L.A. Times Breaks Schwarzenegger Love Child Story

As restrained a sex-scandal story as you’re likely to get

A busy two weeks for political sex scandals, first with John Ensign, then Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and now… Arnie. The L.A. Times has revealed that the former governor of California fathered a child with a member of his household staff a decade ago.

Schwarzenegger, who has been married to Maria Shriver for twenty-five years—they announced their separation last month—responded to a series of questions from the Times, saying, “After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. 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…. I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time. While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not.”

The Times does not reveal how its reporters first came across the information and refuses to name the woman or child in question, other than to note that the mother left the household earlier this year after twenty years of service. With that info out there it’s probably a matter of time before we learn the identities of both.

Shriver, for her part, has refused so far to give comment—and according to gossip website TMZ, a huge number of outlets have been reaching out (though we don’t learn on the site who those outlets are or from where TMZ is getting its information). TMZ is reporting that Oprah Winfrey is a likely candidate to get the other side of the story first, as she has been talking with Shriver about talk show opportunities at her newish network, OWN.

This is a big scoop for the Times, a paper which has been flexing its muscle of late with similar scoops and deeper, more important investigative work—to reference its Pulitzer Prize-winning Bell series has become media critic cliché. And regardless of whether you care about the former governor’s extra-marital dalliances, it should be noted that the Times report is a smart, measured thing that respects the privacy of the child in question and avoids sensationalism.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor. Tags: , , , ,