Maria Shriver: It's a ‘painful and heartbreaking time'

Modified: May 17, 2011 at 11:31 am •  Published: May 17, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has acknowledged that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff, a revelation that apparently prompted wife Maria Shriver to leave the couple's home before they announced their separation last week.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver jointly announced May 9 that they were splitting up after 25 years of marriage. Yet, Shriver moved out of the family's Brentwood mansion earlier in the year after Schwarzenegger acknowledged the child is his, 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 told the Times in a statement that was later sent to The Associated Press. “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.

“I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time,” the statement concluded. “While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not.”

Hours later, Shriver also released a statement: “This is a painful and heartbreaking time. As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment.”

Schwarzenegger's representatives also did not comment further.

The Times did not publish the former staffer's name nor that of her child but said the woman worked for the family for 20 years and retired in January.

Schwarzenegger issued his statement to the Times late Monday, after the newspaper had interviewed the former staffer. She had told the Times that another man — her husband at the time — was the child's father. When the Times later informed the woman of the governor's statement, she declined to comment further.

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