Arnold Schwarzenegger owns his mistakes in Maria Shriver split: 'I behaved badly'

FILE - California first lady Maria Shriver and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger smile together, at the Governor's Inaugural Ball at the Sacramento Convention Center, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007, in Sacramento, Calif. Schwarzenegger and Shriver's marriage is officially over more than 10 years after the award-winning journalist petitioned to end her then-25-year marriage to the action star and former California governor. A Los Angeles judge finalized the divorce on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, court records show. (Brian Baer/The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool, File)
Arnold Schwarzenegger's new character in "FUBAR" resembles the action star's real-life divorce and infidelity, but he clarifies that with ex-wife Maria Shriver, 'It was my failure.' (Brian Baer / Associated Press)

In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s upcoming Netflix series “FUBAR,” his character, Luke, is trying to win back his wife after a strained marriage and infidelity tore them apart. Sound familiar?

Schwarzenegger thought so too. “It feels like it’s a documentary,” he joked in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter published Tuesday.

The action star’s marriage to award-winning news anchor Maria Shriver officially dissolved in late 2021, nearly a decade after she filed for divorce. Shriver made the move after 25 years of marriage and just a few months after Schwarzenegger wrapped up his second term as governor of California.

While the cause for the split wasn’t immediately revealed, it ultimately went public that the Governator had a fling in 1996 with Mildred Baena, the couple's longtime housekeeper. What’s more, the affair had been kept a secret for 13 years. Shriver finally confronted Baena after the housekeeper brought her son to work with her — and the boy had a striking resemblance to a certain Austrian-born bodybuilder.

Baena told the U.K.’s Hello! (via People) in 2011 that Shriver was among numerous people who did a double take after looking at her son.

"Last summer, I brought Joseph over to the house. Until then, he hadn't been around very much," Baena said at the time. "After that, people in the house started whispering about how much they looked like each other."

Baena continued: "Maria would ask if I needed to talk to her, and I kept saying no. Finally, she asked point blank. Maria asked me directly if Joseph was Arnold's son, and I just broke down. I dropped to my knees and I was crying, saying that yes he was and I was so sorry."

In 2014, when it became public knowledge that he had fathered Baena’s love child, Schwarzenegger told The Times, “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.”

And Schwarzenegger made sure to make a few distinctions between himself and Luke when speaking with THR.

“The difference is, in the show, he doesn’t consider it cheating because [seducing CIA assets] was part of his profession,” he said. “His wife moved on because he never was home, and now he has this dilemma with the daughter because she has the same job and it’s going to screw up her relationship too.”

Then the “Terminator” star clarified that when it came to his real-life marriage to Shriver, he was the party pooper.

“It was my f— up,” he said. “It was my failure.”

Schwarzenegger has dedicated himself to public service in the last several decades and recently has been making headlines for his heartfelt video addresses regarding the war in Ukraine and the rise of antisemitism. But when he was campaigning to become California’s governor, disturbing allegations were made against him, specifically about his treatment of women during his time as an action star.

“I think it’s very easy to understand," Schwarzenegger told THR when asked to address the differences in his behavior over the years. "We are not perfect. We try to be, but there’s only one that’s perfect — God.

"My mouth is great, but it gets me into trouble. My brain is great — it has the will to make a better world — but sometimes I f— up. I make mistakes. I behaved badly. All of those things I’ve addressed in the past. I feel bad about it. But I cannot roll the clock back. I have to be careful and be wiser. I’m smarter. I’m more sensitive about other people’s feelings.”

Schwarzenegger makes his series debut in Netflix's “FUBAR” May 25. And on June 7, “Arnold,” a three-part documentary chronicling his life, drops on the streamer as well.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.