The 75-year-old actor explained on Tuesday, May 16, that while his upcoming Netflix series FUBAR “feels like it’s a documentary” due to his character’s divorce and affair story line, his and Shriver’s split was more complex.
“The difference is, in the show, [my character Luke Brunner] doesn’t consider it cheating because [seducing CIA assets] was part of his profession,” Schwarzenegger told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Tuesday.
Regarding his real-life relationship with Shriver, 67, the former governor of California confessed: “It was my f—kup. It was my failure.”
The Terminator star married Shriver in April 1986 after first meeting in 1977. The pair announced their separation in May 2011 amid reports of infidelity on Schwarzenegger’s part. The Kindergarten Cop actor later confirmed that he fathered son Joseph Baena with his family’s former housekeeper, Mildred “Patty” Baena, amid his marriage.
Schwarzenegger said in his THR feature that while the divorce “was very, very difficult in the beginning,” he doesn’t miss being married. (Us Weekly confirmed in December 2021 that the exes finalized their divorce after 10 years apart.)
“Eventually, you move on,” he told the magazine. “I have a wonderful girlfriend, Heather Milligan, who is very successful. I’m really proud of her, and I love her.”
The Twins actor noted: “At the same time, I love my wife. She and I are really good friends and very close.” (He continued to refer to Shriver as his “wife” throughout the interview.)
“We are very proud of the way we raised our kids,” he told the outlet. “Even though we had this drama, we did Easter together, Mother’s Day together, the Christmases together, all birthdays — everything together.”
The Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life author continued: “If there’s Oscars for how to handle divorce, Maria and I should get it for having the least amount of impact on the kids.”
While singing his ex-wife’s praises, Schwarzenegger revealed that the “sweetness and kindness you see” in his four children is “from my wife.” However, the “discipline and worth ethic is from me,” he said.
Shriver, for her part, opened up in February about her own personal growth and how it took getting divorced for her to fully find the “freedom” to be herself.
“I think I started feeling like I had the freedom or the permission [to speak my truth] when my marriage ended,” the I’ve Been Thinking author told Hoda Kotb during her “Making Space” podcast. “At first, [it] felt like, ‘Oh, I better go and figure out what is the truth.’ One of the things I did is [I] went to a convent, a cloistered convent.”
The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement founder — who is the daughter of Eunice Kennedy and niece of John F. Kennedy — recalled burying her feelings most of her life after being raised in the limelight. Once she met the reverent mother at the convent, the nun gave her “permission to go out and become Maria.”
Following the experience, Shriver vowed that she “will never abandon” herself again.