News of Arnold's love child has hit the airwaves. Unfortunately for Arnold, paternity issues have shoved him back into the media's crosshairs. It has also likely ended his 25-year marriage to former first lady of California Maria Shriver.
Arnold and Shriver separated a few weeks ago after he broke the news to her that he had fathered a love child with a former household staffer. He reportedly had kept the secret from her for a decade.
To protect the privacy of the young child and the staffer, the Los Angeles Times declined to publish their names.
"After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago....There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused...While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not," said Schwarzenegger in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
Shriver also released a personal statement to the Times. "This is a painful and heartbreaking time. 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."
The former staffer worked for the Schwarzenegger-Shriver household for 20 years, and retired last January, reports the Los Angeles Times. She originally stated that her child was fathered by her then-husband. She has not made any comments after Schwarzenegger's admission.
Schwarzenegger has been supporting the child financially and in private, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Arnold's admission and secret financial support likely saved all involved a messy, embarrassing legal battle. (He clearly did not want this news to come out while he was in public office, so he hid it.) Had he denied being the father, the mother could have taken him to court to prove it.
A splashy court paternity proceeding would have surely been invasive for the family. In cases where paternity is in dispute, the parents or the child could bring a civil suit to legally establish the identity of the father. The court could then order a DNA test or a blood test, and then subsequently order payments of child support.
Whatever the case, it's likely for the better that news outlets are respecting the privacy of the staffer's family. News of Arnold's paternity and Arnold's love child should not mean invading the privacy of the family and the young child.