2011 was a year of rocking revelations after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s affair with his former housekeeper went public a day after the actor’s end of term as the Governor of California. But it was Maria Shriver’s grace and generosity as the lady of the house that stands out amid the events that unfolded in the aftermath of the news. While every tabloid and newspaper tore into the public spectacle that was being created out of the Schwarzenegger family, former housekeeper, Mildred Baena revealed how Shriver’s reaction to the truth was easily the most admirable thing of all.
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Maria Shriver’s Confrontation With Mildred Baena
After a marriage of 25 long years, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver finally separated in 2011. The divorce was by then a matter of when rather than if, especially given how Shriver had been quick to pick up on the truth about Mildred Baena’s son, Joseph Baena when the duo appeared at the celebrity couple’s house in the summer of 2011. The boy, who was only 13 at the time, had learned about Arnold Schwarzenegger being his father only a year prior.
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In January 2011, Mildred Baena retired from the Schwarzenegger household after 20 years of service. But in the years prior, the physical similarities between Mildred Baena’s son and Arnold Schwarzenegger grew more striking in their resemblance, and Maria Shriver, in turn, eventually picked up on it as well. Mildred Baena revealed to Hello! Magazine,
“[Maria] would say things like, ‘I’m here if you want to talk.’ She would ask if I needed to talk to her and I kept saying no. Finally, she asked point blank. Maria did ask me directly if Joseph was Arnold’s son and I just broke down. I dropped to my knees and I was crying, saying that, yes, he was and I was so sorry.
She was so strong. She cried with me and told me to get off my knees. We held each other and I told her it wasn’t Arnold’s fault, that it takes two. That is what I admired about her, her strength and the way she handled it.”
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According to Arnold Schwarzenegger, it wasn’t until Joseph Baena turned 7 or 8 and “started looking like me … that I put things together”. And despite bearing financial responsibility for the child, he did not reveal the truth of the situation to his family until being directly asked about it by Maria Shriver.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Split With Maria Shriver
Born of the esteemed Kennedy household, Maria Shriver’s marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger was a celebrity fiesta. Soon after the latter’s rise to cinematic fame as James Cameron’s Terminator, the two tied the knot in 1986. However, 25 years later, in a closed-door session with Maria Shriver and the couple’s children, Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to having an affair with their former housekeeper and being the father to a teenage son, Joseph Baena, born in 1997.
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Shriver’s reaction to Mildred Baena’s breakdown, given how forgiving, sympathetic, and gracious it had been, did spark some hope for the celebrity couple working past their marital fissure. However, Shriver filed for divorce on May 9, 2011 – within 5 months of Mildred Baena leaving the household. A decade later, the divorce was finalized in 2021. The couple still bears shared custody of their children, and Arnold Schwarzenegger has gone on to foster a heartwarming relationship with Joseph Baena with the two finding a shared passion in bodybuilding.