The man, the myth, the bodybuilding legend. Arnold Schwarzenegger took fans behind the scenes of his rise to fame — and the downfall of his marriage to Maria Shriver — in his new Netflix documentary.
“The idea was to sculpt the body to your will. But it can also be used to shape your mind,” Schwarzenegger, 75, said in part 1 of Arnold, which dropped on Netflix Wednesday, June 7. “That gives you the will. I had a fire in the belly for much more. Much, much more.”
The Austria native recalled his “tough” upbringing in Europe at the hands of a war-torn father and how his drive to succeed eventually led to bodybuilding success in America. After a decade of work — and seven Mr. Olympia trophies — Schwarzenegger retired from the industry. His career, however, had only just begun.
“For five years there were no offers,” the Twins actor said in part 2 of the documentary, noting that his acting career didn’t take off until he filmed 1976’s Stay Hungry. “My vision didn’t talk about giving up. My vision was about climbing the mountain.”
That vision — and his millions in the bank from savvy business investments — kept Schwarzenegger on track to become a box office staple in the 1980s. His leading man prowess, however, eventually took a back seat when the Terminator star decided to run for governor of California in the early 2000s.
Despite having professional accolades, Schwarzenegger confessed in part 3 of the Netflix project that his relationship with Shriver, now 67, suffered due to his political aspirations. “It was very, very tough on my marriage on my relationship with Maria and with the kids when I was governor,” the former politician explained. “I also lived in denial of a lot of the problems that exist[ed].”
Those problems came to light in 2011 when news broke that the former Mr. Universe had fathered a child, Joseph, 25, with his and Shriver’s housekeeper, Mildred “Patty” Baena. Schwarzenegger and Shriver, who share daughters Katherine, 33, and Christina, 31, and sons Patrick, 29, and Christopher, 25, finalized their divorce in December 2021.
“I had an affair in 96. In the beginning I really didn’t know. I just started kind of feeling — the older he got the more it became clear to me,” the Kindergarten Cop actor recalled in the documentary. “I had to go to my kids and explain it to them.”
Schwarzenegger was hesitant to comment on the affair on camera, explaining that it just “opens up the wounds again” for everyone.
“I think that I have caused enough pain for my family because of my f—k up. Because of that everyone had to suffer. I’m going to have to live with it for the rest of my life,” he confessed. “People will remember my successes and they will also remember my failures. This is a major failure. I had failures in the past … but this is a whole different ballgame. It’s a whole different dimension of failure.”
Shriver, for her part, has “no plans on publicly responding” to the allegations and stories in the documentary about their relationship, a source exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday.
“[Maria] would like to keep what happened in the past behind her and not relive some of the challenges she faced in her marriage,” the insider said. “She’s in a really good place with Arnold now and they’re able to focus on what matters most to them — their children.”
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