Maria S hriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger at Ted Kennedy’s 2009 funeral. Their son Patrick, one of their four children together, is in the background. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

New, 7:30 p.m.: Schwarzenegger’s love child: How did he keep the secret so long?


Wonder no longer why Maria Shriver left: The Los Angeles Times reported this morning that former Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger acknowledged to her recently that he’d fathered the child of a household staffer.

“After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago,” Schwarzenegger said in a response to questions from the Times Monday night. “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.

Unclear what prompted the disclosure now: The Times reports that the woman retired from the staff in January after working for the family for 20 years. And a source told the paper that Schwarzenegger — who at the time the child was born would have been a movie star still, not yet in politics — took responsibility from the start and has provided financial support ever since. (** Other baby scandals in politics ** photos of pols with out-of-wedlock kids ** )

Yet Shriver apparently only learned this year. Last week, the parents of four acknowledged she’d moved out of their Brentwood mansion, after 25 years of marriage, several weeks after she’d first been seen without a wedding ring. (** Photos: Arnold and Maria through the years **)

Shriver did not comment for the paper about the child. Nor did the staffer, who, before Schwarzenegger’s acknowledgement, had maintained to the paper that her child was fathered by her ex-husband.

The Times did not identify the woman or her child, “to protect their privacy,” it said. (In other words: Let’s not help the paparazzi make life miserable for a youngster who may be starting to look a lot like an Austrian action star.)

Updated at 12:10 pm : Maria Shriver has issued a comment. "This is a painful and heartbreaking time," she wrote in a statement on Tuesday morning. "As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment."

Updated, amended, 2:30 p.m. to clarify staffer’s household role

An expanded version of this story will appear Wednesday in The Washington Post.

New, 7:30 p.m.: Schwarzenegger’s love child: How did he keep the secret so long?

Los Angeles Times: Schwarzenegger fathered a child with longtime member of household staff, 5/10/11

Photo gallery: Politicians who had children out of wedlock

Earlier in Reliable Source:

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, a political couple “in transition” after 25 high-profile years (photos)

Peter Orszag’s not alone: A brief history of the political “love child”, 1/11/10