Arnold Schwarzenegger's infidelity and more: The Reliable Source

May 18, 2011

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, May 18, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Hey, everyone. Anything interesting going on in the world this week?

So now that the story is out, what do you think the Kennedy family thinks of Arnold? Heck, for that matter, what was their opinion before this huge lie he was living?

I eagerly await the drip-drip-drip of such disclosures

Sad that this is what occurred but makes me wonder - why did Arnold take so long to admit the truth to Maria? Kind of reminds you of Sandra Bullock and that Jesse guy. He admits to affairs after she has praised him for being so supportive. Maria stands up for Arnold when all the gossip was about him "fondling" women and BAM! he confesses that he's fathered a child 10 years earlier. I don't think an announcement saying he's sorry and that he loves Maria is really sufficient to make up for all of the heartache is has caused.

That's the big mystery. Arnold said he told his wife about his secret shortly after leaving office. That doesn't mean he told her voluntarily. What made this come out now? It's hard to figure, especially since the woman at the center of this appears to have been keeping her silence, at least according to the Los Angeles Times's conversations with her.



Schwarzenegger acknowledged child with household staffer before split with Maria

Everyone seems to assume because WE are hearing about Schwarzenegger's child for the first time, his wife is ALSO hearing about it for the first time. What are the chances she knew about the child, but decided to stay in the marriage until the end of Arnold's term as governor? Surely there have been plenty of political marriages where spouse A has done the unforgivable, but spouse B agrees to delay the divorce until the campaign / term is over. (This happens in non-political marriages too, but THOSE marriages aren't covered by People Magazine.)

Because Arnold said he told her after he left office, which means January at the earliest. I tend to believe him, because I think it would awfully hard for Maria to know about this and have the woman continue to work in the house for the past decade. 

What make Arnold confess his love child now? Was someone going to break the story and expose him and he thought he'd beat them to the punch? Was the mother of the 10-year old going to tell her story? I mean okay, so he now tells Maria but does it have to be so publically?

Exactly. Looking forward to hearing more; I suspect we've just gotten the tip of the iceberg thus far.

The saddest part and there are many sad parts is the devasting impact on the child who love and adored a man she THOUGHT was her father and the man who loved daddy's little girl and who thought he was the father. Bad enough the affair and the pregnancy but this is the impact of selfish behavior.

You're assuming the child in question is a girl -- we don't know that. But yes, I'm feeling very bad for a child who is about to be thrust into an uncomfortable spotlight.

doesn't mean we can't aim some shame at Arnold Schwarzenegger, right? I mean, he lied to everyone for 10 years and pretended to be some sort of an example. It would have been bad enough when he was a movie actor, but his wife abandoned her career so he could get elected, only to find out that she should have dumped him 10 years ago!

Aim away.

How is it that a child born from an extramarital affair came to be known as a "love child"? It seems like that's pretty much the exact opposite of what they are. Another legacy of Diana Ross?

Well, it's a kind way of referring to the kid, who's an innocent party to this mess. The old-fashioned term was "bastard" which I always thought was too harsh.

Does anyone else find it hard to believe that Maria had no idea what was going on underneath her nose. It makes her support for him during the groping accusations all that more hard to take.

Well, that's a good question. I think we all know people who've been deceived over the course of long relationships, some who should have known better but maybe convinced themselves that nothing was amiss.

It's amazing to remember how appropriate it was to name Mr. Gingrich after a small, amphibious creature.

Do you know any small amphibious creatures who really love bling?

I've been reading about more and more big-name, big-shot guys scattering illegitimate children across the landscape, and I'm getting more and more disgusted by it. Do these people not know how to use contraception??

Perhaps there's the genetic imperative at work. Perhaps guys who are chronic cheaters are motivated by the deep-seated urge to spread their seed and populate the earth with their own likeness.

If you could advise Schwartzenegger's child, what would you say?

He's supposedly 14 now. I would say that adults are complicated creatures with both good and bad qualities, and sometimes do selfish things that hurt other people. But that NONE of it is his fault, and he shouldn't question the love his mother, the man he thought was his  father, or even Arnold. 

Hopefully, the jewelry was for Calista but why was it listed as a liability on a disclosure form ? Wasn't Newt paying his bills ?

I assume that any kind of credit card debt you happen to be carrying at the moment would be listed as a "liability."

So, this was just a ploy to get a renewal for "The Apprentice?" Or should we assume that he actually learned something about how hard it is in politics and how good he has it being king of his business empire?

I suspect he'd just be pleased that anyone is still wondering what's going on in his head.

