Good Golly it just doesn’t get any better than this! What is it with the rich and famous? Are they really so cheap that they hire illegal aliens to clean their homes? The Governator is a cheapskate!
With her chestnut hair reduced to an unkempt, tangled mane and her face gaunt and anxious, a clearly agitated Maria Shriver stared down the lens of a video camera.
Declaring herself ‘in transition’, the former First Lady of California and scion of the Kennedy family spoke of her anguish at ‘not knowing what to do next’.
The uncharacteristic display of vulnerability appeared on YouTube in March, yet it was not until earlier this month — when Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, her husband of 25 years, announced their separation — that it was finally put in context.
Before Schwarzenegger’s shocking admission, it was believed that the woman, who has not been named, conceived the child with her then husband. She said she got a severance payment after voluntarily leaving her job ‘on good terms’.
‘I wanted to achieve my 20 years, then I asked to retire,’ she added.
‘This is a painful and heartbreaking time. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal.’
When confronted about the scandal, she initially told the Los Angeles Times that her then husband was the child’s father. She refused to comment any further after being told of the former Terminator actor’s confession.
In her first public comment last night, 55-year-old Ms Shriver said: ‘This is a painful and heartbreaking time. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal.’
Throughout the unlikely union of the Kennedy princess and the
Austrian bodybuilder-turned-Republican politician, Maria, the daughter of the late President Kennedy’s sister Eunice, was no stranger to the extra-marital liaisons of men in power, and chose (publicly at least) to ignore The Terminator’s reputation.
Arnold shows off his star on the Hollywood walk of fame in 1987 – alongside his wife who was a famous news anchor at the time
But like many before her — including Mick Jagger’s ex Jerry Hall and
Elizabeth Edwards, late wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards — she could not forgive her husband for having a child with another woman.
When Schwarzenegger finally told her, in January, of the child’s existence, Maria could no longer maintain the impression of unity. Those close to the pair have known for a while just how precarious their partnership was.
According to the American showbusiness biographer Ian Halperin — who has been dubbed ‘Hollywood’s Nostradamus’ for his uncanny ability to predict celebrity events, including the death of Michael Jackson — the partnership had been foundering for seven years, as Maria tired not only of her husband’s roving eye but also of his terrible temper.
Seven months ago, Halperin predicted on U.S. radio that the pair would announce their split within the year, and this week’s confirmation has come as little surprise to those who know them best.
Friends of the couple told Halperin how, for more than two years, they have battled to preserve their union, seeking marriage guidance counselling on four separate occasions.
During these heart-to-hearts, sometimes held in the couple’s garden or on the beach, Schwarzenegger is believed to have laid bare the extent of his womanising. According to one of Maria’s circle, who described her as ‘severely depressed and emotionally overwrought’, she ‘found it very hard to stomach.
‘I don’t think she will ever get over what Arnold did behind her back. Even if they reunite, she’ll always be afraid he’ll return to his bad old ways.’
This week Halperin told me how on one occasion Schwarzenegger’s former Twins co-star, comic Danny De Vito, who is a family friend, pleaded with him to try to save the marriage.
Last night, the biographer said of the latest revelation: ‘This is just the tip of the iceberg. I think a lot more will come out of the woodwork. There are even rumours of other children, but I’ve never been able to corroborate that.’
The couple were married at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis
Port in 1986, but even before then Maria was aware of her groom’s penchant for female company. She is said to have known of at least two girlfriends with whom she ‘overlapped’ during their nine-year courtship.
Maria alluded to Schwarzenegger’s shortcomings in the introduction to a book she wrote in 2000, entitled Ten Things I Wish
I’d Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World. ‘I would have to have been deaf, blind and incredibly stupid not to see that he was more than a handful,’ she wrote.
Shortly after — first in 2001, then two years later on the eve of
Schwarzenegger’s first successful bid for the Governorship of California — a list of damning allegations of sexual misconduct came to light. Six women, including British television presenter Anna Richardson, said that he had ‘groped’ them.
Despite a partial admission, Schwarzenegger survived the fallout and was elected 38th Governor of California. A re-election in 2006 saw him win a second term.
Throughout his tenure, Maria played the part of dutiful political wife. But when Schwarzenegger’s second term ended in January, just as Maria’s beloved father Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps volunteers, died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, the need for her to ‘keep up appearances’ receded.