Maria Shriver has reportedly hired a divorce attorney amid news that her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger cheated on her and fathered a son out of wedlock.
The actor and former California governor's affair was revealed on Tuesday, May 17, more than a week after he and Shriver, mother of his four children, announced their separation after 25 years of marriage.
Los Angeles family law attorney Laura Wasser is now representing Shriver, People magazine reported late on Wednesday, 18, adding that she was hired before news of the affair was made public.
Shriver and Wasser have not commented and no divorce papers have yet been filed. The former first lady of California has not said if she plans to end her marriage to Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger, 63, has confirmed his infidelity and said in a statement he had apologized to his family. The woman with whom he fathered a son has not commented on the matter.
Shriver, 55, moved out of the couple's mansion near Los Angeles earlier this year, after Schwarzenegger told her he had had an affair with a household staff member who had worked for their family for some 20 years. He did not identify Baena by name. She retired in January.
Baena, who is 50 and goes by Patty, is said to have worked in the family's home as a housekeeper and assistant for more than 20 years, ABC News reported. She and Shriver were reportedly pregnant at the same time - in 1997.
The birth certificate of a son she gave birth to that year states that the child's father is Baena's husband. However, when she filed for divorce from her husband in 2008, she did not list any minor children in the court documents.
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.
Shriver responded to news of the affair on Tuesday, saying in a statement: "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."
That night, she appeared at a Chicago event honoring Oprah Winfrey, whose long-running syndicated talk show is ending as she concentrates on her OWN network. The gala also featured appearances from Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Madonna and more (see photos).
The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the scandal, quoted a source close to the matter as saying that the actor had always supported his secret child financially.