Arnold Schwarzenegger Recalls Moment He Told Maria Shriver He Had Child with Housekeeper: 'She Was Crushed'

In the Netflix docuseries "Arnold," the actor recalled admitting to Maria Shriver that he had a child with their housekeeper during a couples counseling session

Martin Rauscher/SEPA.Media/Getty; Bonnie Biess/Getty Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver
Martin Rauscher/SEPA.Media/Getty; Bonnie Biess/Getty Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver

Arnold Schwarzenegger is reflecting on the moment he revealed to his family that he'd had an affair.

In the new Netflix docuseries Arnold, the actor, 75, opens up about his Hollywood career, his tenure as California governor, as well as his personal scandals.

At one point, Schwarzenegger recalled admitting to wife Maria Shriver and their kids that he had an affair with their housekeeper Mildred Baena and fathered a son, Joseph Baena, now 25, with her.

"Maria and I went to counseling once a week," he remembered in the docuseries, "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."

"'Yes, Maria, Joseph is my son,'" he recalled telling her. "She was crushed because of that. 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?"

Martin Rauscher/SEPA.Media/Getty; Bonnie Biess/Getty
Martin Rauscher/SEPA.Media/Getty; Bonnie Biess/Getty

Schwarzenegger said he feels "reluctant talking about it is because every time I do it opens up the wounds again."

"I think that I have caused enough pain for my family because of my f--- up. Everyone had to suffer. Maria had to suffer. The kids had to suffer. Joseph. His mother. Everyone," he said in the Netflix doc.

<p>Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty</p> Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver in 2009.

Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver in 2009.

Related: Maria Shriver Reveals She Went to a Convent After Arnold Schwarzenegger Split to &#39;Look for Advice&#39;

The Terminator actor married Shriver, now 67, in 1986 and they share four kids: Katherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher.

"I am going to have to live with it the rest of my life," said Schwarzenegger in Arnold. "People will remember my successes and they will also remember my failures. This is a major failure. I had failures in the past in my career, but this is a whole different ball game, dimension of failure."

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver in 2003
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver in 2003

Schwarzenegger added that his son Joseph is a "fantastic man" who "makes me proud."

"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," he said. "I love him and he has turned out to be an extraordinary young man."

Schwarzenegger also said he is "very happy" about how he and Shriver "were able to raise the kids really well" amid "this sad story."

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"There is nothing more important than to have a good partner by your side, and every step of the way Maria was that. We have a really great relationship," he said. "Any type of special day, we are all together as a family. But it’s not what it was when we were all together under one roof as a family. That’s not the case anymore." 

Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced their separation in May 2011. Days after, Schwarzenegger publicly apologized for the affair in an interview with The Los Angeles Times: "After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. 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."

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in May, Schwarzenegger said he does not miss being married.

Related: Arnold Schwarzenegger Says His Divorce from Maria Shriver Was &#39;Very Difficult&#39;: &#39;It Was My Failure&#39;

"[The divorce] was very, very difficult in the beginning. Eventually, you move on. I have a wonderful girlfriend, [physical therapist] Heather Milligan, who is very successful. I’m really proud of her, and I love her," he said. "At the same time, I love my wife. She and I are really good friends and very close, and we are very proud of the way we raised our kids."

"Even though we had this drama, we did Easter together, Mother’s Day together, the Christmases together, all birthdays — everything together," Schwarzenegger added. "If there’s Oscars for how to handle divorce, Maria and I should get it for having the least amount of impact on the kids."

In February, Shriver also opened up about the pair's breakup and revealed that she went to a convent to seek life advice after their marriage ended.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver finalized their divorce in December 2021, ten years after announcing their separation.

Arnold begins streaming on Netflix June 7.

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