05.17.11

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Love-Child Bombshell: Why Maria Shriver Left

Maria Shriver left Arnold Schwarzenegger after learning he had fathered a child with a member of their household staff 10 years ago, before he took office. When Shriver found out, she asked him to move out, a source tells The Daily Beast’s Jacob Bernstein. But he refused. So she checked into a hotel.

Maria Shriver left Arnold Schwarzenegger after learning he had fathered a child with a member of their household staff 10 years ago, before he took office. When Shriver found out, she asked him to move out, a source tells The Daily Beast’s Jacob Bernstein. But he refused. So she checked into a hotel. Plus:

It was indeed a bombshell.

For nearly a week, sources close to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver portrayed their split after 25 years of marriage as little more than a couple growing apart after many years.

Then came the news from the Los Angeles Times on Monday night that Schwarzenegger had fathered a love child with a member of the household staff.

"After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," Schwarzenegger said Monday night in a statement issued to the Times in response to questions. "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."

A source close to Shriver tells The Daily Beast exclusively that when Schwarzenegger came clean, he still didn't exactly do the right thing. "She asked him to leave the house and he refused," this person says.

Which is why Schwarzenegger stayed in their home and she moved into a hotel.

According to the Times, Schwarzenegger fathered the child before he ran for governor, and provided financial support from the start. But it wasn't until January that Shriver learned that the child, whom she'd presumably known for many years, was his.

How on earth could the whole thing have stayed secret for so long? How could he have deceived his wife for so long?

"They always had separate bank accounts," The Daily Beast source says. "They did not commingle their money, and the reason for this was that Maria felt strongly that if she had her own money she could always walk out the door if something happened. But when you have separate bank accounts it's very easy to keep secrets from one another."

Calls to a spokesman for Schwarzenegger went straight to voicemail early Tuesday morning. An email to him went unreturned.

Gallery: Celebrity Love Children

Jacob Bernstein is a senior reporter at The Daily Beast. He has also written for New York magazine, Paper, and The Huffington Post.