The one-time world champion body builder, former California governor and actor has spent much of his life defying the odds, from a rough childhood in Austria to a string of successful careers.
In his new book released Monday called, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story," Schwarzenegger proudly details his accomplishments, but he also talks about his failures, most notably his affair with his housekeeper that resulted in a son they kept secret for years. He discusses the moment he confessed to his wife, Maria Shriver, and the divorce proceedings that followed.
"It's just one of the sad situations that I've created, and it's the worst thing that I've ever done," Schwarzenegger told "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos. "It hurt so many people."
The child he had with housekeeper Mildred Baena is now 14 years old. The boy was born only days after Shriver gave birth to the couple's youngest son. At first, Schwarzenegger lied to his wife, but then came clean when he was confronted by her in couples' therapy.
He admits she first asked him about the affair years earlier. He said he didn't tell her the truth because he was afraid.
"I was too scared about losing everything, losing her, losing the family. I just didn't know how," he said.
Through it all, Baena continued to work in the Schwarzenegger house.
"It's worse when you start getting rid of people. It's like punishing somebody for having been in this situation, so that's the best way I could handle it," said Schwarzenegger.
He also admits it wasn't his only affair while married. Shriver filed for divorce in May 201. Schwarzenegger says Shriver hasn't read the book but wishes him well.
Hollywood publicist Michael Levine says if Schwarzenegger truly wants to repair his relationship with his family, he needs to show more sincerity and passion in his apology.
"He did not seem to have a level of remorse that was commensurate with the egregious nature of his mistakes," said Levine.
In an Eyewitness News poll conducted by SurveyUsa, we asked people their opinion of Schwarzenegger. The majority, 55 percent, said it is unfavorable. Twenty-six percent said they had a neutral opinion, 10 percent said favorable and 9 percent had no opinion.
We also asked if now is the right time for Schwarzenegger to reveal this personal information. Thirty-four percent said he should have never revealed it at all, while 33 percent said now is the right time.
Schwarzenegger says he has learned a valuable lesson and still believes his family will be together again one day.