Joy Behar commented that Maria should've seen Arnold's adultery coming, what with all the infidelities among Kennedy men. But my impression was that Maria's dad, Sarge Shriver, was not cut from that cloth, and seemed to be a faithful husband. Is this an accurate impression?

No one knows for sure, but I think that might be right. I can't recall hearing any rumors about him and other women.

I am familiar with the hotel business, and I can tell you that housekeeping does not have passkeys to VIP suites. Among other things, their security details would not allow it, and it protects the VIPs from having the paparazzi try to bribe housekeeping into allowing them entry into the suite. So, I'm really confused as to how the accuser got access to DSK's hotel room, especially if he was still in. A high-end hotel would require a manager to first confirm that the VIP was NOT in the room and then accompany housekeeping into the suite to clean. The rules are different than with a rack rate room at a Fairmount Inn. I'm the furthest thing from a conspiracy theorist, but based on my knowledge of hotels, something is fishy here.

The news reports I've read is that the maid was told the room was vacant and to go clean it.

GMA referred to him as "the illegitimate child" this AM, and I thought that harsh too. not the kid's fault his parents weren't married.

Accurate, but we don't really have a good term. Technically, he wasn't illegitimate. Because his mother was married when he was born, he was legally assumed to be the child of her ex-husband. And here's an interesting thought: Did the ex-husband know about this, or think the baby was his all these years? 

Okay, so who's worst: DSK, Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Arnie, or ... ?

If proven guilty, DSK.


By the way, if you haven't, check out our take on DSK in Washington:


Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Global power broker kept low profile in social Washington

Since I have neither cheated on my wife nor fathered children by other women, does that mean I am more highly evolved than people like Arnold or John Edwards, whose motivations are still apparently from a time earlier in our evolution?


...who run around having extramarital sex? Why does this seem to be a guy thing? I feel like running out and having a torrid affair with the pool guy just to prove whatever guys feel they have to prove by doing this.

Oh, I'm sure some do, but they're more discreet about it. But I don't doubt it's more of a Powerful Man thing than a Powerful Woman thing.

I'm puzzled by the question regarding what the Kennedy clan would think of Arnold's behavior. Since when are the Kenendys a golden light of family values? Unless somebody is completely blinded by false devotion, theyu would know that the Kennedys have had more than their share of chronic cheaters.

Doesn't mean they'd tolerate that kind of behavior from an in-law.

Why can't men just keep their pants zipped, for crissakes? I mean, what IS it with these guys? Seems like the more they have to lose, the less likely they are to behave.

That seems to be a question that woman ask all the time and men seem to understand if not approve. Then there's the biology vs. reason debate, blah, blah, blah. But I'm with you: Even if you'te tempted, is it REALLY that hard to say no?

What exactly did Newt buy from TIffany's anyway? It's gotta be a whole lot more than just an engagement-wedding ring set for his third wife, right?

I spent an enjoyable half hour perusing Tiffany's web site. They only list a handful of items in the six-figures, and since it's not like the two of them are dripping in bling, one assumes that the bill was for one or two extremely high-dollar pieces. It seems like it would have to have been a stupendous ring or necklace... While Tiffany sells a number of extravagant men's watches, I didn't see any more than the high four-figures.



In other news: Newt Gingrich’s six figure Tiffany tab

I know this is not a political chat, but really - Arnold's legacy marred? Check this msnbc quote: "He left the governor's office after seven years without making good on his central campaign promise to fix the state's budgeting system, then commuted the manslaughter sentence for the son of a political ally in one of his final official acts, drawing the condemnation of prosecutors and the family of a slain college student. " Sounds to me that his "legacy" was one of screw-ups and controversy already. This issue (so to speak) just goes along w/it. I feel bad for Maria and kids...

You could probably have a good debate about whether he was a good governor or not. But the fact remains that he was fairly popular in the state and politically savvy, elected twice... And this scandal puts a big damper on his personal popularity.

Does Arnold have a relationship with this child or does he just supply money? It's amazing the "mistakes" that a box of protection can help prevent. Hillary Clinton, Silda Spitzer, Elin Nordegren, Elizabeth Edwards, Dina McGreevey, etc. When will men in power stop making fools of the women in their lives, who in a lot of cases have been with them for YEARS?

Unclear how well he knew the child. The New York Times is reporting that friends of the Schwarzenegger-Shrivers believe, in hindsight, that the child in question is one they remember seeing around the house.

