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The Touching Reason Why Arnold Schwarzenegger And Maria Shriver Have Never Divorced

Mario Pena - Wikimedia / AP

It's been seven years since the dramatic cheating scandal that destroyed one of Hollywood's most famous couples.

But Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, former newscaster Maria Shriver, have never officially split.

And their unusual relationship status has some close friends convinced that their marriage is not over yet.

A "painful and heartbreaking" scandal

Arnold Schwarzenegger Maria Shriver
Wally Fong / AP

Schwarzenegger and Shriver, the niece of President John F. Kennedy, were happily married for 25 years before Schwarzenegger's famous affair drove them apart.

The actor and his longtime housekeeper, Mildred Baena, had been seeing each other for years - and she wasn't Schwarzenegger's only mistress.

The actor admitted he kept the truth about his many affairs hidden from his wife, later claiming he was afraid to embarrass Shriver and her family.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Maria Shriver
CS Monitor

"Instead of doing the right thing, I'd just put the truth in a mental compartment and locked it up where I didn't deal with it every day," he later wrote.

The other woman Schwarzenegger confessed to cheating with was his Red Sonja co-star, Brigitte Nielsen, back when he was still dating Shriver.

Bauer-Griffin

Ironically, Shriver actually defended herself against vicious rumors that her husband was two-timing her.

"I am my own woman," she told Oprah Winfrey in a defiant interview. "I have not been, quote, 'bred,' to look the other way."

The truth only came out when Baena had a son named Joseph.

The love child

Born just a week after Schwarzenegger and Shriver's son Christopher, Joseph had an undeniable resemblance to his famous dad.

Hello!

As Joseph came to the Schwarzenegger's home with his mother, Baena remembers that rumors began to spread about his paternity.

She remembered that "people in the house started whispering about how much they looked like each other," and Shriver finally confronted her in 2010.

Despite her outrageous behavior, Shriver actually comforted Baena after she broke down crying and admitted the truth. Shriver even allowed the housekeeper to keep her job few more months, and retire after Christmas as she had planned.

Schwarzenegger with Baena.TMZ

Looking back, it’s difficult to say how involved Schwarzenegger was in his illegitimate son’s life.

The actor later claimed he assumed the boy was Baena's child with her husband.

Schwarzenegger says he only recognized the boy was his love child when Joseph got older, and “started looking like me, that’s when I kind of got it. I put things together.”

He also insisted that he gave the housekeeper money to support their child once he learned the truth. But his mistress tells a different story.

The Enquirer

Baena insists she never spoke directly to Schwarzenegger about their child, or confessed to him that Joseph was his son.

It seems the actor may have tried to avoid the truth for as long as he possibly could.

By his own account, the actor didn't come clean until he left the California governor's office a year after Shriver learned the truth.

The confession

AP

Schwarzenegger says Shriver set up a couples' counseling session soon after he left office, then blindsided him by revealing she knew about Joseph in the room.

"The minute we sat down, the therapist turned to me and said, 'Maria wanted to come here today and to ask about a child -- whether you fathered a child with your housekeeper Mildred," Schwarzenegger wrote in his autobiography, Total Recall.

"I told the therapist, 'It's true.'"

The star admits he groveled in front of Shriver and the counselor, calling her "the perfect wife" and begging her not to leave him.

It was no use.

The couple separated just days later, with Shriver citing "irreconcilable differences."

Arnold Schwarzenegger Maria Shriver
FromPress

“There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused," Schwarzenegger said in a public statement about his infidelity.

"I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.”

While the star is still separated from his wife, he’s managed to patch things up remarkably well with his love child.

A proud father

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Instagram

Joseph Baena is now 20 years old and studying business at college.

He shares his famous father’s chiseled physique, and has shared pictures of them working out together on Instagram.

Schwarzenegger even openly and proudly congratulated his son on his birthday.

“Happy birthday, Joseph,” the actor wrote. “Great student, great athlete. I’m proud of you and I love you!”

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Instagram

Speaking out about the unusual relationship, Schwarzenegger was surprisingly candid about his mistakes.

“I can beat myself up as much as I want — it's not gonna change the situation,” he said.

“So the key thing is, how do you move forward? How do you have a great relationship with your kids?”

Yahoo

For the record, there’s no more bad blood between Baena and his father either. The student said his dad is “a good man and I know he’s suffering too.”

And in an interesting twist, Baena is still hopeful that his father can win back Shriver.

“He loves Maria,” Baena said. “I hope with time they work things out.”

A friendly breakup

Despite the bitter emotions behind their separation, Schwarzenegger and Shriver have stayed close since 2011.

Unlike other celebrity couples who get drawn into heated custody battles, they quickly agreed to joint custody.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Patrick Schwarzenegger - Instagram

Since all four of their children (and Schwarzenegger's love child) are now adults, there's no family drama to speak of these days.

The last score to settle from their marriage is divvying up their property, which TMZ estimates is worth $400 million.

The couple have no prenup, so it seems like their shared property will be split 50-50. Until then, they are both successful enough not to worry about settling bills.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Politico

It seems that the one thing keeping Schwarzenegger and Shriver together are their feelings for each other.

Sources close to the family say Schwarzenegger is not serious about the split, while Shriver has never pushed hard for divorce.

"Whenever Maria says she wants to move on with her life, Arnold drags his feet," a source told TMZ.

CBS

Schwarzenegger even made his feelings pretty clear in Total Recall, writing that he still thinks he can patch things up with Shriver.

"You can call this denial," Schwarzenegger tells his fans. "But it's the way my mind works."

Does this mean a reunion is in the making, and a happy ending for this troubled love story? Don't rule it out.

"I always thought people whose marriages didn’t work out were quitters."

Katherine Schwarzengger
Katherine Schwarzenegger - Instagram

In the years since their divorce, the couple have been spotted together at a number of family events and seem to get on well.

"We do everything together as a family," Shriver told People.

"We’ve maintained very, very close relationships with every member of

my entire family and my family has done a great job at keeping us all together."

It is true that both Schwarzenegger and Shriver have been seeing other people since the split.

Hether Milligan
Hello! Magazine

Schwarzenegger has been dating physical therapist Heather Milligan since 2013, and they seem to be happy together despite their May-December romance.

Shriver has been linked to a number of men during the separation, but said she was single and "looking" last year.

But the biggest obstacle to a possible reunion is Shriver's (totally justified) resentment towards her husband.

Maria Shriver
William B. Plowman - NBC

In her book, I've Been Thinking, she opened up about her decision to break up with Schwarzenegger.

"I grew up thinking divorce was a sin," she wrote. "I couldn’t have been more wrong."

"I always thought people whose marriages didn’t work out were quitters. I was wrong."

While there may be no chance at a happily ever after for these two, it's obvious that Schwarzenegger is still hopeful.

"I don’t need any time to reflect when I know it was a major, major screw-up," he said in a recent interview.

If you were in Shriver's shoes, could you ever forgive a cheater?

Here are more interesting celebrity stories:

[H/T: US Magazine, Daily Mail, People]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com