The 'FUBAR' star talks to PEOPLE about his life lessons ahead of the release of his motivational book, 'Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life'
The exes, who finalized their divorce in 2021 after Shriver filed a decade prior, make a point to share important family moments together, Schwarzenegger tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. Their role as grandparents to their daughter Katherine’s children Lyla, 3, and Eloise, 1, with her husband Chris Pratt, he adds, hasn’t begun a new chapter so much as continued their story.
“We never left the [first] chapter,” says Schwarzenegger ahead of the release of his new motivational book, Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life, which hits bookshelves Oct. 10. “Because remember, it’s not like we had a feud. We didn’t have a fight. It’s just my f--- up, right? She said, 'Okay, this is what it is,' and then she decided to make a split, so it was her decision. But the fact is, we always made it very clear that the kids should not suffer because of that.”
Two months before Shiver filed for divorce, Schwarzenegger publicly admitted he had fathered a son, Joseph Baena, now 26, with the family's longtime housekeeper Mildred Baena.
He and Shriver continue to spend holidays and milestone moments together with their children Katherine, 33, Christina, 32, Patrick, 30, and Christopher, 26, including a recent celebration for Patrick's 30th birthday.
“So everything is kind of just as if we're together but we have separate lives,” Schwarzenegger continues. “And she has her things, her relationship, I have mine, but we always communicate about the kids, about the holidays, about birthday parties and Mother’s Day parties and Christmas. My chapter with Maria will continue on forever. Even though it’s a different relationship, there’s no reason for me to feel anything other than love for her.”
In Be Useful, the Terminator star writes that in the “fourth act” of life, he’s been moved to distill some of his greatest life lessons. “All I'm trying to do is just try to use my talents and help other people,” he tells PEOPLE. “It's the simple stuff that I do that really helped me get where I am today.”
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Over the past decade, Schwarzenegger has been dating physical therapist Heather Milligan. The two met in 2012 following Schwarzenegger’s shoulder surgery as he was preparing to film 2013’s Escape Plan with Sylvester Stallone (who coincidentally had shoulder surgery on the same day).
His Los Angeles surgeon recommended he see Milligan to get back in movie fighting shape. "Any football players or baseball players, any athlete, I always send them to her, because she's the only one that really knows what they’re talking about,” Schwarzenegger recalls the physician saying. “So I went to her, and then after my therapy was finished, after I was finished with the movie, I called her back and took her out for lunch to say thank you. And then one thing led to the next.”
The couple recently attended Oktoberfest in Munich together and can often be seen riding bikes around Santa Monica. Schwarzenegger tells PEOPLE he loves Milligan’s entrepreneurial spirit. “We have so many things in common,” he says. “Our relationship is fantastic. I think the world of her. I love that she’s into working. She’s clearly independent. She just is driven as hell.”
Her patients even get to meet the former California governor on occasion. Dropping into her clinic, Schwarzenegger enjoys chatting up NFL players, NBA stars and UFC champions. “I schmooze with them while they're getting therapy, because I admire them, they're great athletes.” He grins. “Even though a lot of them make me feel like a little chicken.”
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