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Schwarzenegger says he talked to Maria Shriver; 'We love each other very much'

May 11, 2011 |  7:20 am

Separation

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he and his wife Maria Shriver are "taking it one day at a time" after they announced their separation Monday.

"I just talked to Maria an hour ago before I came here and we both were saying the same thing, we are amazed and extremely blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people," he said Tuesday night at a speech during the 63rd Israel Independence Day Celebration at Los Angeles' Skirball Cultural Center.

In his first statement since the separation was announced, he said they were grateful for their family.

"We both love each other very much, we are very fortunate we have four extraordinary children and we're taking it one day at a time," he said.

Some people close to Shriver said 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, who launched the Peace Corps, 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. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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