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OTRC: Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered secret child, Maria Shriver responds

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. It was the first time the former California governor spoke publicly since announcing that he and his wife Maria Shriver separated.

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he has apologized to estranged wife Maria Shriver after it was revealed that he had fathered a secret child more than 10 years ago.

Shriver, 55, moved out of the couple's mansion near Los Angeles earlier this year, after the actor and former California governor told her he had had an affair with a household staff member who had worked for their family for some 20 years. The staff member retired in January, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first carried the report.

"After leaving the Governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," Schwarzenegger, 63, said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com on Tuesday, May 17. " 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," he added. "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."

Shriver also issued a statement, saying: "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 Los Angeles Times quoted a source close to the matter as saying that Schwarzenegger had always supported the child he fathered out of wedlock financially and that the mother had previously said that her then-husband was the father.

She told the Los Angeles Times that she had left her job at Schwarzenegger's home voluntarily earlier this year. She said she left on "good terms with them" and received a severance payment, adding: "I wanted to achieve my 20 years, then I asked to retire."

Schwarzenegger and Shriver, a former NBC correspondent, married on April 26, 1986. They have four children: Katherine, 21, Christina, 19, Patrick, 17 and Christopher, 13.

"Some days you feel like (expletive), some days you want to quit and just be normal for a bit, yet i love my family till death do us apart. #family" Patrick Schwarzenegger Tweeted on Tuesday, quoting lyrics from the song "Where'd you go?" by Fort Minor, a hip hop group co-founded by Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda. The track tells of the consequences of putting your career before your family.

Katherine Schwarzenegger Tweeted: "This is definitely not easy but I appreciate your love and support as i begin to heal and move forward in life.I will always love my family!"

Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced on May 9 that they had separated after 25 years of marriage. Schwarzenegger later said at an event celebrating Israel's 63rd anniversary of independence that he and Shriver are still on good terms.

"We both love each other very much," he said. "We are very fortunate to have four extraordinary children, and we are taking one day at a time."

Schwarzenegger is best known for his roles in the "Terminator" franchise and "Kindergarten Cop." He finished his 7-year run as governor of California in January. Shriver, a member of the Kennedy political dynasty, left her job as an NBC reporter when Schwarzenegger took office.

UPDATE: The woman with whom Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a secret child was on Wednesday, May 18, revealed to be Mildred Patricia Baena - see details.

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