Maria Shriver Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger courtesy of Netflix

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new Netflix docuseries, Arnold, examines the bodybuilder-turned-action-movie-star-turned-politician’s life from the inside. But one of the people who could have given the most insight into who he is wasn’t interviewed in the doc — his ex-wife, Maria Shriver.

“She politely declined,” director Lesley Chilcott told MovieMaker.

“We had a couple of really good conversations about it, and I completely understand her point of view.”

The docuseries does, however, address the circumstances around the dissolution of Shriver Schwarzenegger’s marriage, and it makes sense why Shriver would want to sit this one out.

The Shocking Reason Why Maria Shriver Filed for Divorce From Arnold Schwarzenegger

In 2011, soon after Schwarzenegger’s time as the Governor of California ended, Shriver asked him a burning question at couple’s therapy: Did he father a child with their longtime maid, Mildred Baena?

The answer, Schwarzenegger told her, was yes.

He came clean about having had an affair with Mildred Baena that lead to her pregnancy with Joseph, who was 14 years old at the time. Schwarzenegger said he didn’t realize Joseph was his son until he started recognizing himself in the boy’s features.

After 25 years of marriage, Shriver filed for divorce shortly after finding out the truth about her husband’s affair. The divorce was finalized in 2021. Today, his son Joseph is 25.

“The reason why I really feel reluctant talking about it is because every time I do, it opens up the wounds again,” Schwarzenegger says in the docuseries. “I have caused enough pain for my family because of my fuck up, because everyone had to suffer. Maria had to suffer, the kids had to suffer, Joseph, his mother — everyone.”

“I’m gonna have to live with it the rest of my life,” he continued. “People will remember my successes, and they will also remember those failures. It’s a major failure. I mean, I had failures in the past, in my career, but I mean, this is like a whole different ball game, a whole different dimension of failure.

“It was wrong what I did, but I don’t want Joseph to feel that he’s not welcome in this world because he’s very much welcome in this world and I love him.”

Chilcott also explained her choice not to do sit-down interviews with any of Schwarzenegger’s children in the docuseries, though his son Joseph and daughter Christina do make brief appearances.

“In order to be able to talk candidly about Arnold and Maria, I thought it was a better choice to let Arnold speak about that,” Chilcott said.

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“As you see, he’s very candid and he doesn’t like to talk about it because it hurts his family,” she added. “We decided that it would be better to and more powerful to hear Arnold’s point of view on that.”

One of Chilcott’s terms for making the docuseries was that she could ask Schwarzenegger anything.

“Part of the deal was that nothing was off the table in terms of subjects. And that was really important to me,” she said. “And he said, Yep, I understand. I’ve had a colorful life… people hear about the successes, but whether it was as governor, or certain movies, or personally, he’s like, I’ve had many failures. He understood that those would be as interesting to people. He didn’t like talking about them, but he understood that we needed to go there.”

Arnold begins streaming June 7 on Netflix.

Main Image: Arnold Schwarzenegger in Arnold courtesy of Netflix