Arnold Schwarzenegger Admits Fathering a Child with Household Staffer

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Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

Arnold Schwarzenegger has confessed that he had an affair with a household staffer that resulted in the birth of a child before he became governor of California. The revelation apparently led his wife Maria Shriver to move out of their Brentwood mansion ahead of their May 9 announcement that they would separate after 25 years of marriage.

“After leaving the governor’s office, I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued to the Los Angeles Times following inquiries by the newspaper. “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.”

A spokesman for Shriver said she had no comment.

(PHOTOS: See Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Universe.)

The Times will not publish the name of the staff member nor the name of her child. However, in an interview with the paper, the woman said she left her position with the family earlier this year “on good terms,” having completed 20 years of service and having received a severance payout. Sources close to the former governor say he took financial responsibility for the child from the start and continues to support the child today.

On May 10, Schwarzenegger made his first public comments on his separation with Shriver. Speaking at the 63rd annual Israel Independence Day Celebration at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, he said he had spoken with Shriver earlier in the day and suggested that they were working toward reconciliation. “We both love each other very much,” he said. “We are very fortunate that we have four extraordinary children, and we’re taking one day at a time.”

Shriver’s inner circle of friends and advisers don’t seem so optimistic. Sources close to Shriver told the Times that she has been unhappy for years, but that she refused to take steps to end the marriage until after Schwarzenegger had completed his term as governor. The death of her father Sargent Shriver on Jan. 18 and the death of her mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver in August 2009 complicated matters for Shriver, whose children with Schwarzenegger range in age from 13 to 21 years old.

One of the most active First Ladies in California history, Shriver has thrown herself into public life, championing volunteer work and organizing The Women’s Conference, a wildly popular forum held every year since 2003 to promote female empowerment. “Like so many of you experiencing transition and reinvention in your own lives, it’s time for me to start a whole new chapter,” she wrote in a December 2010 blog post. “As I move forward, I’ll do so as a wiser woman because of the many lessons I’ve learned over the last seven years.”

For a woman who defended her husband against allegations of machismo and womanizing during his 2003 election campaign, the lessons only get harder. (via Los Angeles Times)

LIST: See the top 10 celebrity-relationship flameouts.

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