseph is my son,'” he recalled telling her. “She was crushed because of that. I had an affair in ’96. In the beginning I really didn’t know. I just started feeling the older he got the more it became clear to me and then it was really just a matter of how do you keep this quiet? How do you keep this a secret?”

Schwarzenegger said he feels “reluctant talking about it is because every time I do it opens up the wounds again.”
“I think that I have caused enough pain for my family because of my f— up. Everyone had to suffer. Maria had to suffer. The kids had to suffer. Joseph. His mother. Everyone,” he said in the Netflix doc.

“I am going to have to live with it the rest of my life,” said Schwarzenegger in Arnold. “People will remember my successes and they will also remember my failures. This is a major failure. I had failures in the past in my career, but this is a whole different ball game, dimension of failure.”

Schwarzenegger added that his son Joseph is a “fantastic man” who “makes me proud.”

“It was wrong what I did. But I don’t want to make Joseph feel that he is not welcomed in this world — because he is very much welcomed in this world,” he said. “I love him and he has turned out to be an extraordinary young man.”
Schwarzenegger stated that he is “very happy” that he and Shriver “were able to raise the kids really well” despite “this sad story.”

“There is nothing more important than to have a good partner by your side, and every step of the way Maria was that. We have a really great relationship,” he said. “Any type of special day, we are all together as a family. But it’s not what it was when we were all together under one roof as a family. That’s not the case anymore.”

In May 2011, Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced their divorce. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times a few days later, Schwarzenegger officially apologized for the affair: “After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.”

“[The divorce] was very, very difficult in the beginning. Eventually, you move on. I have a wonderful girlfriend, [physical therapist] Heather Milligan, who is very successful. I’m really proud of her, and I love her,” he said. “At the same time, I love my wife. She and I are really good friends and very close, and we are very proud of the way we raised our kids.”

“Even though we had this drama, we did Easter together, Mother’s Day together, the Christmases together, all birthdays — everything together,” Schwarzenegger added. “If there’s Oscars for how to handle divorce, Maria and I should get it for having the least amount of impact on the kids.”

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