LOS ANGELES (AP) — Arnold Schwarzenegger says his wife, Maria Shriver, was told to "snap out of it" by her mother for her attempts to persuade him against running for California governor in 2003, a conversation that ultimately opened the door to his successful candidacy.
Eunice Shriver told her daughter that her husband would be "angry for the rest of his life" if she stopped his ambitions, Schwarzenegger writes in his new autobiography, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."
The former governor says in the book that he had decided against running to recall Gov. Gray Davis after his wife implored him not to for the sake of their family. Maria Shriver announced his decision to their four children.
But he writes that when Maria Shriver told her mother about her efforts to thwart Schwarzenegger's political ambitions, Eunice told her daughter that women in their family "always support the men when they want to do something." Schwarzenegger says he didn't know about the conversation at the time, but learned of it later.
Maria Shriver then softened her stance, paving the way for Schwarzenegger to announce his candidacy on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," where he says he felt most comfortable.
The announcement came after a week of wavering. Schwarzenegger says before he headed to the TV appearance, his wife handed him two pieces of paper with talking points she had written: one in case he decided to run, another in case he decided not to.
He writes that Shriver went on to become a key ally and adviser to his campaign and eventual governorship.
Schwarzenegger has often said that Maria's mother and her father, Sargent Shriver, were essential to his eventual decision to seek public office, and the most "extraordinary human beings I've ever met." But he also writes in the book that he often teased his wife that the close-knit Democratic Kennedy clan was "like a bunch of clones" because there was such conformity among them.
A spokesman for Shriver, Matthew DiGirolamo, declined to comment on the contents of the book.
"Total Recall" will officially be published next week. The Associated Press purchased an early copy.
The book is part of an effort by the onetime "Mr. Universe" and Hollywood action star to rebrand himself after leaving office with a mixed record and subsequent embarrassing revelations about a fling he had with the family's housekeeper. Schwarzenegger, who fathered a son with the housekeeper, says he also let boy down.