How Arnold Schwarzenegger told Maria Shriver he was the father of their housekeeper’s child

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and his wife Maria Shriver look on during the 73rd annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony December 2, 2004 at the state capitol in Sacramento, California.
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver married in 1986, it was the start of an impressive family of their own. The Hollywood star and political scion became a West Coast power couple, serving as California’s Governor and First Lady from 2003 until 2011.

But their relationship ended after the Austrian-born actor admitted to infidelity, and now Schwarzenegger is shedding some light on how the conversation that prompted their 2011 separation and eventual divorce in 2021 came to be.

In a new Netflix documentary series “Arnold,” Schwarzenegger breaks down the moment he admitted that he’d had an affair in the mid-90s with his family’s housekeeper, Mildred Baena, that resulted in a son, Joseph Baena, reports People.

“Maria and I went to counseling once a week and in one of the sessions the counselor said, 'I think today Maria wants to be very specific about something. She wants to know if you are the father of Joseph.' And I was like— I thought my heart stopped, and then I told the truth.”

He continued, sharing that he confirmed that Joseph was his son and that Shriver was “crushed” at the revelation. “I had an affair in ’96. In the beginning I really didn’t know. I just started feeling the older he got the more it became clear to me and then it was really just a matter of how do you keep this quiet? How do you keep this a secret?”

Schwarzenegger takes responsibility for the fallout, sharing that “everyone had to suffer. Maria had to suffer. The kids had to suffer. Joseph. His mother. Everyone.”

While he referred to the affair as “a major failure” he added that “it was wrong what I did. But I don’t want to make Joseph feel that he is not welcomed in this world — because he is very much welcomed in this world. I love him and he has turned out to be an extraordinary young man.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images