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Maria Shriver had 'such a void' after death of parents, agonized over separation from Schwarzenegger, friends say

May 10, 2011 |  7:21 pm

Separation

Some people close to Maria Shriver said her separation from Arnold Schwarzenegger after 25 years of marriage came as she was dealing with the loss of her parents and her transition from California's First Lady back into private life.

The friends, who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity, said the separation was a long time in coming.

The August 2009 death of Shriver’s mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver marked a turning point, said one friend. Her father, Sargent Shriver, the Peace Corps founder, died in January.

“There was such a void,” said the friend, “and when she looked around, she realized her husband could never even think of filling it.”

When asked why Shriver stayed in the marriage for so long if she was unhappy, the friend responded: “Part of it is family legacy, part of it is Catholicism. But the most important thing was their four kids.”

Shriver’s father had long been ill, allowing her to prepare for his passing. But she  was particularly devastated by the death of her mother, said a source. When the distractions of Schwarzenegger being governor went away, the two had time to ask themselves questions they had never explored before.

The couple said in a joint statement released Monday that they were living apart “while we work on the future of our relationship.”

RELATED:

The unraveling of the marriage

Schwarzenegger, Shriver announce separation

Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies at 88; Special Olympics founder and sister of JFK

R. Sargent Shriver dies at 95; 'Unmatched' public servant founded Peace Corps

-- Robin Abcarian, Mark Z. Barabak, Maeve Reston, Evan Halper and Seema Mehta

Photo: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, pictured in 2006, confirmed Monday that they have separated after 25 years of marriage. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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