Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child more than 10 years ago outside of his marriage to Maria Shriver, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
“After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
“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.”
The revelation, published first by the Los Angeles Times, came about a week after Schwarzenegger and his wife of 25 years announced that they were “amicably separating” and two weeks after their 25th wedding anniversary.
The May 9 announcement that the couple was separating did not mention a reason for the split, but said the decision was a mutual one.
“This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us,” they said. “After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together.”
The couple have four children together between the ages of 14 and 21.
A source close to the former governor confirmed to CNN the chronology of events in the Los Angeles Times story and that Schwarzenegger has, from the beginning, provided support for the child.
A spokeswoman for Shriver said she would have no comment, the Times reported. Schwarzenegger fathered the child with a household staffer, the Times article said.
The staffer told the newspaper that the child was fathered by her then-husband, according to the Times. She declined to comment after learning of Schwarzenegger’s statement, the newspaper reported.
The newspaper quoted her as saying she recently retired “on good terms” with the couple after working for them for 20 years.
The newspaper said it was not publishing the former staffer’s name or that of her child to protect their privacy. After Schwarzenegger and Shriver married in 1986, they became one of America’s most famous couples.
He was one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors and she was a network news anchor and a member of the Kennedy family, America’s storied Democratic political dynasty.
Shortly before the 2003 gubernatorial election that catapulted the former actor to political office, however, the Los Angeles Times ran a series of stories in which 16 women accused him of sexually harassing and humiliating them over a 30-year period in incidents that occurred on movie sets, at gymnasiums and elsewhere.
One of the women said that when she worked with Schwarzenegger on a movie, he pulled up her shirt to expose her breasts and took a picture, and groped her on two other occasions.
Rhonda Miller filed a lawsuit saying Schwarzenegger and his campaign staff tried to discredit her by spreading false information about her.
Schwarzenegger said he knew nothing about Miller’s allegations that his campaign spread false information about her and said the timing of the complaints of the 16 women were “rather odd,” given that no one had filed a complaint against him in the 35 years that he had lived in the United States.
Schwarzenegger issued a general apology for “behaving badly sometimes” but said many of the allegations were not true “because that’s not my behavior.”
Schwarzenegger, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Austria who gained fame as the youngest winner of the Mr. Universe bodybuilding contest, served as governor until January. He has been busy in recent months reviving his acting career and signing movie deals — including a project to do another installment of his “Terminator” series. [via CBC (CA), NY Times and CNN]