NPR is reporting on the noon news that the majority of the French believe that Dominique Strauss Kahn was set up in a conspiracy in that NYC hotel room. Yet this morning Nina Totenberg reported on NPR "Morning Edition" that all evidence seems to point to DSK having actually attacked his victim violently and repeatedly, and the NYPD SVU (yes, it really exists!) investigation is likely to prove this scientifically. Do you think the French will come around and accept this?

Who knows? And that may be a gross exaggeration: While there's a culture difference about sex outside of marriage, many people in France take the allegations of assault very seriously. Two other factors: DSK's rep is as a seducer, not a rapist. And he's a huge political figure and was leading Sarkozy in early pollling, so the idea of dirty tricks fits that storyline.  I think public opinion on both sides will be determined by the minute-by-minute timeline of events, evidence, and credibility of the victim.

What strikes me most about the Schwarzenegger affair is the arrogance and incredible lack of empathy demonstrated by keeping this woman so close to the family for so many years. Pretty much the first rule in dealing with the aftermath of infidelity is that the relationship between the cheater and the affair partner must be completely severed. The fact that there is a child involved makes it even more deceitful that Maria was kept so in the dark for so long. She should have been informed and free to make a choice about whether she wanted to stay in this marriage. There is really no chance for the marriage to heal unless the other person is completley out of the picture. So for this woman to continue in the family's employ for so many years is just absolutely shocking to me.

I didn't know there were "rules" when it came to infidelity -- by definition, the breaking of some pretty serious rules, right? -- but you make some good points about what arguably should be the proper etiquette.

Whatever happened to this show on CNN? Don't think it was on very long.

Kathleen Parker left Parker/Spitzer a few months ago... Eliot Spitzer is still holding down the fort, though, and I guess they're calling it something else. ("Into the Arena," wikipedia informs me.)

Admittedly, I don't have experience with the high-end VIP suites (sniff), but just about every hotel, everywhere, has a standard check-out time of noon. He was getting out of the shower around 12:30, right? So it doesn't sound farfetched at all that the housekeeper's supervisor thought the room was supposed to be empty by then. OK, someone should have checked with the front desk, but I have to say that 12:30 is exactly when I would expect to see a housekeeper show up to get the room ready for the next guest. Also, the timing would seem to undermine anyone who wants to suggest that this was either consensual or planned (set up). Why would anyone arrange a rendez-vous (or a conspiratorial seduction) after the guy was supposed to be checked out? If all this happened the night before, we might have something to talk about. But once noon rolls around, he's supposed to be out of there (and housekeeping could show up unexpectedly at any time).

VIPs in $3,000-a-night penthouse suites probably get some slack when it comes to check-out times. But you're on the right track: The incident, based of what's been reported so far, allegedly happened around noon. DSK checked out of the hotel about 30 minutes later.  Which raises all sorts of interesting questions, but doesn't (in my mind) preclude the possibility of an attack.

Will you let us know who is here on May 22nd?

Just catching up with this news -- do I have this right, the apocalypse/rapture is scheduled for May 21? Damnit, I've got a Groupon I need to use before then.

Okay, the cheating is not that unusual for a Hollywood star. But getting it on with a household employee who remains in the household in a position of responsibility for another ten years? That's pretty twisted. Not to minimize the blame attached to Arnold, but the woman must have had some incredible compartmentalization skills to continue to work closely with Maria all that time. How do people do that?

Don't know. I could even understand if Arnold didn't know he fathered the child and the woman didn't want to leave what may have been be a good, well-paying job. But for both to go along as if nothing happened? I don't think I could.

I'm also thinking that his attorney knew. There was probably some sort of structured settlement agreement to the woman with X being for child support (which he has to pay legally) and Y being for hush money (which he does not have to pay). If the woman spilled the beans, then the hush money would stop and she would be liable to pay back the remaining amount. Have you thought about interviewing any high-level family law attorneys who may have handled something like this? Curious how it would work.

Interviewing experts who might be able to explain how Schwarzenegger kept this a secret? That's a great story idea, if I dare say so myself:  Schwarzenegger’s love child: How did he keep the secret so long?

Given the reception that Maria Shriver received at the Oprah "thing" last evening, what do you think the chances are of her going back into broadcasting?

Looking better, according to some reports.

I got some library books due. Should I return them?

Apparently you don't have to now. Do I need to pay that parking ticket?

Is it true that Mr. Schwarzenegger refused to leave the family home, thus forcing his wife to leave until things 'settle down'? L.Sparrow, Vancouver, BC, Canada

She's the one who moved out -- that's all we know.

