I wish I was shocked at the news that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to reporters last night not only to cheating on his wife, Maria Shriver, but to fathering a child with the couple’s housekeeper of two decades. Surprise! The “Governator” is no superhero, he’s a man.
“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 to The Los Angeles Times. “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’s sorry. Easy words to say after you’ve had your dreamy run as governor of the most populous state in the nation, the eighth-largest economy in the world, after a Hollywood career in which you’d become an action-hero cliche. Easy words to say when it was your self-sacrificing wife who gave up her career, as well as her deepest held political values, to support you. Not so easy to hear, I’m sure, as the wife who loyally stood by you, having already endured a history of accusations about her husband’s sexual impropriety, and somehow, verily dismissing them, while wearing high heels and a smile.
According to The Times, Shriver moved out of the family’s Brentwood mansion a few months ago, after her hedonistic hubby admitted his paternity. Since then, Schwarzenegger “has maintained a high public profile, meeting with world dignitaries, attending a White House summit on immigration and working to revive his movie career.” Meanwhile, his wife has been glum and self-reflective, reaching out to her fans for support.
Earlier this month, just after the couple announced their separation, The New York Times reported:
Ms. Shriver gave a hint of her personal turmoil at this transition in a video posted on YouTube in which she appealed to supporters for advice on how to get through this period in her life.
“Like a lot of you I’m in transition: people come up to me all the time, asking, what are you doing next?” she said, adding: “It’s so stressful to not know what you are doing next when people ask what you are doing and they can’t believe you don’t know what you are doing.”
“I’d like to hear from other people who are in transition,” she said. “How did you find your transition: Personal, professional, emotional, spiritual, financial? How did you get through it?”
While Shriver seeks self-betterment, Schwarzenegger seeks stardom. Days before he’d announce the sad, stunning end to his 25-year-marriage, The Sperminator signed a movie deal that would recast him in the limelight. “He’s baaack,” reported Deadline.com. He’s certainly back where he belongs, as a cartoonish caricature of himself; the steely fallen star who can act out his virility in 3-D.
For the Jewish community, this comes as a unique disappointment. Schwarzenegger has spent much of his political career cozying up to powerful West Coast Jews and has frequently appeared at Jewish events and fundraisers. Just last week, he attended the Israeli Consulate’s Israel Independence Day celebration at the Skirball Center, where he thanked the audience for their “support and love” in the aftermath of the split announcement, assuaging community sadness by saying, “I just spoke to Maria an hour before I came here … we both love each other very much and are fortunate to have four extraordinary children … and we’re taking it one day at a time.”
Hard to believe that after 10 years of deceit, probably to his wife but certainly to his public, that Sperminator and Shriver would do anything but terminate their marriage. But we Jews like to believe in forgiveness and redemption. And so far, this Terminator just won’t self-destruct. But at least he’s baaack in Hollywood, where people will forget what kind of man he is, as long as he’s man enough to draw a crowd.
Video of Schwarzenegger admitting his paternity of his housekeeper’s child to L.A. reporters: