LOS ANGELES – He’s one of the most famous people on the planet, a two-term governor of California, a movie star and a former world champion bodybuilder with a profile so huge that just one name, Arnold, instantly identifies him to almost everyone.
Yet somehow, for more than a decade, Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to keep an incredible secret from the public and his wife, former TV journalist Maria Shriver: that he fathered a child with a woman on his household staff more than a decade ago.
The revelation came Tuesday, just a week after Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced they had separated.
“I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family,” Schwarzenegger wrote in a statement. “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.”
Hours later, Shriver also released a statement: “This is a painful and heartbreaking time. As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment.”
Schwarzenegger and Shriver jointly announced May 9 that they were splitting up after 25 years of marriage. She moved out of the family’s Brentwood mansion after Schwarzenegger acknowledged the child is his, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Schwarzenegger said the child was born “over a decade ago” – before he began his seven-year stint as governor.
The Times did not publish the former staffer’s name or that of her child but said she worked for the family for 20 years and retired in January.
Schwarzenegger issued his statement to the Times late Monday, after the newspaper interviewed the former staffer. The Times reported that she originally said another man – her husband at the time – was the child’s father. When the newspaper informed her of the governor’s statement, she declined to comment further.