Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks back to when he revealed to his family that he had been having an affair.
In the new Netflix docu-series Arnoldthe actor, 75, talks about his Hollywood career, his tenure as governor of California, as well as his personal scandals.
At one point, Schwarzenegger recalled admitting to wife Maria Shriver and their children 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 recalled on the docu-series, “and in one of the sessions the counselor said, ‘I think Maria wants to be very specific about something today. She wants to know if you are Joseph’s father.’ And I was like — I thought my heart stopped, and then I told the truth.
“‘Yes, Maria, Joseph is my son,'” he recalls telling her. “She was crushed by that. I had an affair in ’96. I really didn’t know at first. I just started to feel 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 said he feels “reluctant to talk about it because every time I do it, the wounds reopen.”
“I think I caused enough pain for my family because of my mistake. Everyone had to suffer. Mary had to suffer. The kids had to suffer. Joseph. His mother. Everyone,” he said in the Netflix doc.
Related: Maria Shriver Reveals She Went to a Convent After Arnold Schwarzenegger Split to ‘Seek Advice’
The terminator actor married Shriver, now 67, in 1986 and they share four children: Katherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher.
“I’m going to have to live with it for the rest of my life,” said Schwarzenegger Arnold. “People will remember my successes and they’ll remember my failures too. This is a big failure. I’ve had failures in the past in my career, but this is a whole different ball game, the dimension of failure.”
Schwarzenegger added that his son Joseph is a “fantastic man” who “makes me proud”.
“What I did was wrong. But I don’t want to make Joseph feel unwelcome in this world – because he is very welcome in this world,” he said. “I love him and he has turned out to be an extraordinary young man.”
Schwarzenegger also said he is “really happy” with how he and Shriver “have been able to raise the kids really well” in the midst of “this sad story.”
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“There is nothing more important than having a good partner by your side, and every step of the way Maria was. We have a really great relationship,” he said. “Every 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 later, 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 happened more than 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 pain I have caused. I apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am really sorry.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in May, Schwarzenegger said he doesn’t miss the wedding.
Related: Arnold Schwarzenegger says his divorce from Maria Shriver was ‘very difficult’: ‘It was my failure’
“[The divorce] was very difficult in the beginning. Eventually you move on. I have a great 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’re very proud of the way we raised our kids.”
“Even though we had this drama, we did Easter together, Mother’s Day together, Christmas together, all the birthdays — everything together,” added Schwarzenegger. “If there are Oscars for how to handle divorce, Maria and I should get them for least impact on the kids.”
Arnold begins streaming on Netflix on June 7.
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