Arnold Schwarzenegger Says Maria Shriver Initially 'Hated the Idea of Me Running' for California Governor

Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he was running for governor of California during an August 2003 appearance on 'The Tonight Show'

<p>David Paul Morris/Getty</p>

David Paul Morris/Getty

Arnold Schwarzenegger is recalling ex-wife Maria Shriver's initial reaction to his political ambitions.

In Netflix's new three-part documentary Arnold, Schwarzenegger, 75, says that Shriver, 67, "hated the idea of me running" for California's highest elected office as governor of the state.

"That’s why I didn’t really know if I was going to run because I didn’t really want to run if she was not 100 percent behind it," the actor, bodybuilder and politician recalled of his decision to run for governor in California's 2003 recall election. California voters successfully recalled then-governor Gray Davis (D) in the election and replaced him with Schwarzenegger, who ran for office as a Republican.

"I was sitting with [Shriver] in a jacuzzi, and I said, ‘What do you think of me running for Governor?' She flipped out," Schwarzenegger said of his initial pitch to Shriver. "I almost felt like she was hyperventilating. She felt I have gone through this with my family. She had a very emotional reaction."

"This would drag us through the mud. Therefore, I pulled back," he added, though he eventually announced his intentions to run for the position during an August 2003 appearance on The Tonight Show.

Related: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver&#39;s Relationship Timeline

<p>GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty</p>


"The morning of The Tonight Show, Maria put a note under my door that said, 'In case you decide to run here’s what I would say and here’s if you decide not to run what I would say,' " he added of Shriver, who worked as a journalist for NBC News prior to Schwarzenegger's candidacy. "I felt like Maria for the first time was open to the idea."

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Schwarzenegger ultimately won the recall election after Davis was ousted from office, garnering 48.58% of the vote over who would replace Davis, per Ballotpedia. He went on to serve as the state's governor for two terms and left office in 2011.

Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family and niece of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, met Schwarzenegger for the first time at the 1977 Robert F. Kennedy Tennis Tournament. They were married in 1986. The pair share four children, including daughters Katherine, 33, and Christina, 31, and sons Patrick, 29, and Christopher, 25.

Related: Arnold Schwarzenegger Says His Divorce from Maria Shriver Was &#39;Very Difficult&#39;: &#39;It Was My Failure&#39;

<p>Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty</p>

Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty

The former couple announced they had mutually decided to go their separate ways after 25 years of marriage in May 2011. Schwarzenegger announced publicly days later that he had fathered another child, son Joseph Baena, now 25, with their longtime housekeeper Mildred Baena 14 years prior.

The "Governator" touched on how the affair affected his family in the documentary too, saying at one point in the three-part series: "Everyone had to suffer. Maria had to suffer. The kids had to suffer. Joseph. His mother. Everyone."

"I am going to have to live with it the rest of my life," he added.

Arnold begins streaming on Netflix June 7.

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