Although Katherine and Patirck are legal adults (I think their ages are 21 and 18?) it seems awfully unwise to let them tweet their feelings in print/public which will now live forever in the digital age. It's only pulling them ino the media tangle of this mess.

Patrick is only 17, I think. I'm not a fan of oversharing, and Twitter makes it too easy---but I don't think their parents can (or want to) ban them from doing it if it makes them feel better. . 

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only man left who hasn't cheated on his wife.

You'll fare better than many other on May 21, then.

The proper etiquette of the situation is that classy people do not have affairs with the hired help.

Well, there is that. I'd go so far to say classy people tend not to have affairs---they stay in their marriages or end them before diving into other relationships. But I'm a romantic. 

You DON'T leave your mistress in your employment where she must serve your lawful wife & children. It's just creepy/tacky/ and creates a really weird power imbalance.


Enjoyed the article. But why is it assumed that the mother or Arnold's "love child" received child support? The article pointed out that she was married at the time she gave birth. So clearly she had a husband to provide child support. Also, if she received child support, she wouldn't be able to pass off the "love child" as her husband's, which married women usually do when they get knocked up by someone else.

Sources told the Los Angeles Times that Schwarzenegger paid support:

"Schwarzenegger took financial responsibility for the child from the start and continued to provide support, according to a source who declined to be identified because of the former governor's request for privacy."


... and I'm assuming that he did. That's the first step a very rich man takes if he wants to keep an out-of-wedlock child a secret.

So last week we were all like, why now? Guess that's been answered.

Yep. I was willing to guess that she had just put up with so much bad stuff during their marriage and simply waited all these years until his political career was over. But now we know that there was a bigger precipitating event than his simply leaving office.

My guess about why it came out now -- the kid was starting to bear a striking resemblance to either his biological father or siblings. They are all living in the same house, after all.

Knowing nothing about nothing, that was my speculation too. I mean, the question still remains -- why now, after he'd kept it a secret so long?

Someone earlier asked why couldn’t men keep their pants zipped? It takes two to tango, she could have said no.

Of course. We don't even know who made the first move here.  But because the majority of these cases are powerful, prominent men and lesser known women, the assumption is that the men are the instigators most of the time.  Throw in the fact that this woman worked for the family and you've got a weird power imbalance that tips heavily toward Arnold.

I think instead of all this boo hooing for Maria, people should focus on the kid from this so-called event ( Seriously did the earth move or what ? ). Seems to me the kid is the real victim here and I hope Arnie gets socked with some bigtime back child support .

You know, this kid could get a million a year for the rest of his/her life and still end up pretty screwed up by the whole situation.

Seems to me Ahnold was using Maria to prop up this image of a family man so he could do 2 terms as Governor, then boom! Once he's out of office, conveniently drops the bombshell. Poor Maria ... how utterly humiliating. I hope she says "Hasta la vista, BABY" to that putz.

I still don't see any reason why he'd only now volunteer this information. I doubt it was voluntary.

I can relate to her statement that she is just shy and not an "ice queen". People always thought I was stuck-up in high school, college, etc. and I am just shy too. I guess it would be hard being thrust into the limelight all the time.

I think that's the case for a lot of people.


Quoted: Cindy McCain says she’s no ice queen

I'm not intimately familiar with the way high end hotels operate, but for there to be something fishy about the story we're getting, a 32-year old immigrant from Ghana who had been employed at the same hotel for four years would have somehow been brought into or created a plot to ensnare a very wealthy and powerful man--one whose personal history indicates a real sense of sexual entitlement. He should have his day in court, of course, but I think Occam's Razor might be useful here.

I'm generally skeptical of conspiracy theories. Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but I do have a hard time seeing how any of the conspiracies floated would have worked.

Do you think the failure to uncover the Schwarzenegger liaison earlier will spur even greater investigative efforts into political candidates' personal lives when they are running for office?

We tried to address this in today's column: How did he keep this secret for so long? Fact of the matter is that if one, two or even more people who know don't talk, it's very difficult to prove rumors. So reporters will always track down tips, but if the hard evidence isn't there, it won't be reported as fact by credible news organizations. They might be plenty of chatter on blogs, but that's a fact of modern political life.

Didn't the late ultra-conservative Idaho Senator Helen Chenoweth get caught in some scandal (I think the man may have been the married party)?

Yes, Chenoweth admitted to an affair.... that's about the only case I've been able to find.

Has she had way too much facial work done or what? In every photo she looks absolutely popeyed, with an artificial expression that makes me think of the alien reptiles disguised as humans in the old science fiction series V.

