Schwarzenegger admits child with staffer, Shriver admits a 'painful and heartbreaking time'
The couple went public with their separation last week, but gave no reason at the time for the split after 25 years of marriage. Schwarzenegger and Shriver have four children together, ages 13 to 21.
"After leaving the governor's office, I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," Schwarzenegger said Monday night in a statement issued to the Los Angeles Times, which broke the stories of the separation and the out-of-wedlock child.
Schwarzenegger, 63, handed over California's reins to Gov. Jerry Brown the first week in January. The staffer, who previously had said the child was hers by her ex-husband and had no comment after the former governor's public admission, retired in January after 20 years of service.
"I wanted to achieve my 20 years, then I asked to retire," the former employee told The Times on Monday, adding that she'd received a severance payment and "left on good terms with them." The Times is not releasing her name or the name of her child, to protect their privacy. A source who wished to remain anonymous said Schwarzenegger took financial responsibility for the child from the start.
"This is a painful and heartbreaking time," Shriver, 55, said in a brief statement issued Tuesday morning. "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 had addressed his family's feelings in his Monday statement.
"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," he said.
In October 2003, shortly before Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial election victory, half a dozen women spoke to the Los Angeles Times about alleged unwanted sexual contact with him in studio offices and in other settings in the '80s, '90s and 2000. "Did he humiliate me?" one said in describing an alleged 1980 encounter with the action star. "You bet he did." The number of women speaking out ultimately climbed to 16, and the actor issued a blanket apology before the vote was held.
The drama continued after the election results were in, with the governor-elect stating in November 2003 that he would hire a private investigator to look into the allegations, then announcing that December that no such investigation was needed.
"I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time," Schwarzenegger's Monday statement concluded. "While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not. "
Hit the gray "F" talk bubble at the top right of this post to comment via Facebook.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Then newly elected California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with wife, Maria Shriver, wave to supporters from the stage after his victory in the California recall election on Oct. 7, 2003, in Los Angeles. Schwarzenegger said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff. Credit: Carlo Allegri / Getty Images