Callista Gingrich is actually younger than you probably think she is -- 45.

My brother is like you. He will never cheat on his wife. He is also a devoted Mormon.

He may be a devoted Mormon, but that in itself  is not absolute proof of fidelity. Lots of devoted men and women of all religions break their vows. And lots of non-religious men and women are faithful, so you can't really assume a cause and effect. 

Even if Nicolas Sarkozy or some of his people DID set up DSK, he still shouldn't have fallen for the trap, right?

Especially after the woman non-consented, as the charges suggest.

Is it just me or is the year-long ( seems like a decade) farewell for Oprah Winfrey is the most BORING self congratulatory crap...I know lots of people are sad to see her go but it's just dragging on and on - if her last guest is herself -which is the rumour - I'll gag! Any guesses on who it might be if not her?

I've definitely tuned out.

You ladies have written about it all. Do you think this is tip of the iceberg, or has the Arnold S thing gotten as sleazy and bad as you think it's going to get?

I predict that we'll be hearing more.

How do you think this will affect his big movie comeback? Wasn't he trying to make another Terminator movie?

I think it will hurt him. I suspect he's lost some goodwill from moviegoers.

i.e. anonymous sources spilling Anti-Maria stories.

I hope that doesn't happen for their children's sake. They have the means to divorce privately---with both of them having enough money for the rest of their lives---and no reason to get ugly in public. If Arnold is genuinely sorry, he won't let that happen.

Did anyone notice that his Twitter account said Patrick Shriver?

Much noted.

I don't love their politics, but I admire the way Meaghan and Cindy stand up for themselves when they get bashed by media jerks. (i.e. glen Beck, et al.)

They do put themselves out there more than other political kin.

this whole conspiracy theory stuff just demonstrates one of the many, many reasons that rape and sexual assault are such underreported crimes. I feel bad for the poor woman, who obviously was not living the high life, who's entire life is basically turned upside down now too.

Consider: he was staying in a $3,000-a-night room. She was cleaning it, and probably doesn't take home that much money in a month.

Eerie query:  "Caught him cheating with his good friend and co-worker, after he had denied it for over a year and repeatedly called me crazy for "seeing something that wasn's there." I feel hurt, betrayed and, above all else, gaslighted (gaslit?). I alternate between wanting nothing more to do with him and feeling desperate to fix this. But if he was able to lie to my face for months, and suggest I was the crazy one for suspecting him, is there any chance this can be fixed?"

See? People have the ability to turn a blind eye...

Do you really think it's appropriate for you to post a comment that calls Schwarzenegger by Hitler's title simply because he's Austrian and/or the poster dislike his politics?

We don't endorse that nickname, but give us a break -- you can't even imagine how much policing-of-content this chat is forcing us to do today. I rarely even notice the subject headers...

Why is everyone keeping her identity a secret? There is no allegation that she was some sort of victim here.

Because "everyone" doesn't know who she is. There's a lot of speculation, but the only news organization that knows for sure is the Los Angeles Times, and they're not revealing her name yet. The paper said it is protecting the privacy of the woman and her child.

Please - anyone in DC knows the best way to trap a politician is with a high class escort and some crack.

What about campaign contributions?

I heard that an LA Times reporter uncovered the story, and Arnie only confirmed when confronted with the evidence. And then Maria also acknowledged it. How/who tipped off the reporter is still a mystery as far as I know.

Two different "why now" questions you're getting confused. Both the news of the separation and the news of the staffer's child were prompted by questions from the Los Angeles Times. However, there's the separate question of why Schwarzenegger only this year told his wife about the child, or why she only this year found out about it, whichever the case may be.

Agrippina, but perhaps that's going back too far. Includes bonking her brother-in-law, if memory serves.

We don't have enough classical references in this chat.


Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF accused of sexual assault -- the most shocking story of the week until Schwarzenegger made news again. published her photo. Is it not real?

ABC News hasn't explained its sourcing on asserting that this is the woman, and we can't vouch for the information ourselves.

It seems out of his character but in keeping w/ image repair 101.

I doubt it. He's not admitting to a sex addiction, just a zipper problem 10 years ago. If more love children pop up, maybe. But I think he'll dive into his Hollywood comeback and make plenty of public outings with his children to prove he's still a devoted father, if not the world's greatest husband.

Chatters: Apologies to all who wrote and didn't get their questions answered ( funny how sex scandals attract readers---and not one DWTS question about poor Ralph getting kicked off.) Send your tips, sightings and other juicy observations to We'll be here next week, same time. Thanks for playing. 


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